French Toast for Dinner

There is something extremely comforting about breakfast food and I love to eat it just about any time of the day!

Recently I was shopping at Trader Joe's and I saw a loaf of cinnamon swirl bread. I thought it would make delicious French Toast.

It is especially good with maple syrup and fresh fruit.

French Toast
(makes about 10 thick slices)

1 Loaf of Trader Joe's Cinnamon Swirl Bread
(or a loaf of brioche)
6 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 oranges

In a large glass pie dish beat the eggs. Add the vanilla and the zest from one orange. Cut the orange in half and add the juice from 1/2 of the orange. Continue to stir the ingredients together in the pie dish.

Oil a griddle and heat to medium.

Dip one slice of the bread into the egg mixture. Allow the bread slice to soak for about 15 seconds and then turn it over. Carefully place the coated bread onto the heated griddle.

Continue to coat the rest of the bread slices and place them on the griddle.

Cook each slice for a…

Double Hot Chocolate Cake

I was recently drinking a cup of hot chocolate made with a dark craft chocolate bar and I thought it would be interesting to make a chocolate cake using hot chocolate.

With the warmer weather, the season of hot chocolate is quickly coming to an end so I thought I should complete this recipe before the evenings get too hot.

Following is my experimental recipe. The most important part of this recipe is the CHOCOLATE. Use a chocolate that you love. A high quality chocolate creates intense flavors in this recipe.

Also invest in a really good craft chocolate bar for the top of the cake. I have listed some great chocolate companies at the bottom of this post. The variety of chocolate flavors used in this recipe make this dessert amazing!

Double Hot Chocolate Cake

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
small pinch of salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
4 oz chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup hot drinking chocolate

Preheat the ove…

Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut butter has always been my comfort food.  I remember many days as a child eating peanut butter and honey sandwiches.  
Today, I still find extreme satisfaction opening a new jar of peanut butter.  Can you hear the sound of the seal peeling back?  The fragrance is amazing! I love scooping out a spoonful of peanut butter as a snack.
I've tried many peanut butter cookie recipes.  With a few tweaks and secrets, this is my current favorite. The cookies are crispy on the outside and slightly chewy in the center.  
If you prefer cookies that are Extra Crispy, then leave them in the oven for a few more minutes.  They will become crispier as they cool.  When these "Extra Crispy" cookies are completely cool they will be begging for a cup of milk for dunking!
These cookies do not break easily and they are great for picnics! 
There are a few secrets I have for this recipe so read to the end before baking!

The Best Peanut Butter Cookies
1/2 cup salted butter 1/2 cup suga…

Mini Chocolate Cakes for Mother's Day

Mother's Day and Chocolate

I saw a recipe on a container of ricotta cheese claiming to be the "Best Chocolate Cake Ever" so of course I had to try it.  It is actually quite simple because it uses a cake mix, but I found a way to make it even better.  
I decided to make 2 1/2 inch mini cakes and fill them with three different cream fillings:  sweetened whipping cream, ganache and chocolate whipping cream. 

The ricotta cake mix recipe is light and quick to mix. If, however, you prefer to make everything from scratch, then use the chocolate cake recipe from Chocolate Cake with Sugared Walnuts (also listed below).  I actually prefer it to the ricotta cake recipe because it is heavier and is a great contrast to the light cream filling.
These make wonderful party desserts any time of the year but they would be an especially delicious surprise for Mother's Day brunch.  Everyone gets their own mini chocolate cake.  Combine that with food from the chocolate chip pancake brunch.


Delicious Chocolate Cake

I have been searching for chocolate cake recipes.  Little did I know that this next one would come from family.  It is simple to make and it is absolutely delicious.  This is home-baking at its best.

Delicious Chocolate Cake

2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup water
1/2 cup Hershey's unsweetened cocoa
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda mixed with 1/2 cup buttermilk

In a bowl mix together flour, sugar and salt.  In a medium pot boil water, butter and cocoa.  Add to the flour mixture.

Stir in the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla.

Spread the batter into a 9x15 pan.

Bake 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

While the cake is still warm, frost with chocolate icing.  It will melt slightly and create a glaze over the entire surface of the cake.

(This recipe can also be used for cupcakes.  The cupcake in the photo above was frosted after it cooled.  The frosting is thicker than the glaze recommended for the sheet cake)

*Chocolate Icing

1/2 cup butter, soft