“Sweet Mornings” Cookbook Review

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“Many of the recipes in this book reflect a time when folks lingered over their breakfast tables, rapt in conversation” Patty Pinner speaks in the introduction of her new book, “Sweet Mornings”. I love this. I have to admit that although I used to hate mornings, I am slowly becoming a morning person. Although I am so extremely exhausted first thing in the morning due to being a new mom all over again, I really look forward to sipping my coffee slowly. In fact my husband constantly teases me for being a really slow coffee drinker. I think part of me secretly does not want my mornings to end.

I love what this cookbook is all about. Family gatherings, reminiscing good times, bringing people together and socializing all over breakfast. These are the kind of cookbooks that genuinely warm my heart.

The beginning of the book takes us to a brief chat about what every baker needs as well as indispensible baking tools, then goes right into recipes (which I love). Recipes are divided into the following chapters:

  • Sweet Beginnings
  • Morning Savories

The Recipes

The recipes are so easy to follow its ridiculous. Not a ton of ingredients listed and definitely suitable for the beginner baker. I love that some recipes also call for some premade stuff. Now I would not have said that say 3 years ago prior to being a Mom, but now time is more precious than ever and some days call for shortcuts! (actually most days really!) You can also expect a ton of homemade recipes as well, which is equally as fantastic. The index is cross-referenced which makes it super easy to find your go to recipes in the book. The only downside…not a ton of pictures. This would normally turn me right off from the entire book but surprisingly it didn’t. Thankfully the recipe names are so delicious that they caught my attention right away, no picture needed! (Trust me on this one!)

Some of my favourite:

  • Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Swirl Pancakes
  • Tuesday Morning Blueberry Loaf
  • Mama’s French Toast Casserole (I can’t wait to try this one)
  • Mama’s Brown Sugar and Pecan Coffee Cake
  • Stuffed Pecan Pie French Toast
  • Morning Apple Crisp
  • Cream Cheese French Toast Bake and soooo many more!!

In our little family of four we have been making an effort to make Saturday mornings fun and memorable. We call Saturday morning breakfasts “Family fun breakfast” and my 3 year old daughter absolutely loves it. We purchase maple breakfast sausages, taters or any kind of frozen hash brown. My husband makes killer scrambled eggs and bacon and slathers toast in tons of butter (I’ll complain to him about having to lose my baby weight but secretly love it). Nothing about our fun breakfasts is really “homemade” but we don’t care. Its fast to make, tastes good and they are so so fun! We all sit there for a long time eating. Or let me rephrase that..my daughter sits there for roughly 2 hours eating..and demanding more.

While I was reviewing this book I was super excited to take over one family fun breakfast on Saturday and I chose to recreate the Cinnamon Pecan Sticky Bun Ring. This recipe included 2 tubes of refrigerated biscuit dough and I was super excited about it. I’ve never really cut corners before but as I mentioned above, it’s about time I do with 2 small children! Let me just say it was perfect. Delicious, fast and easy to make and my daughter loved helping me out.

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Cinnamon Pecan Sticky Bun Ring

Makes 10 Servings

  • Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing
  • All-purpose flour for dusting
  • ¾ cup chopped pecans
  • 3 tablespoons breakfast syrup (I used Maple Syrup)
  • ½ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 (10-count) tubes refrigerated buttermilk biscuit dough, separated (I could not find any with buttermilk and purchased Pillsbury biscuit dough)

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 10-inch tube or Bundt pan with the cooking spray and dust with some flour. Sprinkle the pecans and breakfast syrup into the pan.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, stir together the brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Sprinkle 1/3 of the sugar mixture into the prepared pan.
  3. Split each round of biscuit dough in half and arrange the halves horizontally in the prepared pan. Sprinkle the remaining sugar mixture on top of the rounds of dough.
  4. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until the ring is golden brown. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool in the pan on a wire rack for 1 to 2 minutes.
  5. Invert onto a serving platter and serve warm.

Overall this recipe was fantastic and I would definitely do it all over again. The only little issue I had was time in the oven. I had to keep it in the oven about 3 times longer that the stated time in the recipe. I am not sure why other than perhaps because the biscuit dough I purchased was a little different. I am not sure. Regardless, other than the impatient taste testers waiting, it was super fun, easy and delicious!

Click here to view a special Q & A with author Patty Pinner.

Many thanks to Agate Publishing for sending over this beautiful book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions and thoughts in this blog post are 100% my own. You may purchase Sweet Mornings: 125 Sweet & Savory Breakfast and Brunch Recipes” by Patty Pinner on Amazon.ca for the current price of $33.06 CAN. Price is subject to change

Nutella Truffles

I am a self-confessed Nutella nut. I love everything Nutella. I have Nutella in my latte every single morning. Any time I see a recipe with Nutella in it, I have to put it to the test immediately. I first saw this recipe for Nutella truffles in a special issue of America’s Test Kitchen, Christmas Cookies 2013. I never toss collectors issues of desserts and always refer to them even years later as there are so many great recipes, but of course not always a lot of time to get through them all!

I first made these truffles 2 years ago when I was pregnant with my daughter. I went on a baking binge, baking as many treats as I possibly could before giving birth (which turned out to be mid December). My goal was to create tasty treats that were freezer friendly so that once she was born, and people came to visit I could just bust them out of the freezer. It turned out these truffles froze exceptionally well. I only froze them for about a month, so I didn’t test beyond that. You can defrost them in the fridge if planning to have a little later or on the counter if you would like them sooner. These truffles are also perfect for Holiday events and gift giving. Pop them into mini paper cups and your good to go! Check out the recipe below:

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Nutella Truffles

Nutella Truffles

(makes 24 truffles)

Ingredients:

2 cups (2 oz) cornflakes

½ cup hazelnuts, toasted & skinned, plus 24 hazelnuts, toasted & skinned. *Note: I buy hazelnuts pre-skinned. I find skinning them messy and a pain in the butt.

½ cup (3 ½ oz) sugar

3 tbsp unsalted butter

¼ cup whole milk

1 tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa powder

¾ cup Nutella

Directions:

  1. Make foil sling for 13 x 9-inch baking pan. Spray aluminum foil with vegetable oil spray. (or just rub vegetable oil on it)
  2. Pulse cornflakes in food processor until finely ground, about 10 pulses; transfer to bowl. Process ½ cup hazelnuts in food processor to fine crumbs, about 15 seconds. Spread processed hazelnuts in shallow dish and set aside.
  3. Microwave sugar and butter in bowl, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth, about 45 seconds. Whisk in milk and cocoa until combined. Whisk in Nutella until fully incorporated. Stir in finely ground cornflakes. Transfer mixture to prepared pan and press firmly into even layer with greased spatula. Freeze, uncovered, until firm, about 10 minutes.
  4. Using foil overhang, lift chilled Nutella mixture out of pan and transfer to cutting board. Cut 24 pieces, then mold each 1 whole hazelnut to encase completely. Roll truffles in processed hazelnuts to coat and transfer to platter. Freeze, uncovered, until firm, about 10 minutes. Serve, or store in refrigerator until serving time.

How to skin hazelnuts: Transfer the hot, toasted hazelnuts to the centre of a dish towel. Fold the towel around the hazelnuts to seal them inside: then rub them together in the towel to scrape off as much brown skin as possible. Once you open the towel, you will see that the skins have come away from the hazelnuts. Its fine if some small patches of skin still remain.

Recipe excerpt, Americas Test Kitchen “Christmas Cookies, 64 Foolproof Recipes, from Classics to New Favourites”, 2013.

Happy Baking! XO

Ricardo Best Cookies Holiday Magazine

Ricardo is the popular Canadian chef behind Ricardo and friends and Ricardo that aired on The Food Network Canada. Sadly they no longer air it on The Food Network along with other fantastic cooking shows that once aired (Food Network Canada completely changed and it absolutely sucks now) But Ricardo has reemerged with a new magazine as well as multiple appearances on Cityline, Toronto and it’s fantastic! I picked up this Holiday special that is full of beautifully illustrated festive cookies. I have yet to try any but below are a couple of my favourite pictures and recipes in this collectors magazine. Go pick up your copy today!