Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

French Toast Bake

Family traditions, every family has their own around the holidays... One recipe that brings back memories... Here we have Portuguese French Toast for Christmas... Usually fried, but not this time! These are baked and  made the day before, so all you have to do in the morning is to turn on the oven!

First time I saw this recipe was on Pinterest, so I repinned it and followed the link to "Rach's blog," that gives a detailed explanation of how to fix this delicious breakfast dish. I used demerara sugar instead of brown sugar because in Brazil the brown sugar makes a very thick sauce. And I also added milk caramel in between layers... and that made all the difference!
 
 
French Toast Bake
1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)
1 cup demerara sugar
1 loaf Texas toast - I used 12 slices of white bread, no crust
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Ground cinnamon, white sugar and  confectioner's sugar for sprinkling
Milk caramel for the filling, if you like.

1) Melt butter in microwave and add demerara sugar, stir until mixed.
2. Pour butter/sugar mix into bottom of 9 x 13 pan
3) Lay single layer of bread in pan, sprinkle sugar, cinnamon and add a dollop of milk caramel on top of each slice
4) Beat eggs, milk, vanilla and 1 tbs sugar
5) Spoon half of egg mixture on bread layer
6) Add second layer of bread slices
7) Spoon on remaining egg mixture, sprinkle sugar and cinnamon on top
8) Cover and chill in fridge overnight
9) Bake at 350° F (180° C) for 40 minutes
10) Sprinkle powedered sugar and decorate with strawberries or not...
11) Serve with warm maple syrup or plain.


Pour butter mixture, spread around, add slices of bread on top

Add half the egg mixture, sprinkle sugar and cinnamom. Adda a dollop of milk caramel

Add second layer of bread, add remaing egg mixture and top with sugar and cinnamon.
French toast bake... ready to be served and add some beauty to your breakfast table!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

My little fabric Christmas tree



This year I started to make some fabric trees to fill in some empty spots around the house and I found an easy way to fold them. 


Cut a circle - around 12in (30 cm)
Fold in half - then fold a triangle on top
Turn the fabric around and fold again
Keep folding
And you have a fabric tree!
Use a cinnamon stick about the size of the tree
Open carefully your folded tree and run hot glue along the cinnamon stick, close and press a little
Use a small vase or styrofoam covered with fabric to make the base
Hot glue the cinnamon stick into the whole, and add a few trimmings 
Decorate some empty spots around the house with your fabric Christmas tree!



Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Green gift wrapping

Gift wrapping you can do yourself with old envelopes and help the environment... This idea to give a personal touch to my gifts I found on Martha Stewart website.

A nice and green way to reuse the huge amount of envelopes I received and saved throughout the year. Also, I reused some old paper bags.

You can print the template here or just trace the lines of pine cones on a sheet of paper/old envelopes and cut them out. Punch some holes to add ornaments.
  

Friday, June 19, 2009

A passion (fruit) trifle

Portuguese version
Valentine's day in Brazil was June 12th and this reminded me of passion fruit trifle. An elegant dessert and just perfect for any special occasion, like Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Fourth of July, Christmas, New Year's, etc. I usually fix this dessert for big crowds.

Passion fruit is widely used here in juices and desserts. The actual name of this fruit in Portuguese has nothing to do with the translation into English, passion fruit is known here as maracuja.

This dessert is usually served as a passion fruit mousse and only the custard and the topping are arranged in a dish, but this time a friend of mine, Sheila, served it as a trifle and shared her mother's recipe.
For the custard
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can heavy cream (use the condensed milk can to measure)
1/2 cup concentrated passion fruit juice

Whisk the condensed milk, the heavy cream and the passion fruit juice until smooth.

For the whipped cream
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar

Whisk the cream with an electric mixer in a bowl until soft peaks form.

For the trifle
6 thick slices of sponge cake (you can also use graham crackers or cookies)
6 oz (180 g) milk or white chocolate, shaved or squares

For the passion fruit topping
1/2 cup concentrated passion fruit juice
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 passion fruit

1) Scrape the seeded pulp of the fruit into a saucepan, add water, sugar, cornstarch and passion fruit juice. Boil the mixture over medium heat until the sugar granules dissolve completely and the mixture is clear. Remove the pan from the heat.


2) Assemble the trifle. Arrange a layer of cake pieces in the bottom of a serving dish. Pour some of the custard evenly over the cake, sprinkle shaved chocolate and pour whipped cream. Repeat layering, ending with whipped cream.

3) Pour the passion fruit topping, sprinkle more shaved chocolate. Refrigerate.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Struffoli - Italian Christmas Fritters



Struffoli or honey balls are a traditional dessert in Naples around Christmas. These treats are served after Christmas dinner but I like to make them anytime of the year. Even though I have never been to Italy, there are many Italians in Brazil and I found this recipe while browsing my first recipe notebook. The dough balls are fried, sizzled with honey and sprinkles and then piled to form a cone or wreath. Serve them after Christmas dinner. Easy and yummy, and you can make them in advance.

Wishing you and your family a wonderful Christmas!

Struffoli
2 eggs
4 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 tablespoon limoncello (rum or brandy)
2 tablespoons butter
Grated zest of one orange (or lime)
1 2/3 cups sifted all purpose flour

Oil for deep frying

1 cup honey
Colored sprinkles and pignole nuts.

1) In a large bowl whisk together eggs, sugar, rum and butter until foamy. Add orange zest and baking powder. Add flour and knead until it forms a soft dough. Let it rest covered for half an hour in the fridge.

2) Divide dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a 1/2 inch thick rope. Using a sharp knife, cut the rope to obtain half-inch balls.

3) Deep-fry the balls, 6 to 8 at a time until they are light golden brown. Turn them regularly. Drain on paper towel.

4) Heat honey in a saucepan and coat struffoli. Pile onto a serving dish and decorate with sprinkles and pignole nuts.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Holiday Cooking, Blogger Style - A too good to eat fruitcake

Thanksgiving approaches... then suddenly we realize that holiday season is just around the corner! It is so nice that the 3rd Holiday Cooking recipe exchange at Overwhelmed with Joy is here already so we can start collecting recipes! This year I am sharing the best ever Christmas cake I have ever had!

The combination of saffron and honey is just out of this world... This is a light cake and so easy to make. You can make it ahead of time or at the last minute! The recipe was adapted from the British magazine Good Food, that I received as a gift from a friend.

All recipes I tried from the December 2007 issue were a hit with my family!

Conversions
The conversions are rounded up or down as appropriate. I use grams and cups... but many people use ounces. For the dried fruits, you can get 2 handfuls of mixed fruits and it will work great, no need to be precise...

Honey saffron Christmas cake
2 tbsp brandy
A pinch of saffron powder (about 1⁄4tsp strands)
1 cup (8oz/225g) golden caster sugar
2 sticks (8oz/225g) butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
4 eggs
1 2/3 cups (225g) plain flour
2 oz/50g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
11 oz/300g raisins or sultanas
4 oz/100 g apricots, sliced
4 oz/100g cherries, halved
4 oz/100g dates, sliced
3 oz/85g mixed peel (I used candied orange peels)
2 oz/50g whole blanched almonds, roughly chopped
 2 oz/50g walnuts, pieces

 To soak
3 tbsp brandy
2 tbsp honey

Directions:
1) Heat oven to 360°F/180°C. Grease a round, deep 8inch/20cm cake pan. -> I used a ring mould and it baked more quickly.

2) Heat the brandy in a small pan, then add the saffron and leave to infuse off the heat for a few minutes. Put the butter, sugar, eggs, flour, ground almonds, baking powder and a pinch of salt into a bowl, then beat together until creamy and smooth. Mix the fruit, nuts and brandy saffron mix into the batter and stir well.

3) Spoon into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour if using the ring mould.

Or... if you like a darker cake... you might want to cover loosely with foil to stop the top over-browning. Turn oven down to 280°F/140°C and cook for 1 hour more OR until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool in the pan then, while it's still warm, prod the cake all over with a skewer.

4) Mix the honey (microwave honey for 15s) and brandy together and spoon over the cake. Garnish with confectioner's sugar, pipe some whipped cream and dress up with fruits in season. I washed the fruits and coated them with confectioner's sugar.

You can wrap up the plain cake in foil and keep it in an airtight container until Christmas, feeding with more honeyed brandy every so often. Well, I made one last year on Christmas Eve and decorated right away... and still... it tasted great!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Portuguese French Toast or Brazilian Rabanadas


Many countries celebrate a white Christmas but, since it is Summer time in Brazil, many places have Christmas lights on palm trees. However, we also exchange gifts, decorate our houses with lights, put up trees and have large family reunions. Turkey and roasted pork are traditional dishes during Christmas supper. 

Another Christmas tradition here is the Portuguese French toast or "rabanadas" that were brought from Portugal and consist of french bread, milk, eggs, and cinnamon sugar on top. It is a part of my husband's family memories on Christmas day. My father-in-law usually orders the bread in advance and keeps this tradition going. It is like a magic moment, an opportunity to spend time with the family members during breakfast or the afternoon snack. As this year we are celebrating Christmas with my parents, I already asked my mother-in-law to make "rabanadas" on New Year's day!


Rabanadas - From the kitchen of my mother-in-law

About 20 1-inch-thick (2.5 cm) slices french bread
1/2 can sweetened condensed milk (reserve other half for topping)
2 cups of milk
3 eggs, separated

About 3 tablespoons oil for pan-frying
Sugar and cinnamon to sprinkle, condensed milk or syrup to pour over fried bread

Directions:
1) If possible, buy the bread the day before, slice it and let it sit overnight in an open container.

2) Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Add egg yolks and beat again until thick.

3) In a medium bowl, combine half can of condensed milk with the milk.

4) Soak lightly each slice of bread with the dissolved condensed milk, drain the excess and coat the slice with eggs whites.

5) Fry in hot oil until golden brown on each side. Place on paper towel to drain and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon, condensed milk, or syrup. Serve warm.

Does your family have any Christmas traditions?

Monday, December 17, 2007

Fruity Pastel Cookies - Christmas cookies from around the world

Baking cookies at Christmas is an old tradition that so many people treasure. I did some research and found out that the tradition of leaving Christmas cookies and milk for Santa isn’t a very old one. It is believed to have started around the 1930s during the time of the Great Depression. So, if you were nice, you thank Santa for the hard work on Christmas Eve, and if you were naughty you can still try to bribe him with some cookies!

I gave these cookies to our children's preschool teachers as a Christmas gift, placed them in clear boxes and attached a bow to the lid.



This is another contribution for Susan at Food Blogga who is hosting the Eat Christmas cookies event until December 24th. To join the fun and share your recipes, please click the red logo on the right for instructions.

Ingredients:
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 package (3 ounces) lime gelatin or flavor of your choice
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
Red and green colored sugar and/or sprinkles

1)
In a large mixing bowl, cream butter, sugar and gelatin powder. Beat in egg and vanilla. Combine flour and baking powder; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well.

2)
Using a cookie press fitted with the disk of your choice, press dough 2 inches (5 cm) apart onto ungreased baking sheets.

3)
Decorate as desired with colored sugar and/or sprinkles. Bake at 400°F (200 °C) for 6-8 minutes or until set (do not brown). Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool.

Yield:
6 dozen


From our home to yours:
-
I used two flavors of gelatin powder and created red and green cookies.
- Remove cookies while they are still hot so they don't stick to the pan.





Adapted from magazine Taste of Home, Dec/Jan 2003

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Holiday Cheese Spread - Holiday Cooking, Blogger Style

Every year my family throws a big Christmas dinner and we invite some friends. My friend Walkiria showed up a few years ago with a tasty snowman cheese spread that was too cute to eat. It "melted away" quickly as everyone wanted to get a taste of it.


This is my entry for the Annual Holiday Cooking, Blogger Style recipe exchange. If you would like to participate, please visit Overwhelmed with Joy for the guidelines. And happy cooking!


Ingredients:
3 slices bacon
2 tablespoons butter
1 pkg. (8oz - 240 g) cream cheese softened
2 cups finely shredded Cheddar cheese (I used smoked ricotta)
Garlic powder, onion powder, and black pepper to taste.

1) Place bacon on roasting rack, cover with paper towel and microwave at High for 3 to 6 minutes or until brown and crisp. Cool and crumble.

2) Mix butter, cheese, cream cheese, onion powder, garlic powder and pepper in medium bowl until well blended. Add bacon and combine well. Divide mixture in half.



For the snowman:
2 pretzel sticks
black peppercorns
1 whole pimiento
1 pimiento-stuffed green olive
1 baby carrot
crackers

1) Divide one half of them mixture into 2 or 3 portions (depending on the type of snowman you want to make). Shape each portion into ball , making balls for head and upper body slightly smaller than base. Stack balls on serving tray.
2) Make snowman's arms by inserting pretzel sticks into cheese. Decorate with peppercorns for the eyes and buttons. Add carrot for the nose. Cut small piece of pimiento for mouth. Cut 1/2 inch-wide strip of pimiento to make scarf. Trim top and bottom of olive and use wooden pick to secure olive to cracker for the hat. Place on head.


For Santa's boot:
Sliced almonds
Black peppercorns
pimiento strips

Shape remaining half of cheese mixture into boot shape. Trim top of boot with sliced almonds to resemble fur. Use peppercorns and pimiento for laces and bow.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Congo Bars and Christmas Cookies around the world

I am so far behind with the Thanksgiving recipes I promised to post here that I decided to switch to Holiday cooking! Last year my old small group organized a Christmas party and there was a gift exchange. It was a lot of fun, the hostess gave away Congo Bars baked in small bundt pans and wrapped in clear cellophane to each of us. I asked for the recipe and she was kind enough to share her secret with us. These make a great gift.

Susan at Food Blogga is hosting an event called Eat Christmas cookies from now through December 24th, and I wanted to share this recipe that tastes so much like cookies and it is so easy to make. To see all the wonderful Christmas cookies recipes from around the world, you just need to click the red logo!

Ingredients
5 tablespoons melted butter
3 eggs
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup chopped Brazilian nuts or walnuts
1 cup chocolate chips
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1) Preheat oven to 350 °F (180 °C). Grease 10 x 15 inch pan. (You can use small bundt pans or 12 muffin cups).

2) Combine butter and sugar in bowl. Add 1 egg at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt; blend well. Fold in chips and nuts. Turn in pan, spread evenly.

3) Bake until top is lightly browned, about 20-25 minutes. Transfer to wire rack; let cool. Cut into bars and sprinkle confectioner's sugar on top. Congo bars will freeze.