Almond-Crusted French Toast with Raspberries

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Challah is the bread of choice here because it really absorbs the custard, creating an eggy, sweet version of French toast similar to the pain perdu of New Orleans. Crunchy almonds, fresh raspberries and fragrant orange zest bring this classic breakfast dish to a whole new level.

Serves 4

Ingredients:
6 eggs
1 cup half-and-half
2 Tablespoons sugar
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
3/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
8 thick slices challah or other egg bread, preferably day-old
Canola oil or clarified butter for cooking
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup  fresh raspberries
Pure maple syrup, for serving

Directions:
Preheat an oven to 350°F.

In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, sugar, orange zest, almond extract and vanilla. Add the bread to the egg mixture and turn gently to coat evenly. Let stand until the bread has soaked up some of the egg mixture, about 1 minute.

Preheat a griddle over medium heat until hot; a few drops of water flicked onto the surface should skitter across it. Lightly oil the griddle. Spread the almonds on a plate. Remove the bread, 1 piece at a time, from the egg mixture, letting the excess liquid drip back into the bowl. Dip one side of the bread into the almonds, pressing gently to help the nuts adhere, and place on an ungreased baking sheet.

Place the bread slices, almond side down, on the griddle and cook until the nuts begin to brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the slices and cook until golden brown on the other side, about 2 minutes more. Transfer the slices, almond side down, to a lightly oiled baking sheet. Transfer the baking sheet to the oven and bake until the center of the bread is heated through but is still moist, about 10 minutes.

Serve the French toast hot, almond side up, topped with a handful of raspberries and drizzled with maple syrup.

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor


Persian Fried Chicken Smothered in Peaches with Curry CousCous

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So what happens when I didn’t make it to the grocery store before the arctic polar vortex hits,  the East Coast region? Well, I was left to forage in the nether regions of my  refrigerator, freezer and pantry with such a diverse mix of ingredients.

And what happened was the creation of dish inspired by my Grand’s kitchen; the Sunday Chicken Smothered in Peaches.

So, my version of my Grands’s beloved chicken dish  is the perfect  marriage of multicultural cuisines from the Deep American South, North Africa, The Middle East and India:Persian Fried Chicken Smothered in Peaches and Almonds on a bed of Minted Curry Couscous. I think I out did myself with  this global fusion dish!

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Enjoy!

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor


Chocolate Almond Braid

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Similar to an almond crescent, this braided pastry creation is  so light and flaky, but is filled with a rich chocolate and  almond center. It is so versatile you can serve it for dessert, breakfast or brunch. It will taste as if it was made from scratch at a bakery, yet the packaged puff pastry makes the recipe quick and easy for both the novice and experienced home cook.  Your friends and family will be amazed by this delightful treat.

Enjoy!

Serves 12
(Makes 2 braids-6 slices each)

Ingredients:
For the Almond Paste Filling:
One 7-ounce  package of  almond paste
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 package of frozen puff pastry, thawed
Two 3.5-ounce Ghirardelli Intense Dark Hazelnut Heaven Bars*
1 medium egg, for the egg wash

For the Glaze:
3/4 cup plus 1 Tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
2 Tablespoons whole milk
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup sliced almonds,divided, toasted

Directions:
Place the almond paste, butter and sugar in a food processor; cover and pulse until chopped. Add 1 egg and flour; process until smooth.

Unfold puff pastry sheets onto a parchment lined greased baking sheet.

Spread half of the almond filling mixture down the center third of one pastry sheet. Place the chocolate bar in the center, cut diagonal lines along the left and right side of the chocolate bar about an inch apart.Remove the corner pieces.

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Starting from the top, fold down the flap then alternate right and left until you are close to the bottom.

Fold the bottom flap up and finish alternating between right and left. Pinch ends to seal. Tuck any extra puff pastry underneath.

Repeat with remaining pastry and filling.

Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with almond slices.Bake at 415°F / 213°C for 25 minutes or until golden brown.

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Remove to a wire rack.

Combine the confectioners’ sugar, milk and almond extract. Drizzle over braids; sprinkle with additional almonds. Cut into slices and serve.

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*Cook’s Note:
Feel free to  use your favorite chocolate bar in this recipe.
You can also omit the almond paste filling, if desired.

TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor