Monday, April 9, 2012

The Most Important Meal of the Day: #65 and #66

Anyone who knows me well knows my love for breakfast. Seriously. I could eat waffles, pancakes, scrambled eggs, muffins, smoothies, sausage links, and french toast for every meal for days on end and never tire of it. I also love when an opportunity arises for me to SHARE breakfast with someone, because let's be honest- breakfast most mornings means grabbing a bowl of oatmeal, cold cereal, or a Slim Fast bar on your way out the door... and that is a shame. A CRYING SHAME. Food this delicious is meant to be shared, and there it nothing I love more than getting to show up at a friend's door, still in my sweats, hair a mess, holding onto a delicious breakfast baked good we're going to share over cocoa and gossip. Ugh, SQUEAL! I die.

This blog contains not one, but TWO delish treats I made a couple of weekends ago (My friends and family are spoiled). The first was a cupcake my friend recommended to me about two months prior to me actually making them. I had been struggling trying to find something fun to bring to Nichelle's house, and had settled on a sticky bun recipe in a cookbook she had bought me as a gift ( that is their website. I'd type the name of the actual book, but I wouldn't want any of you jumping down my throat for the wrong reasons). ANYWAYS, long story short, upon heading to the grocery store I quickly realized that in order to obtain 18 of the Rhodes rolls mentioned in the sticky bun recipe, I'd either have to buy 3 6-packs of rolls... which was RIDICULOUSLY expensive... or one 36 roll pack... which was unnecessary. Cut to me rolling my eyes, and quickly pulling up my Pinterest, where I had remembered my friend Gabby had found a recipe for a, GET THIS


... YEAH, so mind-blowing it got center billing.

Okay, so... maybe cupcakes aren't traditional breakfast fare, but Cinnamon Toast Crunch is, and considering this particular weekend was also Gabby's last at a certain coffee conglomerate (... which shall remain nameless; however, I myself used to wear their GREEN, UNFLATTERING apron), I knew her recipe would be a perfect excuse to visit her, drop off some num-nums, and congratulate her on a job well done. Yes. Perfect recipe.

#65: Cinnamon Toast Crunch Cupcakes (as found on apparently my fiance knows the woman running this blog, so shout-out to Lizzy!)


Cinnamon Cake:
3 eggs
1/3 cup oil
¾ cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup sour cream
Vanilla Cake Mix (not white cake mix)
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon

Cinnamon Toast Crunch Buttercream:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup Cinnamon Toast Crunch powder
(Crush the cereal in a bag and then sift out 2/3 cup)


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line pans with 20-22 cupcake liners. In a large bowl, gently combine eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla. Mix in sour cream.
     - I know what you're thinking, and yes, I had a minor panic attack putting both buttermilk and sour cream in this batter. Two of my greatest baking fears, COMBINED. They are completely necessary though- I have NEVER had such a fluffy, soft homemade cupcake before.

2. Add cake mix and cinnamon and mix until smooth. Fill cupcake liners ¾ full and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until an inserted knife comes out clean.

3. While the cupcakes are baking, make the buttercream frosting: Beat cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add Cinnamon Toast Crunch powder. Add vanilla and powdered sugar. Adjust the consistency using milk if it is too thick.
     - I usually stray from putting as much powdered sugar as called for in my frosting recipes, just because I prefer the other flavors in the frosting to shine, but this recipe has JUST ENOUGH cream cheese that you can still taste it even with all that sugar. The scary part, however, was putting the cereal in the frosting. I hadn't noticed it said to SIFT the cereal after crushing (WHOOPS), so my frosting ended up having chunks of cereal in it. Weird at first, but delicious once the cupcakes had sat in the freezer for the night. The cereal softened up just enough to where it wasn't crunchy- I don't know HOW, but it just worked!

8. Pipe onto cooled cupcakes and top with cinnamon sugar and Cinnamon Toast Crunch squares.
     - I actually DID the piping using a plastic bag technique I learned off of Pinterest, and it worked WONDERFULLY! And my cupcakes actually didn't look half bad- of course, I forgot to take pictures, but here is the picture from Lizzy's site:

The next project was for, who else, the BAIRDS! I was heading over to their house early Sunday morning for some brunch, and I thought I'd bring over a little treat, because I.LOVE.FRENCH.TOAST.

#66: Overnight French Toast Casserole (as found on

Whoever invented overnight casseroles deserve a big-old-medal for it. Seriously, genius! ... I am becoming such a housewife...


1/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 loaf Texas Toast bread (the blog recommended brioche or challah, but people, I AM FROM THE TRI-CITIES. We don't have that kind of selection at Albertson's... French bread would also work well)
8 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/8 teaspoon salt
maple syrup and powdered sugar for topping


1. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and melted butter and pour on the bottom on a 9x13 baking dish.
     - Pour? Huh... my mixture was super thick, and I ended up spreading it all over the bottom of the pan with a spoon, and it had a texture similar to that sugar scrub you put on your skin to exfoliate it. I guess I didn't melt the butter enough?

2. Arrange pieces of bread in the baking dish, overlapping if necessary.

3. Combine milk, eggs, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a bowl and pour evenly over bread slices. Sprinkle chopped pecans over bread slices. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 4-12 hours.
     - Sprinkle? Shoot, I pulled back the bread and STUFFED those pecans between the slices. Every bite had a little nut... that's how we do! OH, and a side note: when I made this, our fridge was stuffed, so I ended up putting the casserole dish in the freezer. I thought it was a genius move at the time, but looking back on it, I think the dish cooled so rapidly that the egg wasn't able to completely soak into the bread, and instead just kind of stayed at the bottom of the pan.

4. In the morning, take the casserole out of the fridge for at least 10 minutes while you are preheating your oven to 350 degrees. Bake casserole for 30-35 minutes. If it starts browning too quickly, place a foil loosely over the top of the casserole for the last 10 minutes or so. 
     - Good advice on the last part. My bread browned really nicely during the first 35 minutes, but the bottom was still eggy... so I covered it and set it back in the over for another 10 minutes and it worked beautifully.

5. Remove casserole from oven and let it cool slightly before serving. Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar and a drizzle of maple syrup. 

This was good. Too good. I may never make traditional french toast again. The best part was the brown sugar at the bottom of the pan that got all crusty and warm at the bottom of the toast. Ugh. SO GOOD!

... I forgot pictures again. So here is this to tide you over:

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