Thursday, October 25, 2012

Spiral Sugar Cookies

So a few weeks ago, I got a very exciting email. I found out that I had won Heather Baird's cookbook, Sprinklebakes! I couldn't believe it! I have entered a couple giveaways on blogs before but I have never won. I was never too disappointed because before this email, I had never won any raffle. Ever. One time in elementary school, we had bingo night and I won there, but that is beside the point. Otherwise, I've been going through my whole life without my ticket ever being called off or name being drawn. I guess I should take into account that I don't enter myself into these things often. But lets get back on track, I was checking my email at work and winning this book made my day! I was so excited and nervous I would miss the cut off time to reply, so I immediately replied to the email. Some short days later the book came in the mail! Thank you again Dawn from Vanilla Sugar Blog!

The cookbook not only has great pictures and recipes to go with them, but there are great technique tips to sift through, too. But the best part about the book is that it is all about making your desserts art. And if you know me well, you know there's a little artist trying to peak through the science nerd that I am.

When I was looking through Sprinklebakes, I pick this recipe as my first target. These would be a yummy but neat looking sugar cookie that would be perfect for a Wisconsin Badgers game day! The game against Purdue was away so I figured these cookies would be the perfect munchie while watching the game on TV. Although they can be a bit time consuming, a helper (aka my boyfriend) in the kitchen makes a big difference. The effort and time is definitely worth it! These cookies are the perfect sweetness that are not too soft but not quite crunchy either. All in all, it's hard to only eat one! 

Normally I would post the recipe but I attached the link to when Heather posted the recipe on her Sprinklebakes blog here. I think the pictures that go along with the steps are useful. Also, I'm not going to lie, it has been a busy week of class, exams, work and preparing for my boyfriend's birthday dinner (yay!) so my tired body doesn't even want to type anymore. Hope you check out the recipe!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Pumpkin French Toast Bread Pudding

Food and I have not been getting along lately. There has been a lot of cooking and eating, but will sub par success. Failed attempts at the perfect pumpkin Bourbon bread pudding (determination pays off people). Restaurant meals not meeting my highly anticipated expectations. Burning cookies.

Buying the same smoked butterkase, on two separate occasions, for a Badger Cheese Club Meeting, and I call myself president. Don't worry, I caught the mistake in time to dash to the store and by smoked mozzarella, but really I had already been to three stores for cheese that same day. Where was my head at?!

I made biscuits that were over mixed and poorly risen. The whole reasoning for making them was because they are the perfect fail safe. Biscuits are supposed to be my friend. It seemed like there wasn't anything to lose by giving the pumpkin bread pudding a fourth try at perfection.

A lot of lessons were learned on the road to this fabulous baked french toast bread pudding. Brioche bread makes better bread pudding than french bread. If you do chose to use french or country bread, try to use drier day old bread.

More bourbon for me and less for the bread pudding. Too much for the pudding and it gets a sick texture and taste. Same goes for too much bourbon for me, but that's a whole other story. Be sure to really let all the bread get well coated with the pumpkin custard mixture. Keep stirring it in a large bowl, until it is mostly all absorbed. Its important.

If you find the texture of bread pudding unpleasant, this may be for you. Its more like french toast, hence the name. It's super delicious and not too sweet. Double it to feed a crowd french toast, minus the hour standing in front of the griddle, for breakfast, on Thanksgiving morning. Give it a try with ice cream and caramel sauce, for dessert.


Serves: 6
5 cups brioche bread (11 ounces), cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup whole milk
2 whole large eggs, 1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon and 1 teaspoon bourbon
1/2 cup sugar
2/3 cup pumpkin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ginger
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch ground cloves

  1. Preheat oven to 350F, with rack in middle.
  2. Whisk together the cream, milk, eggs, sugar, pumpkin, spices and bourbon in a medium bowl.
  3. In another large bowl, pour the custard mixture over the bread cubes. Toss the bread cubes until well coated and mostly absorbed. Transfer to a 8x8 inch ungreased baking dish and bake until custard is set, 25-30 minutes.
Adapted from Gourmet


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