Cheesy Sausage and Green Chile Overnight Breakfast Casserole

Over Easter weekend my sister made a breakfast casserole that everyone loved, especially my husband.  So when we got back home I decided to make it again as a special weekend breakfast.  Instead of making a full batch I halved it and made individual casseroles.  You could easily make this batch in an 11×7 or maybe even a deep 8×8.  Or you can follow the original recipe and do it in a 9×13.  Whichever way you choose you will have a really satisfying and hearty breakfast on your table with very little effort.

Cheesy Sausage Breakfast Casserole-2

Of course you can leave out the green chiles, or use more or less than called for depending on how spicy you like things.  You can also adjust the cheese and sausage to taste.  I found this to be super cheesy, which I love.  This combination of mozzarella and sharp cheddar is great, but use what you have or what you like.  I used a turkey breakfast sausage, but again, use what you like.  I love dishes like this that are very forgiving and easily adapted.

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Cheesy Sausage Breakfast Casserole-5

This makes 8-10 individual casseroles depending on the size of your ramekins.  Be sure to bake them on a rimmed baking sheet just in case they spill.  Mine did not, but better safe than sorry.

The measurements and instructions below might frustrate you if you thrive on precision in the kitchen.  Since this was my first time making this and I was working from measurements for a larger dish I had to adjust as I worked.  I started off with 4 eggs and 3/4 cup of sour cream and as I was filling up the dishes I realized I was not going to have enough, so I whisked in another egg and a bit more sour cream.  I included that adjustment in the recipe.  But since we likely do not have the same ramekins, your definition of “a sprinkle” is different than mine, and I may tend to be heavy-handed when is comes to sausage you may find that you have too much or maybe that you didn’t have quite enough of something.  I wrote the ingredient list with the motto, “Better too much than not enough” but please let me know if you found any ingredient to be way off.

Cheesy Sausage Breakfast Casserole


Cheesy Sausage and Green Chile Overnight Breakfast Casserole

From Allrecipes

Makes 8-10 individual casseroles


  • 8 to 10 ounces breakfast sausage, cooked
  • 3 or 4 plain english muffins
  • 1 to 2 cups shredded cheddar
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1 cup low fat sour cream
  • 5 eggs
  • 2-3 tablespoons chopped green chiles


  1. Spray ramekins with cooking spray and arrange on a rimmed baking sheet lined with a dish towel (this will keep them from sliding around).
  2. Butter the inside of each halved english muffin and then cut each half into about 12 chunks.  Add enough chunks to just about cover the bottom of the ramekin, for me this was about 6.  Squish them in there so they make a nice layer, but err on the side of too few since they will expand once they soak up the egg mixture.  Repeat with all of the ramekins.
  3. Whisk together the eggs, sour cream and green chiles and set aside.
  4. Divide the sausage between the dishes, sprinkle generously with a little of both cheeses (leave a little extra), then pour some egg mixture on top.  Pour just enough of the egg mixture to reach the top of the dish.  Sprinkle with a little more cheese.  Repeat with all the dishes.  Cover the entire pan with a sheet of foil and move (carefully) to the fridge to sit for 8-12 hours.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°F.  Remove the dish towel from the baking sheet, line with foil and arrange ramekins back on the pan.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until cheese begins to brown and there’s just a slight jiggle to the egg.  Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Caramel Filled Pecan Brownies

While I was with my family recently, one of my sisters mentioned that she was perusing the blog and came across a recipe with some horrendous photographs.  There are lots of these posts.  I haven’t taken them down, and I don’t plan to.  Even though running across them is like finding old college pics that someone else posted on facebook from a night you kind of want to forget, I’m keeping them up.  One of the main reasons is that many of them are good recipes!  But we all know that the world of food blogging requires more than just a good recipe.  You’d better have some pictures that make people want to make the recipe.  I don’t know about you, but these pictures make me want caramel filled brownies.

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Caramel Filled Brownies-7I decided that I would make a little project out of going back through some of my old posts that have really great recipes and re-doing them, without taking the old ones down.  It’s fun to see how far I’ve come in taking pictures of food, writing about the food, and I even think I’ve become a better baker and cook in the past 8 years or so that I’ve had this blog.  Here is the old post for these brownies.  It was just about 6 and a half years ago.  These pictures were taken in our little apartment in China Spring while I was teaching school and Ben was in law school.  Things are pretty different for us now!

Caramel Filled Brownies

This recipe is from The Pastry Queen.  It’s a great cookbook.  Everything is delicious.  If you’ve read my blog before you’ve likely heard me (if you can “hear” something in writing) sing its praises.  I only changed one thing from the original recipe, and that was to use a bag of those caramel bits instead of unwrapping a bunch of caramels.  It worked out just fine.

I highly advise cutting these cold from the fridge and even eating them cold is a great idea.  However, warming one briefly in the microwave and topping it with a little vanilla ice cream isn’t a bad way to enjoy these brownies.

Caramel Filled Brownies-4

Caramel Filled Pecan Brownies

From The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather


  • 1 1/2 cups pecan pieces
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package (11 ounces) caramel bits
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Toast pecans for about 8 minutes, until they are fragrant but before they begin to get too dark.  Break apart any large pieces and set them aside.
  3. Line a 9- by 13-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving some overhang. Grease foil generously with shortening.  Set aside.
  4. Combine butter and chocolate in a medium-sized heavy saucepan and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth.  Do not let it burn.  Transfer chocolate to a large bowl and let cool for a few minutes.  Add in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla, and mix (with a whisk, hand mixer or a stand mixer) until thick and glossy. (
  5. Whisk or stir in flour and salt. Transfer half of batter (about 2 cups) to baking pan and spread evenly, sprinkle half of the pecans over the batter and bake for 20 minutes. Let cool for about 20 minutes.
  6. Once the brownies cool, melt caramels and cream in a medium-sized heavy saucepan and stir over low heat until completely melted and smooth.  Immediately spread caramel mixture over baked brownies.  Pour remaining brownie batter evenly over caramel mixture and spread gently to cover, being careful not to mix up the brownie and caramel layers.
  7. Sprinkle chocolate chips and remaining pecans on top and bake for 20 minutes. Cool, then transfer to the fridge for at least a few hours.
  8. Lift brownies out of the pan by lifting the foil.  Remove the foil carefully, bring sure to get all of it off, especially around the edges and the corners where the caramel will stick. Cut brownies into squares.  Serve at room temp or cold.  Store in an airtight container in the fridge.


Cardamom Easter Bread

Right now as I write this post I am snacking on some of this bread warm from the toaster with my afternoon coffee.  It’s such a treat and I want you to experience the same pleasure.  So do yourself a favor and go make this bread for the weekend!

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Sometimes I hit a wall when I’m writing a blog post.  I am having that experience now with this post.  Big time.  My mind is just a big foggy mess and when I sit down at the computer my hands freeze.  For some reason I feel like I should have something to say other than, “I made this.  It was delicious.  Here is the recipe.”  But that’s all I have!


I made this.

Easter Bread

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Easter Bread-3

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Easter Bread-6

Easter Bread-7

It was delicious.

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Easter Bread-9

Here is the recipe.

Hope you all have a very Happy Easter celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ!

Cardamom Easter Bread

Makes 2 loaves, 1 loaf and 4 buns, or 8 buns


  • 2 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) melted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 envelopes (4 1/2 teaspoons) dry active yeast
  • 8-9 cups all purpose flour
  • eggs, one for each bun you plan to make (colored with egg coloring and RAW) and one for the egg wash
  • sprinkles


  1. Heat milk over medium-low heat until bubbles form on the edges of the pan and the milk is steaming.  Turn off the heat. Stir in melted butter, sugar, salt, ground cardamom and nutmeg.  Let mixture cool until lukewarm, 100-110°F. Stir in the yeast and let sit for about 10 minutes until foamy. Pour mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer.
  2. Add 2 cups of flour and mix on low with the dough hook until flour is mixed in.  Add 2 more cups, mix, and repeat until you’ve added 8 cups total.  Turn the mixer up to medium and mix for 3-4 minutes.  If the dough does not pull away from the sides of the bowl add more flour, 1/4 cup at a time, until it does.
  3. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead a bit, then place in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about an hour.
  4. Punch dough down and place on a floured surface.  Divide in half.  For Bread: Divide a half into thirds and roll each third into a rope about 14 inches long.  Pinch ends together and then braid the ropes together, pinch the ends together and tuck the ends under.  Place on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover and let rise for an hour.  For Buns: Divide the half into 4 pieces, then each piece in half.  Take those pieces and roll them into ropes about 10 inches long.  Pinch the ends together and twist the pieces together, then pinch the ends and connect the ends by pinching them together.  Repeat with the rest and place all 4 buns on a parchment lined baking sheet, cover and let rise for about an hour.
  5. Preheat oven to 375°F.  Beat an egg and brush onto buns or loaves.  Sprinkle with colored sprinkles if desired.  Place egg in the center of each bun.  Bake for 20-25 minutes for buns and 25-30 minutes for bread.


Daring Bakers: Tarte Tatin

This is one of those classic desserts that I can’t believe I haven’t made before!  Thanks again, Daring Bakers, for getting me to try something new and delicious.  And so beautiful!



 For the March Daring bakers’ challenge, Korena from Korena in the Kitchen taught us that some treats are best enjoyed upside down. She challenged us to make a tarte tatin from scratch.

Since I of course didn’t make this until 2 days before the posting date and I am off to visit family for the weekend I am going to keep this post pretty short.  The recipe worked wonderfully well and I had no issues whatsoever.  I would do it all the same the next time around.

Except for the apples.  Mine were HUGE and I used the recommend 6 called for and had a bunch left over.  You want more apples than the pan can hold since they do cook down, but I had probably 2 apples worth of slices left.  That being said, I’d rather have too much than not enough.

The recipe for the pastry is easy and bakes up so flaky I know I’ll be making it again.  I can’t believe I almost cheated and used a frozen puff pastry!



The caramel is a time consuming but fun project!  Forgive these photos, but I thought it would be helpful to see the process.  If I didn’t know the stages the sugar would go through I would’ve thought something was going terribly wrong.  So, no need to worry when the sugar gets all nasty and clumpy and looks like nothing good can come from it.  Something very good is coming.  Just keep stirring and be patient.


The apples get wonderfully soft in the rich caramel.  A scoop of plain vanilla bean ice cream is the perfect accompaniment to this rich dessert.




After arranging the apples and letting them cool a bit, place the crust on top and bake.  I wasn’t supposed to let the tarte cool all the way before unmolding, so I was worried that it wouldn’t come out cleanly.  I warmed the pan on the stove very breifly and it came out perfectly.




This is a beautiful dessert, perfect for impressing your guests!  Or perfect to make for yourself and your baked good-loving toddler when your husband has gone out of town…




Tarte Tatin



  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2/3 cup ( 5 ounces) unsalted butter, cold
  • ¼ tsp fine salt
  • ¼ cup ice cold water


  1. Pulse flour, butter and salt in a food processor until butter is in pea sized pieces.
  2. Stream in the water until the dough just comes together.
  3. Turn out on a floured surface and press together into a square.
  4. Roll into a 10 inch rectangle.  Fold the top third of the dough down and the bottom third up so that you have 3 layers.  Rotate 1/4 turn and repeat this process 4 more times.
  5. Wrap in plastic and refrigerate at least one hour, but up to a day.



  • 4 large or 5-6 medium-sized apples (I used Granny Smith)
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1-1/3 cups granulated sugar, divided
  • pinch salt


  1. Peel the apples and cut them into 4-6 pieces depending on the size of the apples. Remove the cores in such a way that each apple quarter has a flat inner side: when placed rounded-side-up, it should sit on a flat base. Place the apples in a large bowl and toss with the lemon juice and 1/3 cup sugar. This will help draw out some of the moisture from the apples and prevent an overly runny caramel. Set aside for 15 minutes.
  2. Melt the butter in a very heavy, 9” or 10″ oven-proof saucepan over medium heat, then sprinkle with the remaining 1 cup sugar. Stir with a whisk until the sugar melts and becomes a pale, smooth caramel. The sugar will seem dry and chunky at first, then will start to melt and smooth out. If the butter appears to separate out from the caramel, just keep whisking until it is a cohesive sauce.  This can be a long process, but it eventually works! Remove from the heat.
  3. Preheat oven to 375F.  Discard the liquid that has come out of the apples, then add the apple quarters to the caramel, round side down. They won’t all fit in a single layer at first, but as they cook they will shrink a bit. Cook over medium heat for 10-15 minutes, pressing down gently on the apples with a spoon to cover them in the caramel liquid. Move the apples around the pan gently so that they all cook evenly, trying to keep them round side down. When the apples have shrunk enough to mostly fit in a single layer and are starting to soften but still keep their shape, remove the pan from the heat.
  4. With a wooden spoon, arrange the apples, round side down, in a single layer of concentric circles covering the bottom of the pan. Set aside until the filling stops steaming before covering with pastry.
  5. Remove the pastry from the fridge, roll it out on a lightly floured surface, and trim it into a circle about 1″ in diameter larger than your saucepan. Lay it over the filling, tucking in the edges between the apples and the sides of the pan, and cut a few steam vents in the pastry. Place the saucepan on a rimmed baking sheet (just in case the filling decides to bubble over the sides) and place in the preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes, then increase the heat to 400°F for 5 minutes.  Keep and eye on it so it doesn’t get too dark.
  6. Remove from the oven and let sit just until the caramel stops bubbling. Immediately place a serving platter (slightly larger in diameter than the saucepan) over the pastry. Wearing oven mitts, grab hold of the saucepan and platter and quickly invert everything to unmold the Tatin onto the platter. If any of the apples stick to the pan or come out of place, rearrange them with a spatula.
  7. The tarte can be served warm from the oven or at room temperature. Suggested accompaniments include vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, or crème fraîche.


Brussels Sprout Salad with Pine Nuts and Cherries

I’ve made this salad twice now.  It’s so delicious.  These pictures don’t do it justice, but trust me.  Yum!  It’s a great change of pace from the typical spring mix salad that graces out table most nights.

Brussels Sprout Salad with Pine Nuts and Cherries | Hottie Biscotti

Many side items can be made in advance, but this one requires you to make it ahead of time!  This is great for me.  I do a lot of dinner prep (or at least I try to) during nap time, and having part of the meal totally completed early in the day puts a little spring in my step.  It’s the little things, you guys!

The first time I made this I used pistachios and cherries, and this last time I used pine nuts and cherries.  Both variations were great, just depends on what you have and what you like.  You could easily leave out the nuts, use something else, and even replace the cherries with cranberries.  I wouldn’t use anything other than the parmesan, though.  The flavor is perfect with the brussels and it has a great texture that other cheeses lack.  Any hard cheese will do.  Make sure to grate it on the large holes of your grater.

The recipe is from a Test Kitchen Best of 2015 magazine I picked up at the grocery store.  The original recipe feeds 8, so I cut it in half.  While I could sit and eat the entire bowl of this by myself, it will feed 4 as a side dish.  The first time around my husband and I ate it as a side 2 nights in a row.  This last time I made it I ate it for lunch a couple days.  You need to let the salad marinate for a few hours so that the brussels soften a bit.  It is best the day it’s made, but this will last for a couple days in the fridge.

Brussels Sprout Salad with Pine Nuts and Cherries | Hottie Biscotti


Take the time to thinly slice the brussels.  Put some good music on or put something good on tv (may I suggest the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt?!) and get to work with your paring knife.  Sometimes tedious work like this is therapeutic for me.  Other than that, there isn’t too much work to be done.  I made the dressing in a mini food processor, eliminating the need to finely chop the shallot and garlic.

This is a great spring salad with lots of ways to make it your own.  Enjoy!

Brussels Sprout Salad with Pine Nuts and Cherries | Hottie Biscotti

Brussels Sprout Salad with Pine Nuts and Cherries

From America’s Test Kitchen Best of 2015


  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • 1/2 shallot
  • 1/2 garlic clove
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound Brussels sprouts, ends trimmed, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries, chopped
  • 1/4- 1/2 cup coarsely grated Parmesan


  1. In a mini food processor combine garlic and shallot and finely chop.  Add in the lemon juice, mustard and olive oil and pulse a few times.  Season with salt and pepper.
  2. In a large bowl toss the Brussels with the dressing, cover and refrigerate for at least an hour.  Before serving toss in the pine nuts, cherries and Parmesan.

Pie for Pi Day: Blueberry Cream Cheese Streusel Mini Pies

I’m jumping on the Pi day bandwagon!  And why not?  Any excuse to make pie.  And I also happen to love dates that have some numerical-mathematical significance.  3-14-15 and 3.1415!  It’s amazing!  And tasty.


And oh my goodness.  These sweet little pies are magical.  The best way I can describe them is to compare them to those Duncan Hines boxed mix blueberry muffins with the can of blueberries and the streusel topping.  Making those is one of earliest memories I have of baking something on my own.  If you haven’t ever had them before you are missing something special.


These came into being so perfectly.  I had a frozen pie crust (this recipe from Smitten Kitchen), a can of blueberry pie filling (don’t judge), a half package of cream cheese and some leftover frozen streusel from kolaches (this recipe).  All of that came together to make something so incredible that I will be making these again without changing a thing.

Aside from making the pie crust there isn’t much work to do.

Prepare the crusts.


Spread with cream cheese.








You could make this in a regular pie plate, but these mini pie pans are a generous individual size and I really liked the way the pies baked in them.  After the pies cooled they were very easily removed from the pans.  They seem pricey, but are worth it.  They’d be great for pot pies, too.


Go enjoy Pi day and have a great weekend!

Blueberry Cream Cheese Streusel Mini Pies


  • 1 unbaked pie crust for a 9-inch pie
  • 5 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 can blueberry pie filling

For Streusel

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 3 tablespoons butter, chilled


  1. Make streusel: Use a pastry blender to combine sugar, flour and butter.  Chill.
  2. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  3. Divide the pie crust into 4 pieces, roll each piece out into a circle that fits into the pan.  Trim the edges.  Freeze for 20 minutes.
  4. Beat cream cheese and 1 1/2 tablespoons of sugar together until well combined.  Spread cream cheese mixture into the bottom of each pie.
  5. Top with blueberry filling.
  6. Top with streusel.
  7. Place pies on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 350F and bake for another 10-15 minutes until the crusts and tops are golden brown.  If they brown too quickly top with a sheet of foil.
  8. Let cool and then serve warm or room temp with vanilla ice cream.



Crunchy Coconut and Oat Bars

Sometimes you just need to bake something.  Maybe the weather is dreary, you’ve had a bad day, or, if you’re anything like me, you just need a project that has a beginning and an end and tangible (and edible!) results because no other task you’ve attempted that day has been successfully completed.  You want something quick with very little prep and a short bake time so that you don’t have to wait long to enjoy the fruits of your labor.  These oatmeal bars meet every one of those qualifications AND they’re delicious.  They remind me a lot of the oat and honey Nature Valley bars.  Drizzle on some melted chocolate chips to make them a bit fancier, but they are really good just on their own.

Crunchy Coconut and Oat Bars | Hottie Biscotti

This recipe is from a cookbook I have baked from a lot, but it’s been a while, Rebecca Rather’s Pastry Queen.  It is one of my favorite dessert cookbooks.  Most of you probably scrounge around on the internet for recipes, like I do.  But then you browse an old cookbook and find a real gem and you tell yourself you’ll do it more often.  But you somehow find yourself going back to the computer or pinterest the next time.  I urge you to go to your cookbooks!  I have so many of them, some I have never even cooked from.  And that’s a shame.  I vow to do more cooking from physical cookbooks.  You should join me.  Back to the bars.

Crunchy Coconut and Oat Bars | Hottie Biscotti

If you bake at all, then you have everything you need for these bars.  They come together in a snap and bake up in a mere 20 minutes.  After cooling they are very crunchy, so slicing them is really more like sawing or chopping.  If you’re not so concerned with appearance you can just break them apart into pieces.  Those pieces might be amazing along with a bowl of vanilla ice cream…and some hot fudge…

Crunchy Coconut and Oat Bars | Hottie Biscotti

Crunchy Coconut and Oat Bars | Hottie Biscotti

Crunchy Coconut and Oat Bars

From The Pastry Queen


  • 1 stick butter
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup sweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 9×13 pan.
  2. Melt butter, brown sugar and corn syrup over medium heat.  Stir until sugar dissolves, 1 to 2 minutes.  Remove from the heat.
  3. In a large bowl stir together oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and coconut.  Pour melted butter over and stir to combine thoroughly.
  4. Press firmly into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Cool for 20 minutes before cutting into bars.
  6. Melt chocolate and drizzle over bars or dip them.



Caramel Chocolate Chip and Pretzel Cookies

At my bi-weekly trip to Target I found a bag of Nestle chocolate chips that are filled with caramel!  Of course I bought them.  There was no other choice.  They played a big part in making these chocolate chip cookies super delicious.


I’ve had the recipe for Big and Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies marked in my Test Kitchen Family Cookbook for a while now. I’m not sure why it took me so long to make them. I finally made them when I needed a quick dessert to include with a meal for a friend who just had a baby. The casserole I made for them was really simple, quick, delicious AND kid friendly.  I’ll have to share that one soon.


Along with the heavenly filled chips I added some crushed up pretzels to these cookies.  They didn’t stand out in flavor but definitely added a different texture to the cookies which made them extra special.  These are truly thick and chewy chocolate chip cookies, so if you’re looking for a thin variety look here or here.

One thing I love about these cookies is that you don’t have to soften butter! You just have to melt it.  This makes the interior of the cookie chewy.  I also love the extra yolks, for two reasons. One, it makes the cookie soft and tender. Two, I have extra whites ready to add in to my scrambled eggs.  I hate using just the whites and throwing away the yolks.  So this way I get to use the whole egg and not be wasteful.  Win-win.

The base of this cookie is just begging for some different mix-ins.  What are your favorite things to add in to your chocolate chip cookies?


Caramel Chocolate Chip and Pretzel Cookies

From America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook



Daring Bakers: Baked Pork Siopao

I do not know where these tasty meat pockets have been all my life!  When I first saw this challenge at the beginning of the month I was a little bummed since I much prefer sweet to savory when doing a Daring Bakers challenge.  But I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome and I encourage you to try these.  You won’t be disappointed.  Especially with the meat!  I would’ve eaten it plain from the pot and not even have made the dough if I didn’t have a post to write!  It is very, very good.


The February Daring Bakers’ challenge is hosted by Julie of One-Wall Kitchen. She challenged us to an easy, simple filled bun using no-knead dough.

These siopao make a great meal.  You can make them ahead of time and all you need is a side of veggies and you’re good to go.  While these are traditionally steamed, this version is baked.

As I said before, the meat is to die for.  So good.  For real.  My house smelled heavenly while it baked.  DO NOT leave out the star anise!  It’s subtle but adds so much.  I scored 2 in the bulk section of my grocery store for $0.20!


After a slow roast, chop it up and return it to the juice for an overnight mingling of flavor.  This may not be totally necessary, but I think it made the meat more flavorful and juicy.  Lots of fat will harden on top if you chill it, so remove what you can (this was tricky and disgusting for me so I gave up quickly) then slowly heat it just to get everything back to a nice juicy state.  Drain the meat and onion and reserve the juice.  It makes for a crazy good sauce later.  Also, a nice layer of fat will form on top of the reserved juice.  Remove it or pour the juice slowly into your saucepan and the fat should stay in the container.  Sorry for all the fat talk.


Almond Heart Danish with Browned Butter Glaze

Grand plans were made to post some lovely pink hued macarons in honor of Valentine’s Day!  In my mind they were beautiful and delicious and enviable.  How hard could macarons be, anyway?  I’m pretty knowledgeable when it comes to baking.  I’d say I’m an advanced amateur.  And I’m seeing macarons everywhere.  If all of those people can make them, then I can.  You know what happens when you start thinking like that?  You get humbled.  Big time.  I overestimated my kitchen abilities and wound up with some cracked and foot-less macarons.  Apparently macaron baking is a skill that requires practice.  Hats off to those of you who make them well.  You have my respect forever and always.  So I will keep working on my macaron making.  Maybe some day you’ll see a post on them!  That is if I don’t get too discouraged and give up.  Sometimes I do that…


Instead of finicky macarons I went with something I am more comfortable and familiar with, pastry!  This would make a lovely Valentine’s breakfast.  You can bake it the day before and then just warm it up in the oven briefly before glazing.  You could also let it do the second rise overnight in the fridge and bake it in the morning.