Blueberry Scones

Holy heck! These are damn good!

Earlier in the week I asked Paul what he’d like me to bake this Sunday. Ya never really know what kind of answer he’ll give, so it’s an adventure every time I ask. He promptly said, “blueberry scones.”

Now the chances that Paul actually knows what a scone is are slim to none. I’m quite certain that he thinks scones, muffins, and biscuits are all the same thing. But none the less, I started looking for recipes.

This one promises the “better than a bakery” scone. That’s either an arrogant baker or a kick-arse one. It’s definitely the latter. This is a a fabulous recipe that will guide you into baking moist, buttery scones.

Now I’m not gonna lie to you, I may have (or definitely) got heavy handed with the icing. I accidentally made the icing much too thick, but by the time I drizzled the sugary loveliness on the first scone I got lazy and didn’t want to fix it. I’m not proud. So I just kept drizzling away. Enjoy!

Note: When I make the icing, I use vanilla paste instead of vanilla extract. I feel like vanilla extract has a harsh taste if it’s not cooked. Vanilla paste on the other hand, is a lot more gentle. Plus, it looks super fancy because you can see specs of the vanilla bean in the icing.

Blueberry Scones (recipe care of sallysbakingaddiciton.com)

INGREDIENTS: 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour spoon & leveled (plus more for hands and work surface), 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar, 2 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup (1 stick; 115g) unsalted butter (frozen), 1/2 cup (120ml) heavy cream (plus 2 Tbsp for brushing), 1 large egg, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract,1 heaping cup (180g) fresh or frozen blueberries (do not thaw)

Topping: coarse sugar and vanilla icing

DIRECTIONS: Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl. Grate the frozen butter using a box grater. Add it to the flour mixture and combine with a pastry cutter, two forks, or your fingers until the mixture comes together in pea-sized crumbs. See video above for a closer look at the texture. Place in the refrigerator or freezer as you mix the wet ingredients together. Whisk 1/2 cup heavy cream, the egg, and vanilla extract together in a small bowl. Drizzle over the flour mixture, add the blueberries, then mix together until everything appears moistened. Pour onto the counter and, with floured hands, work dough into a ball as best you can. Dough will be sticky. If it’s too sticky, add a little more flour. If it seems too dry, add 1-2 more Tablespoons heavy cream. Press into an 8-inch disc and, with a sharp knife or bench scraper, cut into 8 wedges. Brush scones with remaining heavy cream and for extra crunch, sprinkle with coarse sugar. (You can do this before or after refrigerating in the next step.) Place scones on a plate or lined baking sheet (if your fridge has space!) and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. After refrigerating, arrange scones 2-3 inches apart on the prepared baking sheet(s). Bake for 22-25 minutes or until golden brown around the edges and lightly browned on top. Remove from the oven and cool for a few minutes before topping with vanilla icing. Leftover iced or un-iced scones keep well at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for 5 days.

Classic Peanut Butter Blossoms

A new friend of mine found out that I love to bake and that I write this weekly blog (unless I get lazy and take a week or two off). Her eyes lit up with admiration and awe as she said, “That’s so cool! Do you know how to make peanut butter blossoms?” Did I mention that she’s more than 20 years my junior? So the fact that she thought my Sunday baking habit/mad scientist experiments were cool was adorable.

Now peanut butter blossoms are just about the easiest thing to bake. Seriously, pretty much the easiest thing. And when I drop off the cookies for her, she will be floored thinking I slaved away just for her when in fact these take very little effort (insert evil laugh here).

When looking up recipes, I happened to click on the Sally’s Baking Addiction site. In reading her recipe, it was obviously a solid one, had excellent tips, and I really just enjoyed reading her writing. I’m for sure gonna check out more of her stuff.

These are a fun treat that will make any crowd happy and you’ll look like a rockstar because everyone will be incredibly impressed. Enjoy!

Classic Peanut Butter Blossoms (recipe care of sallysbakingaddiction.com)

INGREDIENTS: 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled), 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter softened to room temperature, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup packed light brown sugar, 1 large egg (at room temperature), 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 24 chocolate kiss candies (unwrapped), 1/2 cup granulated sugar or 1/4 cup green sanding sugar and 1/4 cup red sanding sugar (for coating)

DIRECTIONS: Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together. Set aside. Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, beat the butter for 1 minute on high speed until creamy. On medium-high speed, beat in 1/4 cup of granulated sugar and the 1/2 cup of brown sugar until completely creamed and smooth, about 2 minutes. Add the egg and beat on high until combined, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the peanut butter and vanilla extract and mix on high until combined. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix on low until combined. Cover and chill the dough for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator (and up to 1 day). If chilling for longer than a few hours, though, allow to sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes before rolling and baking because the dough will be quite hard and the cookies may not spread much. Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats. (Always recommended for cookies.) Set aside. Also, make sure there’s room in your freezer because the cookies will need to be placed inside to prevent the chocolates from melting. Roll & Coat the Dough: Scoop and roll cookie dough, about 1 Tablespoon of dough each. Roll each ball in the 1/2 cup of sugar (or sanding sugar) and arrange on the baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes or until the tops begin to slightly crack. Remove cookies from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes. Press a chocolate kiss candy into each cookie on 1 of the baking sheets until it sticks. Place the baking sheet in the freezer so the chocolate does not melt. Remove after 10 minutes in the freezer. Repeat with 2nd baking sheet of cookies.

NOTES:

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: Cookies stay fresh covered at room temperature for up to 1 week. You can make the cookie dough and chill it in the refrigerator for up to 1 day. Allow to come to room temperature then continue with step 4. Baked cookies freeze well for up to 3 months. Unbaked cookie dough balls freeze well for up to 3 months. Bake frozen cookie dough balls for an extra minute, no need to thaw. Click here for my tips and tricks on freezing cookie dough.
  2. Granulated Sugar: You’ll only need 1/4 cup of granulated sugar for the cookie dough and the other 1/2 cup will be for coating in step 5. Or you can use sanding sugar to coat the cookies instead, noted as optional in the ingredient list. If using sanding sugar, you do not need the extra 1/2 cup of granulated sugar.
  3. Recipe excerpted from Sally’s Candy Addiction cookbook.

Mexican Brownies

A few weeks ago our younger nephew called out a fabulous bakers’ question… “Have you ever tasted unsweetened cocoa? It sucks!” He said it with such passion, and the facial expression was hilarious!

Well Little Man, you’re absolutely right. Unsweetened cocoa does suck! That bitter, dry, powdery essential ingredient is nasty. But that bitter, dry, powdery essential ingredients will unfold in the layers of this dessert.

I’m quite certain I’ve shared this recipe before but regardless, this is a kick-are reason for a repeat…

Note: Be sure you cool the melted chocolate mixture before adding in the eggs. If it’s too hot, the eggs will scramble the second you drop them in, and nobody wants scrambled eggs in their brownies.

Mexican Brownies (recipe care of I have no idea ( tore the recipe from some sort of magazine…)

INGREDIENTS: 1 cup all-pupose flour, 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon each table salt and baking powder, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 8 ounces semisweet bar chocolate (chopped), 1 stick unsalted butter (cubed), 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar, 1 Tbsp instant espresso powder, 3 eggs (beaten), 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS: Preheat: oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with non-stick spray. Whisk: 1 cup all-purpose flour, 1/4 unsweetened cocoa powder, 3/4 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon each table salt and baking powder, 1/4 cayenne pepper. Melt: 8 ounces semisweet chocolate chopped, 1 stick unsalted butter (cubed), 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar, 1 tablespoon instant espresso powder in a saucepan over low heat. Off the heat, stir in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture just until incorporated. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Bake brownies until a toothpick inserted into center comers out with a few moist crumbs, 25 minutes.

Mexican Quinoa Breakfast Bowls

So I had this witty, relatable blog all written out. It was filled with charm. humor, and wit. There was an experience based story of why I chose this recipe. A family related story of why I will gag with soft (and quite possibly medium) eggs. And a few spot on travel and cooking suggestions.

But I had technology difficulties in publishing this. So if you’re interested in said stories, let me know.

Mexican Quinoa Breakfast Bowls (recipe care of simply

INGREDIENTS: 2 cups cooked quinoa, juice & zest of 1 lime, 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, salt to taste, 1 avocado half diced and half sliced, 1 tomato diced, 1 cup finely chopped spinach, 2 organic free-range eggs, salt & pepper to taste, hot sauce to taste

DIRECTIONS: Add the quinoa to a large bowl. Stir in lime juice, zest, cilantro and season with salt. To this mixture, add the diced avocado, tomato and spinach, gently folding it all together to ensure the avocados smooshed. Separate into two bowls and set those aside while you make the eggs. Add the eggs to a small saucepan and cover completely with warm water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to rolling boil and cook for 5 minutes. Remove the eggs from the water and run under cold water until their cool to the touch. Remove the shell, then slice in half.Top each bowl with an egg. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and maybe a touch of hot sauce (if you can handle the heat!) and thoroughly enjoy. Ole!

Chocolate Caramels

Anne with an ‘e.’ Anyone who read the Anne of Green Gables series or watched the television series knows that line well.

My best friend/kindred spirit, Maddy, and I watched the series religiously in high school and always understood why the ‘e’ at the end of my name is so important. She gets me.

Low and behold, Maddy surprised me with The Anne of Green Gables Cookbook this Christmas. It was written by the granddaughter of L.M. Montgomery, the amazing author of the children’s series. I was so touched by such a special and serious throw back gift.

The book is beautiful with pictures from Prince Edward Island, quotes from the series, and recipes that we’re important to the story. Reading it was like walking down memory lane, or “the Avenue,” a.k.a. “ theWhite Way of Delight.”

Now, with that lead up you’d think I killed it in the kitchen today. Yeah, no. I destroyed this recipe. What was meant to be buttery, soft caramels turned out to be a rock hard, not so yummy brick.

Our niece and nephew came over for today’s recipe experiment and Paul, Gwen, Flynn, & I all had a blast taking turns stirring madly as the sugary concoction melted and boiled away. We all thoroughly enjoyed watching the liquidy goodness get super thick. But I gotta say, this simple yet delicious sounding treat did not come together.

I think where I went wrong was not using a candy thermometer. I’m quite certain Anne Shirley didn’t have one when she cooked but this Anne needs dummy-proof help. Needless to say, we cooked it for way too long.

So I covered the brown block with a dish towel and grabbed one of Paul’s hammers from the garage. With one whack, shards of brittle flew everywhere. The thick, toffee consistency wouldn’t have been a problem except that the flavor wasn’t good. It tasted like it had far too much molasses in it.

So if you decide to make this, my suggestions are to use a candy thermometer and light brown sugar. Oh and as Marilla said, “You must keep your wits about you in the kitchen.”

Chocolate Caramels (recipe care of Kate Macdonald)

INGREDIENTS: 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter (plus more for greasing), 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, 1 1/4 cups sweetened condensed milk, 1/4 cup corn syrup, 2 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar

DIRECTIONS: Grease an 8×8-inch baking pan with butter. Set it aside. Add the butter, chocolate, sweetened condensed milk, corn syrup, and brown sugar to a large, heavy saucepan. Mix with a wooden spoon. Place the saucepan over medium heat and let the mixture come to a boil. Let the chocolate melt completely. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook the mixture for 30 minutes. It should boil gently during this time. With the wooden spoon, stir the mixture constantly the entire time. It’s important to stir constantly because candy burns easily. When it’s cooked, the candy will be very thick. Pour it into the baking pan and set it on a cooling rack. Let the candy cool completely, about 1 1/2 hours, then cut it into 3/4-inch squares.

Scallion Buttermilk Biscuits

Y’all know I have an affinity for buttermilk biscuits. I’m not proud… if you offer me a flakey buttermilk biscuit smothered with creamy butter, I’ll most likely settle down in your kitchen and stay for a while.

I haven’t made buttermilk biscuits for a while and I happened to have a bunch of scallions left over from another recipe and I thought buttermilk biscuit + scallions = delightfully wonderful baked good.

One thing I like about this recipe is that it calls for a teaspoon of salt. That saltiness enhances the savory flavors in this biscuit. You could enjoy this for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. It would pair beautifully with eggs, a salad, or a soup. It’s definitely versatile.

I made a crazy good breakfast sandwich with the biscuit this morning. I placed thin slices of salted butter on the ‘right out of the oven’ biscuit halves. Then I topped one half with avocado, a tomato slice, scrambled eggs, and a bacon slice. Seriously, it was heavenly!

By the way, that breakfast sandwich is my slightly (well, let’s be honest… very slightly) version of a traditional cafe breakfast sandwich or Eggs Benedict. I don’t like hollandaise sauce or runny eggs of any kind (ugh, so gross!). I will literally gag with a runny or soft yolk. So Paul scrambled the egg to my liking (he’s so sweet) and also crisped the bacon to my liking (if it’s not crisp, it’s not worth it). Not kidding, amazing!!!

Scallion Buttermilk Biscuits (recipe care of hungryenoughtoeatsix.com)

INGREDIENTS: 3 cups all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 3/4 cup butter (unsalted and cold), 1 cup buttermilk, 4-5 fresh scallions (ragged tops and white bulb ends removed, chopped to yield about 1/2 cup chopped scallions)

DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 425° F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or a Silpat baking mat.  In a large bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda.  Slice the butter into small pieces. Use a pastry cutter to work the butter into the dough.  Add the buttermilk and chopped scallions to the bowl and stir them through the dry mixture. Turn the mixture out onto a lightly floured work surface and knead the dough a few times until it is smooth.  Roll the dough to a 1/2-inch thickness. Use a 3-inch round cutter to cut circles out from the dough. Place the dough circles onto the prepared baking sheet, about 1 inch apart.  Bake the biscuits for about 17 minutes, until they are lightly browned and puffed. Remove the biscuits to a cooling rack to cool completely, or serve them warm immediately. The biscuits can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to three days. Makes about 16 biscuits.

NOTES: Be sure your butter is very cold before you cut it into the dry mixture. Cold pieces of butter in the biscuits is what will give the finished biscuits lots of flakiness.

One-Pot Spaghetti & Turkey Meatballs

Yep, not one meatball in sight.

Paul loves to order spaghetti and meatballs for dinner when we’re out at an Italian restaurant on date night. So when I saw this recipe in People Magazine years ago I tore it out immediately. Thinking, “How hard could it be to make a meatball,” I went into this way to arrogantly.

Having never made a meatball before, I had no clue where to start. But I use to watch Ellie Krieger’s show on Food Network and always loved her healthy versions of classic dishes. In truth, she created a beautiful recipe and I proceeded to destroy it in every way possible.

I was able to make it through all of the directions until I had to form the meatballs. At that point, the meat mixture was way too wet to form a solid ball (believe me, I know how funny that sounds). So I asked Paul to pour in breadcrumbs so that the mixture would thicken. Eventually we kinda got to the consistency that was needed and I rolled out 12 balls (again, funny sentence taken out of context).

When I started frying them I realized I was in serious trouble. One would try to move in on the one next door, while the one next door would stick to the edge of the pot. That was only the beginning. It was a mess! After trying to separate and turn all of the balls in the pan and watching them slowly fall apart, I dove in and mashed them all up to make the starts of a funky ra’gu.

Needless to say it was not a pretty night of cooking. But in the end, the oddly interesting spaghetti dish turned out okay. We’ll be having it for left-overs tomorrow night.

One-Pot Spaghetti & Turkey Meatballs (recipe care of Ellie Krieger)

INGREDIENTS: 1/3 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats, 3 tablespoons 1% low-fat milk, 1 large egg (lightly beaten), 2 tablespoons very finely minced shallot (from one shallot), 2 tablespoons minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, 4 medium-size garlic cloves (divided: 2 cloves finely minced and 2 cloves sliced), 2 oz. (about 1/2 cup) freshly grated Parmesan cheese (divided), 3/4 teaspoon salt (divided), 1/4 plus 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (divided), 1 pound 90% lean ground turkey , 1/4 cup olive oil (divided), 1 (28-oz.) can crushed tomatoes, 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste, 3 1/2 cups water, 12 ounces uncooked whole-wheat spaghetti, 3 cups baby arugula

DIRECTIONS: Stir together oats and milk in a medium bowl, and let stand until liquid is absorbed, 1 to 2 minutes. Add egg, shallot, parsley, minced garlic, 1/4 cup Parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper to oats mixture; stir to combine. Add turkey, and use hands to combine, but avoid overtaxing. Form mixture into 12 balls, wetting hands if they become sticky as you work. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large, wide soup pot over medium high. Add meatballs, and cook, turning occasionally, until browned all over, about 5 minutes. Transfer meatballs to a plate. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to pot, and lower heat to medium. Stir in sliced garlic, and then add tomatoes, tomato paste, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Stir in water; bring mixture to a boil. Add pasta, pressing it down until completely submerged in liquid. Place meatballs in pot, submerging in sauce as much as possible. Lower heat to medium low, and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until pasta is cooked al dente, meatballs are cooked through and sauce has thickened, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in arugula until wilted; garnish with remaining 1/4 cup Parmesan.

Cinnamon-Streusel Coffeecake

2021! Woo woo! Happy New Year y’all!

I’ve written about this coffeecake before, having made it on multiple New Years’ mornings. But, it’s worth blogging about it again. It’s just that good.

Now I’m not gonna lie to you, it takes a while to make. But if you have the time in the morning, you won’t regret it. You can also prep it the night before (see the baker’s note below).

This morning I danced around the kitchen listening to one of my favorite Pandora stations, Madeleine Peyroux, and pretty much just enjoyed a quiet morning of baking. I sipped on a mimosa while mixing, blending, beating… and thoroughly loved playing in the kitchen to kick off this new year. Paul was asleep on the couch (but in his defense, he just had foot surgery).

Just so you know, this is a large coffeecake. When I heaved it into the oven it probably weighed between 8-10 pounds. If you have a lot of people to feed, this recipe is for you. Because it’s just Paul and me, I share this with lots of friends. It keeps really well.

Go forth and bake and have a very happy 2021!

Cinnamon-Streusel Coffeecake (recipe care of kingarthurbaking.com)

INGREDIENTS:

Streusel topping: 1 cup (199g) granulated sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt (if you use unsalted butter), 1 cup (121g) all-purpose flour, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 6 tablespoons (85g) butter (melted)

Filling: 1 cup (213g) brown sugar (packed), 1 1/2 tablespoons cinnamon, 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa (Dutch-process or natural)

Cake: 12 tablespoons (170g) butter (at room temperature), 1 teaspoon salt (1 1/4 teaspoons if you use unsalted butter), 1 1/2 cups (298g) granulated sugar, 1/3 cup (71g) brown sugar (packed), 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, 3 large eggs (at room temperature), 3/4 cup (170g) sour cream or plain yogurt (at room temperature), 1 1/4 cups (283g) milk (at room temperature), 3 3/4 cups (454g) all-purpose flour

DIRECTIONS: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan, or two 9″ round cake pans. Make the topping by whisking together the sugar, salt, flour, and cinnamon. Add the melted butter, stirring until well combined. Set the topping aside. Make the filling by mixing together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa powder. Note that the cocoa powder is used strictly for color, not flavor; leave it out if you like. Set it aside. To make the cake, in a large bowl, beat together the butter, salt, sugars, baking powder, and vanilla until well combined and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sour cream or yogurt and milk till well combined. You don’t need to whisk out all the lumps. Add the flour to the butter mixture alternately with the milk/sour cream mixture, beating gently to combine. Pour/spread half the batter (a scant 3 cups) into the prepared pan(s), spreading all the way to the edges. If you’re using two 9″ round pans, spread 1 1/3 cups batter in each pan. Sprinkle the filling evenly on the batter. Spread the remaining batter atop the filling. Use a table knife to gently swirl the filling into the batter, as though you were making a marble cake. Don’t combine filling and batter thoroughly; just swirl the filling through the batter. Sprinkle the topping over the batter in the pan. Bake the cake until it’s a dark golden brown around the edges; medium-golden with no light patches showing on top, and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, about 55 to 60 minutes for the 9″ x 13″ pan, 50 to 55 minutes for the 9″ round pans. When pressed gently in the middle, the cake should spring back. Remove the cake from the oven and allow it to cool for 20 minutes before cutting and serving. Serve cake right from the pan.

Tips from Their Bakers:

  • Dress it up for guests: Make a glaze with ½ cup confectioners’ or glazing sugar and 1 tablespoon milk; drizzle glaze over the cooled coffeecake.
  • Since butter and sour cream are both key ingredients in this cake, we encourage you to use the best quality you can get. We highly recommend Cabot, a superb Vermont brand available nationally.
  • It’s easy to spread half the batter in the pan when you know how much it weighs. If you have a kitchen scale, half the batter weighs about 28 ounces.
  • Want to prepare this coffeecake the night before, then bake in the morning? It’s easy; simply cover the unbaked cake with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Next morning, bake the cake as directed. Start testing for doneness at the end of the suggested baking time; you’ll probably have to add 5 minutes or so to the total time, to account for the batter being chilled.

Easy & Delicious French Toast

Paul loves French toast. He always has, but it’s never really been my thing. However, it’s Christmas morning and this is such an easy, yet delicious recipe that I’m happy to serve it up.

One shortcut that I was grateful for is that I found pre-sliced brioche bread. Perfect thickness for the soaking and frying.

Serve it up with some really good bacon (crispy if you ask me) and mimosas and you’ve got yourself a lovely little holiday breakfast.

And if you want to step it up a decadent notch, dollop some homemade whipped cream on your French toast stack. Oh holy heck, I shoulda done that!

Have fun!

French Toast (recipe care of Robert Irvine on foodnetwork.com)

INGREDIENTS: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 2 tablespoons sugar, 4 tablespoons butter, 4 eggs, 1/4 cup milk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 8 slices challah/brioche/white bread, 1/2 cup maple syrup (warmed)

DIRECTIONS: In a small bowl, combine cinnamon, nutmeg, and sugar and set aside briefly. In a 10-inch or 12-inch skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Whisk together cinnamon mixture, eggs, milk, and vanilla and pour into a shallow container such as a pie plate. Dip bread in egg mixture. Fry slices until golden brown, then flip to cook the other side. Serve with syrup.

Creamy Three Meat Ragu with Pappardelle & Burrata

Happy Christmas! Happy holidays! Happy New Year!

Man what a year! And man am I ready to say goodbye to it and welcome in 2021!

But before we happily wave goodbye to 2020, let’s focus on the fun food we can enjoy while kicking 2020 into 2021.

Of course the state of California is closed down for any kind of dining other than take out. This posed a bit of a problem for Paul and me because we have a tradition of going out for Christmas Eve dinner with our dear friends, Tess and Willie.

Well, screw that! Since going out isn’t gonna happen, let’s stay in!

Paul and I volunteered to host the holiday traditional dinner at our house. I love hosting dinners for my friends and family. It’s my way of sharing my great love and appreciation for them.

So as I sang along with Bing Crosby, Julie Andrews, Frank Sinatra, and a plethora of other throwback greats as they crooned the amazing old school holiday carols that I adore, Paul and I chopped, sautéed, stirred, and pretty much played in the kitchen making this dish.

Now y’all know I can be a lazy cook but all the chopping of vegetables is totally worth it. This decadent, crazy delicious, ridiculously rich pasta will please even your biggest skeptics. I have only made this twice… once for Halloween and once for Christmas Eve. It really is a recipe that is so special that I only serve it for special occasions. Also, a little goes a long way.

Notes: I don’t cook with or eat veal so I just took the veal out and used 3/4 pounds of both ground beef and sweet Italian sausage. I also have know idea what white pepper is so I skipped that part. Finally, I only have ground nutmeg so I just used a pinch of that. Enjoy!

Creamy Three Meat Ragu with Pappardelle & Burrata (recipe care of rachaelrayshow.com)

INGREDIENTS: 1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons butter, ½ pound ground beef, ½ pound ground veal, ½ pound sweet Italian sausage (casings removed), salt and finely ground black pepper, 1 scant teaspoon white pepper, 1 carrot (peeled and grated or finely chopped), 1 large shallot (finely chopped), 2 tablespoons fresh sage (very thinly sliced), 2 large garlic cloves (chopped), finely grated nutmeg (grate it while making one pass over the pan), 1 tablespoon tomato paste, 1 cup white wine, 2 cups passata (or tomato puree), 1 cup chicken stock, 1 pound pappardelle (or 500 grams), 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (plus more for topping), 8 ounces Burrata cheese, a handful fresh flat-leaf parsley finely chopped (for topping)

DIRECTIONS: Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. In a Dutch oven or deep skillet, heat the oil, one turn of the pan, over medium-high. Add the butter. When it foams, add the beef, veal, and sausage. Cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat with a spoon, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Season with salt, finely ground black pepper, and the white pepper. Add the carrot, shallot, sage, garlic, and nutmeg. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables soften, about 10 minutes. Add the tomato paste. Increase heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the wine. Cook, stirring often, until reduced by half, about 4 minutes. Add the passata and stock. Reduce heat to medium. Cook the sauce at a low bubble until the pasta is ready. Salt the boiling water and add the pasta. Cook until 1 to 2 minutes shy of the package directions. Scoop out 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water, then drain the pasta. Mix the pasta and about 1 cup Parm into the sauce. Toss for 1 minute to coat the pasta; add cooking water as needed if the pasta is too dry. Place the Burrata in a serving bowl. Top with the pasta, parsley, and more Parm. At the table, break open the Burrata and toss the pasta again to coat.