Monday, April 17, 2017

Spring-y Treats and Sweets

This was the first year in my 26 years of existence that we didn't take an Easter picture. It honestly just goes to show how busy our lives are nowadays. It's sad and scary how fast life moves the older we get. I know, at least for me, pictures help me remember the details. The things we couldn't possibly remember unless we had captured that moment, like my brothers bold cuts, or the dog I grew up with, or that awkward stage when I realized I had one eyebrow, or Christmas morning in our robes, or Dad's perm (or maybe we could). A picture is honestly worth a thousand words. Take pictures people, don't regret those moments you didn't capture. 

Now onto the blog post, which has absolutely nothing to do with the above statement but has everything to do with FOOD. I may not have taken pictures of people but I did capture four delicious recipes we made this year including fruity pebble and captain crunch french toast, lemon bars, bread pudding and peanut butter Easter eggs. 

Fruity Pebble and Captain Crunch French Toast 

16-18 slices Texas toast
8 eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
1 T. vanilla extract
2 t. cinnamon
4 c. crushed captain crunch OR 4 c. fruity pebbles (did not crush)

If you're doing the captain crunch french toast, pour the cereal onto a sheet pan and use a rolling pan to crush the cereal into a "dust-like" powder or tiny pieces
Combine eggs, milk, extract and cinnamon
Drench each side of the bread quickly in mixture (do not let sit)
Push each side of the bread into your desired cereal, coating each side
On medium high heat, butter your skillet and cook each side until lightly browned

This was a toss up for favorites with my family. As much as I love my fruity pebbles, captain crunch stole the show for me. You'll have to try this recipe to find out which one would be yours!!

Magnolia Bakery Bread Pudding

One 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk 
1 1/2 Ice cold milk 
One 3.4 package instant vanilla pudding 
3 c. heavy cream 
One 12 oz. box Nilla Wafers 
4 c. sliced ripe bananas 

In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat together sweetened condensed milk and water for about 1 minute
Add pudding mixture, beat well (about 3 min.)
Cover and refrigerate for 3-4 hours or overnight 
In the bowl of a standing mixer, whisk heavy cream on medium speed until soft peaks form
Gently fold pudding mixture into heavy cream (no streaks of pudding remaining)
Use a truffle bowl or lasagna dish to assemble
First layer 1/3 Nilla Wafers, then 1/3 bananas, then 1/3 pudding mix
Repeat layer twice more, garnishing with extra bananas, Nilla wafers and wafer crumbs

Magnolia Bakery Lemon Bars
*this recipe took about 4 lemons 

Crust Ingredients:
2 c. unsalted butter softened (4 sticks)
4 c. all purpose flour 
1 c. powdered sugar 
1/2 t. salt
2 t. grated lemon zest

Topping Ingredients:
2 c. sugar 
6 eggs at room temp.
1 c. lemon juice 
6 t. grated lemon zest 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease a 12x18 jelly pan 
To make crust, in standing mixer on low speed, combine all ingredients until it becomes coarse crumbs
Form the dough into a ball
Spread crust into prepared pan, using a piece of wax paper to press firmly to bottom of pan
Bake 18-20 minutes 
Remove from oven and let cool for 15-20 minutes 
To make topping, in a standing mixture on low speed, beat sugar, eggs, lemon juice and zest until combined
Pour over warm (not hot) crust
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the topping has set (basically it has a very slight jiggle to it)
Remove from oven, let cool for 20 minutes
Dust with confectioner sugar and allow to cool to room temp, or overnight before cutting

Easter Eggs
(makes 2 1/2 lb. of candy Easter eggs)
You may be skeptical of adding mashed potatoes to your "candy" but this recipe has been in my family for over 40 years and people still beg for us to bring it every year.

Easter Egg Ingredients:
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 lb. powdered sugar
1/2 c. mashed potatoes
1 t. vanilla extract
This mixture makes basic vanilla eggs, if you want peanut butter add 1/4 c. peanut butter to one cup of the above mixture

Chocolate Coating Ingredients:
1 c. semi sweet chocolate chips
1/2 t. canola oil

For peanut butter eggs, peel and then boil potatoes in salted water until soft
Drain and mash potatoes
Measure 1/2 c. mashed potatoes
Blend softened butter with potatoes and let stand until cold
Add sugar and vanilla to mixture
Add peanut butter (if you'd like to make the peanut butter version) and blend until creamy
Mold into desired shapes (Easter egg) and chill for one hour
For chocolate coating, mix 1/2 t. canola oil into chocolate chips in microwave in 10 sec. increments until melted
Dip chilled candy eggs into chocolate mixture or drizzle over top
Drain and place on waxed paper to harden and firm

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