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Holidays

Breakfast

Panettone French Toast

December 11, 2014

Each year growing up I looked forward to my favourite Italian Christmas treat – Panettone. A festive Italian sweet bread / cake studded with dried fruit and a hint of citrus. It’s one of my favourite memories of Christmas with my dads family. It signified the beginning of the holidays. We would only get to taste the sweet fluffy bread during the holidays – which meant that when I could get my hands on it I would easily devour 4 or 5 pieces. Unlike traditional Christmas fruit cakes, panettone is light and fluffy, with a hint of citrus and a sweet taste much like brioche. I’m not fond of fruitcake, unless it’s panettone.

As soon as I see the beautiful imported boxes of Panettone I get way too excited. I’ve even brought a panettone on an airplane to gift to someone  – yeah, I’m that person who brings a cake on a plane. 

We always did the big Italian Christmas Eve at my Nonnas – and you would always see the famous boxed panettone sitting on the counter waiting to be sliced for dessert. If we were lucky we might get some before dinner – but you wouldn’t want to spoil your appetite before the feast of seven fishes.

As a special treat we would add the faintest dust of icing sugar on top (though you really don’t need it). On Christmas morning my dad would slice the panettone at our house, and present it in star cut slices.

Now, as an adult I buy myself at least two panettone’ during the holidays. I may even buy another one to freeze for the future. While I love panettone on it’s own, I’ve also grown to love it as French toast for breakfast. It’s simply delicious – and easy to prep. I find it’s better than brioche because the bread is so airy light that the pieces of French toast are fluffy like a cloud even when cooked. It’s definitely a Christmas treat and would be an absolute favourite Christmas morning breakfast. Serve with a mimosa, maple syrup and fresh fruit.

T’is the season – so go ahead, eat panettone for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert!

Panettone French Toast
A christmas twist on the traditional favourite - thick slices of sweet panettone dunked in a vanilla-egg mixture and cooked until crisp.
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Ingredients
  1. 2 thick slices Panettone per person
  2. 2 eggs per slice (4 eggs for two people)
  3. dash of vanilla
  4. dash of cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Heat pan on medium heat with cooking spray/coconut oil/butter.
  2. In shallow baking dish whisk together eggs, vanilla and cinnamon.
  3. Add thick slices of panettone, allowing it to soak on each side for 2-3 minutes.
  4. Carefully lift slices out of baking dish and into pre-heated pan. The panettone can be quite 'mushy' at this stage, so I suggest lifting it with a spatula/egg flipper.
  5. Cook each side of the panettone for 3-4 minutes on medium-low. You want the outside to be crisp, and the inside to be cooked but not soggy.
  6. Serve with real maple syrup and fresh fruit.
Notes
  1. Best if eaten the same day.
b a k e a h o l i c http://www.bakeaholic.ca/
Christmas, Holidays

O Christmas Tree

December 3, 2013

our tree

This past weekend Adam and I began a new Christmas tradition that I hope we keep up each year.

We drove up to Squamish (which is a small town just before Whistler, BC) to pick out and cut down our very first ‘real’ Christmas tree with his sister, brother-in-law and our adorable niece. If you live in the Vancouver Lower Mainland area you can obtain a free tree permit online.

auntie aisha

Seriously how cute is this picture of Adam and our niece hunting for a tree.

uncle

The past 3 years we had a fake tree because our old condo building did not allow for real trees due to fire hazards.

Truthfully, I haven’t had a real Christmas tree in 9 years.

Picking out the Christmas tree was always a tradition my Dad and I did together. We would go down to the Boy Scout’s tree sale or the local garden nursery to pick out a tree. I’m not sure why but it seemed that it was always just the two of us as I got a little older. I didn’t mind. 

My Dad was a landscaper and loved being outdoors. I can only imagine that putting up the Christmas tree was one of his favourite things about Christmas.

We had some pretty epic Christmas trees in the past, including one so large we had to tie it to the roof with twine only to hear it fall over and smash onto the glass coffee table in the middle of the night. I remember a few Christmas trees falling over in our living room.

My favourite tree my Dad and I picked out was something of a Charlie Brown tree. It was tall with a few sparse branches. We both loved it, however my mom was not a fan. We brought it home and put it up proudly.  

After Dad passed away it was difficult to go out and get our tree without him. Instead we had this sad mini white fibre optic tree ever since, which my brother decided it needed to ‘spin faster’ one year and broke the base. Then Adam and I had our fake skinny apartment tree. 

And now – we have a real live, 9-foot tall huge Christmas tree that we picked out and cut down ourselves. Just a warning – trees in the forest seem smaller than they do in your house. The tree is gigantic, even after trimming the top, bottom and sides. 

Right now it stands bare in our living room with a few lights on it – unfortunately I have a painful ear infection, cough and cold that is keeping me from decorating every inch of our house in Christmas decor. 

I kind of like it this way though – I feel as if I’m sitting in a forest.

Maybe we need to have more plants in the house.

What is your Christmas tradition? Are you a fake tree person? Or the real deal? Do you like to chop down your own tree? 

 

Valentine's Day

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

February 8, 2011

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I should be doing homework right now. Lots of it. I have a lot of assignments and mid terms to get through this week before Adam and I jet off to Mexico! I am definitely in need of a vacation right about now. But, I just had to make these chocolate dipped strawberries in honour of Valentine’s Day. I had made them last year, but like this year Adam and I won’t be home for Valentine’s Day so I wanted to make them in advance. Actually, last year he was in Mexico and I was here, and this year we will both be in Mexico for Valentine’s day, together! This is a great little treat that looks like it took a long time to create. You can package them up in three’s or four’s and hand them out to someone special. They look really cute in a little take along bag as well. There are also step-by-step photo’s on my other post from last year as well.

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I decided to do a few variations this year, pistachio, almond and coconut. As well as the traditional chocolate drizzled ones. The almond ones I made were good, but they were a tad too big to go on the strawberries and while they were yummy, weren’t exactly camera friendly haha. There are lots of combination’s you could try. It doesn’t take long at all and can be made a day before hand, but it’s best if their eaten the same day as the bottoms begin to get soggy. This time I made them and then stuck each one on a cutting board lined with a silicone baking sheet in the fridge after I dipped them one by one. That way they keep cold while you make the next one.

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These are super easy, and really lovely for valentine’s day. Perfect for someone with a sweet tooth, but also healthy too! (right.. I mean, there is fruit involved!) Alright, I better get back to studying! But please make these, they’re so easy and delicious. Or if you’re up for a challenge, try my honey chocolate cupcakes!

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Chocolate Covered Strawberries:

  • 1-2 pkg Strawberries
  • 1 cup Melting Chocolate (dark or milk)
  • 1/2 cup White Melting Chocolate
  • 1/2 cup medium shredded coconut (optional)
  • 1/4 cup crushed pistachios (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place dark chocolate into a double broiler, and simmer on low. Allow the chocolate to melt completely and transfer to a glass bowl. Allow to cool slightly. ( I always place a glass mixing bowl over the pot, and then transfer the bowl to a hot plate). Alternatively, microwave on 20 second intervals until soft and melted.
  2. Do the same with the white chocolate. Then pour the white chocolate into a piping bag, and snip off a tiny bit. You can also reserve some white chocolate to dip the strawberries into as well.
  3. Wash the strawberries and dry them completely. You’ll want them slightly cool, to help cool the chocolate faster. Dip them one by one into the melted chocolate and place onto a tray, lined in parchment paper or saran wrap or silicone baking mat. Once you’ve finished all of them place the tray into the fridge to harden the chocolate. I placed them into the fridge one by one onto the tray so they would cool faster and harden while I made the others.
  4. You can if you like also dip them/roll them/or sprinkle them with coconut after you have dipped them into the chocolate.
  5. Once they have set, using the white chocolate piping bag, drizzle the white chocolate over the dark and place back into the fridge.
  6. Once they have set completely, you can package them up and give them to someone special!