Baked Chai Spice-Vanilla French Toast

Baked Chai Spice-Vanilla French Toast

Good Sunday morning, baking gods and goddesses! Today’s recipe combines two personal favorites – French toast and the flavors of a vanilla chai latte – into one AMAZING breakfast dish. I wish I could claim this genius idea was my own, but credit goes to fellow blogger Savory Simple. Check out her blog for all things foodie-beautiful and delicious!


Yields: 6 servings

For the chai-spice mixture:

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

For the french toast:

  • 6 large fresh eggs
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1/3 to 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon + 1 teaspoon chai-spice mixture
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 loaf day-old French bread, chopped into 1-inch cubes

For the streusel topping:

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chai-spice mixture
  • Pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold + chopped into cubes
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the cinnamon, cardamom, allspice, ginger and cloves. Set aside.
  2. For the french toast, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon of the chai spice mixture in a medium bowl.
  3. Grease a medium-sized (8×8″ or similar) casserole or baking dish with the softened butter and layer the cubed bread inside, gently pressing it down. Briefly re-whisk the liquid ingredients and pour them evenly over the bread, taking care to cover all of the exposed bread. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes or as long as overnight to allow the mixture to absorb into the bread.
  4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350° Fahrenheit (175° Celsius). In a small bowl, combine the topping ingredients until crumbly.
  5. Uncover the baking dish and gently press the bread down evenly until the liquid begins seeping up. Spread the topping evenly over the bread. Bake for 45 minutes until the top is golden and crunchy.
  6. Allow to cool for several minutes, then slice and serve.

Molasses Cookies

Molasses Cookies1

I’m so pleased to share this recipe for my absolute favorite cookie! I’m a bit of a cookie aficionado (translate: I eat a lot of them), and nothing homemade or store-bought has ever compared to my grandmother’s recipe for Molasses Cookies. They’re soft, chewy, and easily the most frequently-requested cookie in my baking repertoire. Enjoy with tea, coffee or milk (or stuff one after another in your mouth – no one would blame you!).


Yields: 3-4 dozen cookies

  • 3 cups butter-flavored Crisco (do NOT use butter!)
  • 4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup molasses
  • 4 fresh eggs
  • 8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  1. Cream shortening and sugar in a very large mixing bowl. Add molasses. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix remaining ingredients. Add to molasses mixture and stir well to combine.
  3. Chill dough for a minimum of 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit/175 degrees Celsius. Using an 1/8 cup-sized measuring cup, scoop dough onto an ungreased baking sheet. Flatten gently with the palm of your hand. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, then allow to cool slightly on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Transfer to a baking rack to cool completely.
  5. Store in an air-tight container for up to 5 days, or freeze for up to 6 months.

Pumpkin-Ginger Pancakes with Fresh Whipped Cream


These Pumpkin-Ginger Pancakes are DELICIOUS, a perfect autumn breakfast for both children and adults. I’ve made them on several occasions – sometimes serving with toasted pecans, sometimes with butter and syrup – but am most fond of these wee flapjacks with a large dollop of lightly sweetened, freshly whipped cream. Enjoy!


Yields: 2 to 4 servings

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbsp firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 cup plain low- or non-fat yogurt
  • 2 tbsp butter + extra for cooking
  • Cinnamon sugar, to serve
  1. In the bowl of an electric mixer detached from the mixer unit, whisk cream and  caster sugar until sugar dissolves, about 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer bowl to mixer unit, add vanilla extract, and whip on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Cover and refrigerate.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and salt.
  3. In another bowl, mix egg, milk, pumpkin, yogurt and butter until well blended. Stir egg mixture into flour mixture just until evenly moistened.
  4. Place a non-stick griddle or 12-inch non-stick frying pan over medium heat (350 degrees). When hot, coat lightly with butter and adjust heat to maintain temperature. Spoon batter in 1/4-cup portions onto griddle and gently spread into 3-inch rounds. Cook until pancakes are browned on the bottom and edges begin to appear dry, about 2 to 3 minutes. Turn with a wide spatula and brown other sides, 2 to 3 minutes longer.
  5. Serve warm with chilled fresh whipped cream and a dusting of cinnamon sugar.

Next post: Southwestern Spiced Sweet Potato Fries!

Spiced Apple Coffee Cake

Spiced Apple Coffee Cake

Happy October, blog goers! (I’m fairly certain this includes my mum and dad and no one else, but hope springs eternal!)

If my last post didn’t state it plainly enough, I’ll say it again: I LOVE Fall. I’ve waited for months – long, HOT months in San Diego – for the arrival of cooler temperatures, tawny foliage, and the glorious bounty of autumn fruits and vegetables. My fridge is so jam-packed with apples, grapes, pumpkin, and five different kinds of squash, I can barely close the door. True story. And I LOVE it.

I also love cake. Probably more than I should, and definitely more than is healthy. I’d eat a slice of cake at every meal if it were socially acceptable or nutritionally sound. You might be thinking, “Cake for breakfast? Control yourself, woman!” Fair point, but consider THIS cake. It’s a great take on classic coffee cake, infused with the delicious flavors of fall. I felt zero guilt enjoying it for breakfast this morning, and didn’t feel the need to indulge my sweet tooth for the rest of the day. Win-win!

This recipe was inspired by one featured on the genius blog Real Housemoms. I’ve tinkered with the ingredients and baking time a bit, and finally settled on something suited to my tastes. I encourage you to visit Real Housemoms for the original recipe (and many others!).


Yields: 12 servings

For the Fried Apples:

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 3 large Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored + sliced
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • ½ tsp cinnamon

For the Coffee Cake:

  • ½ cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ⅔ cup milk

For the Streusel Topping:

  • 1 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ⅛ tsp allspice
  • ⅛ tsp ginger
  • ¼ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ cup chilled butter, cubed
  1. To make fried apples, melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the apple wedges, brown sugar and cinnamon. Cook apples for 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Remove to a plate and allow to cool.
  2. To make coffee cake, beat butter and sugar in an electric mixer until light and creamy. Add eggs and vanilla extract. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Beat well.
  3. Spray a 10-inch spring form pan with cooking spray, then coat lightly with flour. Pour cake batter into cake pan and set aside.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  5. To make the streusel topping, combine flour, sugars, spices, and salt in a mixing bowl. Cut in the cubed butter until it resembles peas. Sprinkle half of the streusel topping over the top of the cake batter. Carefully lay the apples on top of the streusel topping, then cover apples with remaining streusel. Bake for 65-70 minutes, checking to make sure the center is set. If the topping becomes too dark while baking, cover pan loosely with foil.

Next post: Pumpkin-Ginger Pancakes!