Toad-in-a-Hole

Isn’t it amazing how food can evoke a memory? An emotion? One bite can bring you right back to the place that you first tasted the delectable delight. So, it is for me and the infamous ‘toad-in-a-hole’.   I had my first taste in Australia. The trip of a lifetime with each moment solidly etched in my brain. My dear friend Catherine made them for us one morning at her home in Adelaide.

toad-in-a-hole

We grew up with what we referred to as ‘dunkin’ eggs’. We loved my mom’s basted eggs and loved dunking our toast in the runny yolks even more. At the risk of showing my slightly weird side, I like to eat the surrounding egg white first and then dive into the yolk. When I was little, I would take my fork and push down gently until the yolk squirted out. It was a test in pressure and fun to watch it burst. (Sometimes I still do that!)

I recently introduced my children to the ‘toad-in-a-hole’ and they LOVE it. My daughter asked for ‘toad-in-a-hole’ four nights in a row, for dinner! When asked what her favorite food is…you guessed it!  Toad-in-a-hole.  It is so simple and easy, and healthy too.

 

Here are my very basic steps for Toad-in-a-Hole:

Choose your bread.  You can use any variety you prefer. We have enjoyed with our standard whole wheat but have also delighted in the flavor of sourdough. Generously melt butter in cast iron pan and turn heat to medium-low.  Cut a hole in a slice of your choice of bread with a biscuit cutter or upside down glass.  Lay the bread in the pan.  I put the circle part in the pan too.  Let it toast a bit in the butter and then crack an egg in the hole you created in the slice of bread.  Salt and pepper to your liking.  Give it a good minute or so and then carefully flip so that the other side of the egg has a turn.  You can cook to your liking for the yolk, runny or all the way through or anywhere in between.  I also flip the circle here too so it gets nicely toasted on the other side.  Remove from pan and serve.

Side Note:  I have switched entirely to cast iron but you can use whatever pan you normally use to make eggs.  I swear food TASTES better and I can’t believe I didn’t make the switch sooner.  Old school is the way to go.  ;)

If you are looking for a new take on your egg and haven’t had the pleasure of this simple dish, I invite you to try it.

While names abound, I prefer to call it ‘toad-in-a-hole’ as it was first served to me by my kind and gracious Aussie friend.

Thanks Catherine – for bringing me back Down Under with a simple breakfast dish.  Cheers!

 

 

 

Brown Sugar Cookies

brown sugar cookie stacksI am a firm believer that any recipe that begins with melted butter ought to be good. It’s a law of nature.

I’ve been hoping to make these delectable Brown Sugar Cookies for a while now. That also seems to be a law of nature. Hoping. Waiting. Dreaming.

Alas, it is winter in Minnesota and it is quite possibly The Longest Winter of My Entire Life. We just received a whopping dollop of snow and I heard on the radio today that we can expect more tonight and tomorrow with “unseasonably cold temps with highs of 15-20 degrees” on Saturday.  *dies*

So, you see, cookies seemed to be an inevitable (and albeit DREADFUL) extension of the winter season here in jolly ol’ Minn-e-snow-ta.

Oh, yea…did I mention today is the first day of Spring?  According to the calendar. According to Mother Nature, as detailed above, it is still full-on WINTER. If you sense any anger or frustration in my tone, your senses are spot on. So, you can see why the Brown Sugar Cookies were baked. Oh.  Also because of the melted butter.  And the sugar. If you too are sick of winter, please join me in the unabashed art of Cookie-Monsteresque Cookie Devouring.

Due to our philosophy of “Go Big or Go Home” this is a double recipe.  Because one can never have too many cookies.

Brown Sugar Cookie Recipe

Adapted from Cookies and Cups

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 sticks (28 tablespoons) salted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups packed brown sugar (light or dark)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 Tbsp vanilla
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350° and line baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Heat butter in medium skillet over medium heat until melted. When butter melts slowly swirl the pan and continue to cook the butter until it becomes a nice, brown-caramel color. The swirling helps it from burning. Let cool for 15 minutes.
  • Whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a separate bowl and set aside.
  • When butter is cooled mix 2 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 cup sugar, and browned butter with electric mixer until no lumps remain, about 1 minute.
  • Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each one.  Add vanilla and mix until smooth.
  • Slowly add in your flour mixture and mix on medium-low until incorporated.
  • Combine remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup granulated sugar in a small bowl.
  • Roll cookie dough into balls and then roll in sugar mixture.
  • Place on lined baking sheet about 2 inches apart.
  • Bake approx 10-12 minutes or until edges begin to brown. Do not over-bake.
  • Transfer to wire rack to cool.

Christmas Kringler

So, the holidays have come and gone.  I should have posted this recipe a month ago BEFORE the holidays.  But, you see, I am just not always that on top of things.  Alas, the time must be right because this is when this post is taking place.  Now.  When I can think clearly and reflect on the wondrous creation that is Christmas Kringler, with nary a thought of gift wrapping or cookie baking to be found in my over-stimulated brain.

Kringler is a Scandinavian pastry and is, hands down, my all time favorite thing in the whole wide world.  It holds deep childhood memories for me, as it was tradition for my own dear mom to grace us with this delightful confection on Christmas morning.  My grandma made it for my mom, and my great-grandmother made it for my grandma.  I’m not exactly sure where the legacy begins.  I just know I love it and never want it to end.  So, I continue the legacy with my sweet family.  Kringler also contains the very same almond extract that always makes my heart go pitter-patter.  Oh almond extract!  Divine.  Delightful.  And did I mention that it’s IN the Kringler?  AND in the frosting?   Be still, my beating heart.  Without further ado, I introduce you to the renowned and glorious Christmas Kringler.

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Read through all directions before beginning, as there are three parts to the process.

But don’t be afraid.  It’s all very basic.  And DIVINE.

CHRISTMAS KRINGLER

Part 1

1 cup Flour
1/2 cup Butter, softened
1 Tbsp Water

Mix above ingredients like a pie crust.  Divide in half and pat onto cookie sheet in two long strips, roughly 3×14 inches.

Part 2

1 cup Water
1/2 cup Butter
1 cup Flour
3 Eggs
1/2 tsp Almond Extract

Place water and butter in saucepan.  Heat to boiling, remove from stove.  Add flour and stir until smooth.  Beat in 3 eggs, 1 at a time, until smooth.  Add almond extract.  Divide and spread over crusts.

Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.  Cool.

Frosting

2 cups Powdered Sugar
2 Tbsp Cream
2 Tbsp Butter, softened
1 tsp. Almond Extract

Add ingredients together and beat until smooth and spreadable.  (I use my KitchenAid mixer here.)

Divide in half and frost Kringler once Kringler has cooled.  Slice cross-wise into small rectangles.  Enjoy!

I like to enlist my husband to help with the mixing in of the eggs (one at a time) portion.  It gives him the satisfaction of helping and saves my arm from the heavy stirring.

I have also used milk when I did not have any cream and it works just fine for the frosting.

We even shared this with friends once as dessert.  Although, usually it holds its sacred spot of December 25th.

I invite you to try this recipe and if it feels right, to add it to your Christmas morning tradition.

Happy 2014!

P.S.  If you get the urge for Kringler throughout the year, try these Almond Meltaway Cookies.