Sunday, September 21, 2014

Breakfast Streusel Danish Braids

Here I am again, baking.  I don’t normally bake this much – but the boys seem to be enjoying having something different as a breakfast option in the mornings!

I have been heading back to my cookbooks more and more and found this one out of The Pampered Chef cookbooks I own, More Stoneware Sensations.  This was pretty quick and easy to assemble.  What’s even better is that the recipe makes two of these delicious braids!  I kept one for our family and gave one to a friend to share with her family.  Perfect. 

The first one I made wasn’t as “pretty” as the second…so it didn’t really make it into the photo here.  You can choose whatever flavor of jam or preserves you’d like – or do what I did; use what I already had in my kitchen!  I already had a jar of Smucker’s Natural Strawberry Fruit Spread and decided to use it on both braids. 

In my More Stoneware Sensations cookbook, it references a lot of Pampered Chef products – I have modified the recipe to call out the type of kitchen tool you will need.

Give this recipe a try and let me know what creative (or not so creative) choices you made with your fillings!

Twice-As-Nice Danish Braids
Makes 2 coffee cakes (10 servings)

For the Braids:
1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese softened.  {Note: I used Neufch√Ętel cheese which has 1/3 less fat from Challenge Dairy}
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon almond extract 
1 egg, separated
2 packages (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent rolls
3 tablespoons seedless raspberry jam
3 tablespoons peach preserves {or really, whatever jams/preserves of of your choice}

For the Streusel:
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons natural whole almonds, chopped
2 tablespoons butter or margarine, melted
Parchment paper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Unroll 1 package of crescent roll dough; do not separate, Arrange longest side of the dough across the width of a rectangular cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Using a small rolling pin, roll dough to seal perforations (I used my fingers too!)  Spread half of the cream cheese mixture in a 3-inch strip lengthwise down the center of the dough to within 1/4 inch of each end.  Carefully spread raspberry jam over cream cheese mixture.

Using a small knife, make cuts along the sides of the dough 1 1/2 inches apart to within 1/2 inch of the filling.  

To braid, life strips of dough across the filling to meet in the center, twisting each strip one turn.  Continue alternating strips to form a braid.  Fold up ends of braid to seal.

Repeat process on opposite end of the cookie sheet with remaining crescent roll dough, cream cheese mixture, and peach preserves to make a second braid.  

Brush lightly beaten egg white over dough with a pastry brush.  

For the streusel, mix the flour, sugar, almonds, and butter until crumbly.  Sprinkle evenly over the braids, patting gently.  

Bake 22-25 minutes or until deep golden brown. Cut into slices and serve.  

Monday, September 15, 2014

Lamb Chops with Herb Butter

Not too long ago I posted a recipe for Herb Butter that came straight out of the cookbook, True Grits from The Junior League of Atlanta. This herb butter can be used in may ways - but True Grits shared a recipe for Lamb Chops with Herb Butter.  The herb butter melted nicely on the lamb chops - they were delicious and this dish gave us a nice change of pace for a weeknight meal!

Lamb Chops with Herb Butter
Serves 4
Recipe from True Grits from The Junior League of Atlanta

For the herb butter:

1 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
1 shallot, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced
1/4 cup water
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

For the lamb chops:
4 lamb chops
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves garlic, crushed
lemon pepper to taste

To prepare herb butter:
Combine the rosemary, shallot, and garlic with the water in a small saucepan.  Boil for 1 minute, strain, and cool.  You may discard the water.

Combine the strained rosemary, shallot, and garlic with the butter, parsley, salt, and white pepper, in a food processor, process until smooth.  This can also be combined by hand.

Shape into a roll on waxed paper, wrap, and chill until firm.

To prepare the lamb chops:
Rub the lamb chops with the olive oil and crushed garlic; sprinkle with lemon pepper.  Let stand in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Grill the lamb chops for 5-7 minutes on each side or until done to taste.  Serve topped with a slice of the herb butter.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Pumpkin Corn Muffins - Is It Fall Yet?

Here in the Valley of the sure doesn't feel like Fall, but with images of pumpkins and cool weather being shared and Starbucks adding PSL to their menu, I wanted to bake something Fall-like for my family to enjoy.

My little one's Highlights High Five magazine arrived this week and while reading it with him that night, we found a recipe for Pumpkin Corn Muffins - perfect timing.  I planned to crack open my cookbooks that night to see what I could bake based on what I had in my pantry. Fortunately, the recipe in the magazine only required a quick trip to the store after getting the boys to bed for a can of unsweetened pumpkin puree - I kind of figured I would need to buy at least that.

The cool part about this recipe is that since it was featured in this month's Highlights High Five, it's geared towards making it with your kids.  This time I did not - but it would be great to have them participate next time!

I popped them in the microwave for just a few seconds to warm them up the next morning - my boys loved them! These were very easy and started to get us in the mood for Fall.  What are you baking this season?

Pumpkin Corn Muffins
Makes 12 muffins
Recipe courtesy of  the October 2014 edition of Highlights High Five magazine

1 cup flour
3/4 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup canned unsweetened pumpkin puree
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and put 12 paper baking cups into a muffin tin.

Put the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, spice, and salt into a large bowl.  Stir to mix.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs, then add the pumpkin, sugar, and oil.  Mix well.

Make a space in the center of the dry ingredients and pour in the egg mixture.  Stir just until blended. Pour the batter into the baking cups.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.