Baked Orange French Toast with Almond Crumble

Baked Orange French Toast with Almond Crumble

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 loaf challah bread
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup half and half or whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 tablespoons Cointreau or other orange liqueur
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
for almond crumble
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest

METHOD:

  1. Slice challah bread in 3/4″ thick slices and set aside. Whisk eggs in a 4 cup Pyrex measuring cup and then add half and half, sugar, vanilla, Cointreau and orange zest and whisk well.
  2. Butter a 2 quart baking dish and layer 5-6 slices of bread in the bottom so the bread fits together tightly without much gap. Evenly drizzle half of the egg mixture onto the bottom layer of bread and then add another layer of bread on top and drizzle the remaining mixture.
  3. Add the brown sugar, butter, almonds, oats and orange zest to a small bowl and mix ingredients together with fingers until well incorporated. Sprinkle on top of the bread, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerated for 4 hours or overnight.
  4. To bake, preheat oven to 180 degrees. Remove casserole from refrigerator and bring to room temperature, about a half an hour. Bake uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until top is golden. Remove and let set for 5 minutes and serve with maple or raspberry syrup.
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Cranberry Walnut Bread and Cranberry Pomegranate Citrus Glaze

INGREDIENTS:

 Cranberry Walnut Bread

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon grated orange peel
  • 2 tablespoons shortening
  • 1 egg, well beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped (plus more for top design)
  • 1 cup chopped toasted walnuts (plus more for top design)

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 175ºC (350ºF). Grease or spray a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.
  2. Sift together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in orange juice, orange peel, shortening and egg. Mix until well blended. Fold the cranberries and nuts into the batter. Spread batter evenly in loaf pan. Top with additional nuts and berries in desired design.
  3. Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes.
  4. Note: Serve fresh warm, or toasted the following morning with warm cranberry pomegranate glaze (recipe below).  Keep in air tight container for up to three days to maintain freshness.

 Cranberry Pomegranate Citrus Glaze

  • 1/4 cup fresh pomegranate juice (seeds removed)
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice (seeds and pulp removed)
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh whole cranberries
  • 2 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon lemon zest
METHOD:
  1. Place medium saucepan over medium high heat and add pomegranate juice and orange juice.  Whisk in powdered sugar.  Add cranberries.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce to simmer.  Add lemon zest and let simmer on low for ten minutes, stirring occasionally.  Turn off heat to cool to warm.  The glaze should appear thick and become more like syrup as it cools.   Note: the cranberries/skins may be strained after cooking without the glaze losing flavor.

French Baguettes

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 envelopes dry active yeast (1 1/2 tablespoons)
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 1/2 to 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Canola oil, for greasing bowl
  • Cornmeal, for dusting pan
  • 3 to 4 ice cubes
  • Serving suggestions: ricotta cheese and acacia honey

METHOD:

  1. Combine the honey, yeast and 1/2 cup warm water. Whisk to combine and let the mixture sit until the yeast begins to foam, 5 minutes.
  2. Mix the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl with a dough hook and slowly add in the frothy yeast mixture. Gradually add 1 cup warm water and mix until the dough comes together into a ball that is not too sticky (you may not need all of the water). If the dough is too wet, add a little bit more flour. Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth and elastic and springs back to gently applied pressure, 2 to 6 minutes
  3. Form the dough into a ball, place it in a lightly-oiled bowl and cover, so it doesn’t dry out. Let rest in a warm environment until doubled in size, 25 to 30 minutes.
  4. Punch down the dough and divide it in half. Shape into 2 baguettes by making a flat rectangle out of your dough, then folding the longer sides (top and bottom) towards the middle, like an envelope, and sealing the seam with your fingers.   Repeat the folding and sealing on these sides, stretching the rectangle lengthwise as you go, until it’s about 12 to 14 inches long and 2 inches wide. Fold the ends in once  and crimp into an oval to seal off into the traditional baguette shape. Flip the dough seam-side down and place on a sheet pan or baguette pan that has been dusted with cornmeal. Score the tops of the loaves, making deep diagonal slits 1/2-inch deep ( or 3/4 of the way through the height of the dough, not all the way through), cover with a dishcloth and let rise in a warm environment until they have doubled in size, 25 minutes.
  5. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F and position your oven racks with one on the bottom and the other in the middle. Place an oven-safe (non-glass) bowl or pan on the bottom rack.
  6. When your bread has doubled for the second time, remove the towel and quickly and simultaneously, slide the sheet tray with the baguettes onto the middle rack while carefully throwing the ice cubes into the bowl on the bottom rack. The ice will create a burst of steam that will give you a nice crispy crust. Quickly shut the oven door so no steam escapes. Bake the baguettes until golden brown, 15 minutes.
  7. Cook’s Note: If you have a glass window on your oven, place a towel over it when throwing the ice in, hot glass can shatter if ice touches it.

Chocolate Banana Bread with Cinnamon Butter

INGREDIENTS:

  • 195g plain flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 120ml canola or vegetable oil
  • 190g light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups of banana mash (about 3-4 small bananas)
  • 100g dark chocolate, melted

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 170°C and grease a large loaf tin (mine was about 22 x 13 x 8cm).
  2. Sift the flour, bicarb, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into a bowl and set aside.
  3. With an electric mixer, whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract for a couple of minutes until well blended.
  4. With a wooden spoon, stir through the banana mash then add the sifted flour mixture and gently stir until just combined (do not over mix). Divide the batter into two portions then add the melted chocolate into one portion and stir to combine.
  5. Add random dollops of each batter into the tin then grab a skewer and start swirling. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until the bread has risen and a skewer comes out clean. Ovens and tins can vary in each household so if the top is browning too quickly, loosely cover with foil and continue baking until done.
  6. Cool on wire rack then remove bread from tin. Can be served plain at room temperature but for something extra special, warm up a slice of bread in the oven until toasty then spread with some cinnamon butter.
  7. Bread can be frozen or kept for a few days if well-wrapped or in an airtight container.

Cinnamon Butter

  • 125g salted butter, softened
  • 2-3 Tbl of light brown sugar, firmly packed (or to taste)
  • 2 tsps ground cinnamon (or to taste)

METHOD:

  1. Using a mixer, a wooden spoon or food processor, whiz all the ingredients up until combined and fluffy. Tip out butter onto a sheet of plastic wrap and roll it up into a sausage shape. Twist the ends to secure and refrigerate until firm. Slice and serve with warm or toasted banana bread. Alternatively you could just serve the butter in a bowl.

Apple and Zucchini Bread with Honeycomb Butter

INGREDIENTS:

  • 195g plain flour, sifted
  • 1 tsp bicarb soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 120ml canola or vegetable oil
  • 190g light brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 large (or 2 small) zucchini, grated (to make about 1 to 1.5 cups) (or courgette)
  • 1 granny smith apple, peeled and grated (to make about 1/2 cup)
  • 50g chopped roasted walnuts (optional)
Honeycomb Butter
  • 250g salted butter, softened
  • 110g honeycomb, crushed (or you could use a chocolate honeycomb candy bar)
  • 2 Tbl golden syrup
METHOD:
  1. Preheat oven to 180°C and grease a large loaf tin (mine was about 22 x 13 x 8cm).
  2. Sift the flour, bicarb, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into a bowl and set aside.
  3. With an electric mixer, whisk together the oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla extract for a couple of minutes until well blended.
  4. With a wooden spoon, stir through the grated zucchini and apple then add the sifted flour mixture and nuts and gently stir until just combined (do not over mix).
  5. Scrape into the loaf tin and bake for 55-60 minutes or until the bread has risen and a skewer comes out clean.
  6. Cool on wire rack then remove bread from tin. Can be served plain at room temperature but for something extra special, warm up a slice of zucchini bread in the oven until toasty then spread with some honeycomb butter.
  7. Bread can be frozen or kept for a few days if well-wrapped or in an airtight container.
Honeycomb Butter
  1. Add all of the ingredients into a food processor and whizz them up until it comes together. Tip out butter onto a sheet of plastic wrap and roll it up into a sausage shape. Twist the ends to secure and refrigerate until hard.