Caramel Pecan french toast

Are you like me and already wondering what to serve Christmas morning for breakfast? I love serving french toast but I can’t say I enjoy standing at the stove frying it while all the festivities are going on or dealing with all the mess, if there are guests in the house.

Here is a breakfast dish perfect for Christmas morning or any other morning!  Upside-down Caramel Pecan French toast!…

caramel french toast

This heavenly dish is wonderful to make because there is no frying required – except for the sausage and onion filling inside! It starts out with a caramel-y layer on the bottom, followed by a layer of Texas toast dipped in a cinnamon maple- flavored batter, then a layer of sausage and onion topped with more of the dipped-bread. It is baked and then the pan is flipped over and out comes this gooey caramel french toast…

caramel french toastNo butter or syrup needed for this french toast! It sort of reminds me of a caramel cinnamon roll but savory-tasting with the sausage and onions inside. Oh, and did I mention,  your guests will drool when they see it laying there on the platter?…

pecan french toast

I hope you are all having a fun-filled holiday season!

 Upside-down Caramel Pecan French Toast

Prepare a 13×9 inch cake pan by first spraying it with cooking spray. Take a sheet of parchment paper and press into the pan so that the bottom and sides are covered with the paper (spraying the pan first helps the parchment paper stick to the pan so that it doesn’t shift around). Then spray the paper lightly with the cooking spray. Set aside.

Sprinkle onto an ungreased cookie sheet:

¾ c chopped pecans

Toast them in a 400 degree oven for 3-4 minutes. Watch them carefully as nuts can burn easily…

Into a heavy saucepan put:

1 ½ c brown sugar

¾ c butter

1/3 c milk

Heat until sugar has completely melted and mixture is smooth after being whisked. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and then sprinkle with the toasted pecans. Let this layer cool completely…

Meanwhile into a skillet place:

1 lb. sage-flavored pork bulk sausage ( regular flavored sausage will work too)

1  large onion, finely chopped

When the sausage has been browned and the onions are soft, remove from heat and empty the pan onto a layer of paper towels to absorb the grease.

Into a large mixing bowl whisk together:

7 eggs

1-1/2 c milk

1 T flour

1 t salt

1 t vanilla

1 t maple flavoring

2 t cinnamon

¼ t nutmeg

½ t garlic powder

2 t onion powder

Whisk this together. Then dip into this, one by one until saturated:

6 slices of Texas style bread ( thick sliced bread)

Evenly place the 6 slices over the caramel and pecan layer. Evenly sprinkle the sausage mixture over this and then dip:

6 more slices Texas style bread

into the batter and place over the sausage. Pour any remaining batter evenly over the bread and place into a 350 degree oven for about 45 minutes or until toast is done. Let the pan sit for about one minute then place a serving platter upside down onto the cake pan and quickly invert the setup. Be careful, the caramel is very hot! Slowly  peel off the parchment paper and serve. Makes 12 stuffed triangles!

See you after Christmas when I am going to show you a fun bouquet idea using peppermint candy canes!

Happy Holidays to all of you and safe travels to those of you who will be on the road!

Coco Panache

 red frosted flowersI was looking at my blog a couple of days ago and realized I haven’t blogged for quite some time! This past month has just been crazy with the release of my new cookie DVD. 

I am excited to share one of my favorite beverage recipes with you! It is for a drink called “Coco Panache”.  It’s a creamy smooth combination of Irish creme liqueur, caramel syrup and half-n-half. Coco Panache is very simple to make and can easily be made into any amount you wish, whether it is just to fill a glass or an entire pitcher! And it keeps well in the refrigerator if you have any leftovers…

I hope are all having a nice holiday season!…

Coco Panache

4 parts Irish Creme liqueur

4 parts half-n-half

1 part caramel ice cream syrup

Pour into a container. Stir well and serve over ice.

Sparkling Christmas Punch

How is your Christmas season going?  Mine is going waaaaay too fast! Pretty soon it will all just be a memory…

Here is a recipe for a very beautiful and effervescent punch. What makes it so pretty really isn’t so much the color of the punch, but the way it can be presented.

 My friend Michelle gave me this recipe many years ago and she served the punch with raspberry ice cubes and a garnish of  mint.  I didn’t use the mint sprig for the photo above because I forgot to pick some up at the store! :(   That touch of green really sets it off - especially around this holiday time. There has been many a time where I have received compliments on this punch and they haven’t even tasted it yet! I guess the saying is true then…people “taste” with their eyes first!…

Raspberry Punch

      12 oz. can frozen Raspberry and Apple juice concentrate, thawed ( or any other berry-flavored concentrate)

      1 large can pineapple juice (cold)

      2 – 2 liter bottles of chilled lemon-lime soda or gingerale ( if you can find it, raspberry gingerale works the best…)

Mix together and serve with flavored ice cubes and a sprig of mint. Cheers!

Bread Pudding

Christmas is coming! I thought I’d start the season out with a recipe for  bread pudding. This dessert is good anytime of year but for some reason, I associate it with Christmas. Whenever you choose to serve it, it  is a yummy way to use up any dry coarse bread you may have lying around the house.

I showed the pudding, in the photo above, with a  little melted raspberry preserves and a sprinkle  of  toasted almonds over the top for extra flavor and texture…


It is also very good with strawberries! But I think my favorite way to eat this bread pudding is just plain and simple…

This pudding is sweet enough on its own. It really doesn’t need any additional toppings…but it is good with just a  little dolip of whipped cream! :)

Bread Pudding

You will get the best results if you use a coarse bread for this pudding. If you only have regular bread just lay it out on the kitchen counter for awhile to dry it out a bit…

In a heavy medium-sized saucepan put:

      2 c milk

Heat until hot then turn off heat and add:

      6 T butter

      1 c sugar

      1/4 t  salt

      1/2 t  almond extract

Stir and then let sit until the sugar and butter melts. Meanwhile, grease a 9-inch baking dish. Put:

      4 cups of slightly packed coarse bread cubes

spread evenly over the bottom of the baking dish. Into a small bowl put:

      4 eggs

Beat them slightly then slowly add about 1/4 c of the hot milk mixture into the eggs. Whisk together and then gradually add the egg mixture into the warm milk mixture. Whisk until thoroughly combined. Carefully pour this mixture over the bread cubes. Pat the pieces of bread down into the egg/milk mixture so that all the bread pieces have been saturated.

 Let sit for 5 minutes. Then place into a 350 degree oven and bake for 50 minutes. When done, the center will be puffed and springy to the touch and will be a deep golden brown on top. Store any leftovers in the refrigerator.

 This is one of those desserts that can be enjoyed warm or cold but it makes an especially  nice warm “comfort” dessert on a cold day…