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Monday, May 28, 2012

Light and Dark Pinwheel Cookies

If you're anything like me, you like having a go-to recipe or two that will impress others but that is quick and simple to make. This is one of those recipes. These cookies take only a few ingredients (which you most likely have in your pantry), can be made ahead of time, and only take a few minutes to make. You also don't have to dirty more than a dish or two.

Check these out!

Light and Dark Pinwheel Cookies
1 box of chocolate cake mix
1 box of white cake mix
1 cup butter
2 eggs
Optional: Bittersweet and white chocolate chips for dipping

First, melt the butter a little. You want it to be very soft but not completely melted. Mix half the butter and one egg into each of the cake mixes. I mixed the white mix first, then the chocolate. To mix, either use a mixer or a stiff spatula or your hands (hands worked best for me and they are easy to clean) until you get a nice dough.

After both batters are mixed, roll out the chocolate dough into a large rectangle (you want it to end up around 1/2 an in thick). I put down a sheet of waxed paper to roll the dough on as well as put a piece on top the dough to keep it from sticking. Do what works for you.

Next, roll the white dough out on top of the chocolate dough. Use your hands to get the edges to line up as well as you can.

Working from the long edge, roll the dough up so that it forms a spiraled log. Wrap the dough log up in a sheet of waxed paper and place in in the fridge or freezer for about an hour. I put mine in the freezer because we keep the apartment around 80 degrees so my dough was a little warmer than most.

After chilling and getting firm, unwrap the dough an use a sharp knife to cut the log into 1/2 in thick slices. Place them on a large cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.

Once the cookies are cooked and cooled, you can dip the edges into melted chocolate for an extra treat.


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

French Toast Bread Pudding

I love bread pudding! I love french toast!


Warm, gooey, sweet... it smells like a fun family breakfast.

I made this recipe for Easter morning. Bread pudding recipes are great for busy families because they can be made ahead of time and popped into the oven when needed.

Another thing I like about this recipe is that the ingredients are a little more wholesome than other recipes I saw online. Most called for either tube cinnamon rolls or frozen french toast sticks. This recipe called for challah bread, which I picked up fresh from my grocery store bakery. This recipe can also be modified by using lower fat milk, light cream cheese, and low fat or sugar free maple syrup.

French Toast Bread Pudding
1 large Challah loaf, about 12oz, cut into 3/4 inch cubes, dried for several hours
7 large eggs
2 1/2 cup milk (I used 2 cups skim milk, 1/2 half and half)
1/2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp nutmeg or cinnamon (I used a little of both)

Butter or spray with cooking spray a 13x9 (or similar) size baking pan. Place the bread in the pan. Whisk eggs and the rest of the ingredients together; pour over bread. Using a spatula (or hands if you're like me) lightly press the bread into the egg mixture. Cover with foil and let it rest for at least an hour or overnight (keep refrigerated).

Place the foiled covered pan in the cold oven. Set oven to 350 and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for about 35 minutes until golden and puffy.

Cool for a few minutes before serving. I suggest serving it with a maple cream cheese frosting (see below)

Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz cream cheese (I used 1/3 fat), room temp
1/2 maple syrup
4-6 cups powered sugar

Optional: Chopped walnuts or pecans

In a mixer, beat the cream cheese and maple syrup together. Slowly add powered sugar cup by cup until it makes a thin frosting. Drizzle the frosting over the bread pudding. You can also add chopped pecans or walnuts if desired.

Warm from the oven, before the frosting was added

With the frosting, it soaked in more as it sat