Overnight Cinnamon Raisin & Banana French Toast Casserole

20190802_103345I don’t know about you but I LOVE breakfast!!! With a choice of eggs, bacon, sausage, pancakes, toast, biscuits, hashbrowns, or waffles, there is literally something for everyone. Or in my case, MANY somethings. The only problem I honestly have with breakfast is the time of day it is consumed. I have no shame in confessing that I’m not a morning person. I’ve always been a night owl since I was a kid and that hasn’t changed a bit into my adulthood. So what do you do if you love breakfast but hate waking up even earlier in order to make it? Well…you meal prep of course!

20190802_104436Meal prep, in my opinion, is ESSENTIAL for those needing to save time and wanting to stay healthy. It ensures you always have clean, nutritious foods on hand for those moments when you may not feel like preparing a meal, which for me, is usually at breakfast. To prevent the need for making a meal every morning, I usually just whip up a batch of muffins during meal prep, as it lasts me an entire week. This works for awhile but there comes a point when you need a change. This recipe was my answer for that needed change.

20190802_102438It all started with a bunch of spotted bananas and a loaf of raisin bread at its sell by date. If you know me personally, or have followed me for a while, you know I’m a big stickler when it comes to food waste. Sure I could have easily polished off the raisin bread on my own, but sadly, it would never fit my macros. Therefore, I had to find a way to use them both. That is when I came across a french toast casserole recipe and decided to modify the heck out of it to fit my nutrition goals.

20190802_103221The results were absolutely delicious. A big thumbs up from my husband and youngest daughter. They had no idea this was fit food. By exchanging refined white bread with whole-wheat cinnamon raisin bread, I was able to add nutrition and flavor. I then topped the first layer of bread with sliced bananas before covering with more bread and an egg/milk mixture. To add a touch of sweetness and texture, I sprinkled the top with an oat crumble before allowing the casserole to soak overnight. Quick, easy, delicious, and nutritious meal. If you love french toast but want to save time in the morning, you MUST give this recipe a try!

 

Overnight Cinnamon Raisin & Banana French Toast Casserole

(Yield: 12 Servings)

 

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup Old-fashioned Rolled Oats
  • ¼ cup White Whole-Wheat Flour
  • 5 tbsp. Light Brown Sugar; divided
  • ¼ tsp. Sea Salt
  • 3 tbsp. Unsalted Butter; melted
  • 14 slices Whole-Wheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread
  • 3 small Bananas; sliced
  • 6 large Eggs
  • 3 ¾ cups Whole Milk
  • 2 tsp. Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon

 

Preparation:

  1. Coat a 13 x 9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the oats, flour, 3 tbsp. brown sugar, and salt until combined.  Add butter and stir until moistened. Set aside.
  3.  Arrange 7 slices of bread in a single layer in the prepared pan (2 rows. 3½ slices per row). Top with banana slices in a single layer and then top with the remaining 7 slices of bread in a single layer.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs. While continuing to whisk, slowly pour in the milk until combined. Whisk in the vanilla, cinnamon, and remaining 2 tbsp. of brown sugar. Pour mixture over bread and then sprinkle evenly with oat mixture. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°. Remove foil and bake for 50-55 minutes, or until bread is puffed up and egg mixture is set. A small amount of liquid in the center is okay as it will firm up as it cools. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes before serving.

 

Nutrients Per Serving: 1 Square

Calories:  261, Protein: 10 g.,

Total Fat: 10 g., Sat. Fat: 4 g.,

Fiber: 4 g., Sodium: 232 mg.,

Sugars: 15 g., Carbs: 33 g.,

Cholesterol: 108 mg

 

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: J. O’HARA
PHOTOGRAPHY & STAGING: PETER MENDOROS

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEES PATISSERIE 2019

Skinny Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

dsc_0265As month two of 2013 comes to a close I am reminded of my new year’s resolution to shed a few pounds. This made me wonder how many others who made the same popular choice to lose weight this year actually stuck with their goal. One hurdle I always face is my craving for sweets, usually something involving chocolate. This post doesn’t involve chocolate but does involve a baked good that is commonly mistaken as being somewhat healthier than other options. The Oatmeal Raisin Cookie is often confused as being naturally the most nutritious cookie out there but this is far from true. In fact, some cookies can have as much as 400 calories and 13 grams of fat per cookie. There are many offerings out there that claim they are low-fat or low-calorie and don’t lose the original taste of the full fat/calorie Oatmeal Raisin Cookies but those are for lack of a better word… lies. They often replace butter and sugar with healthier add ins like applesauce or non-fat sour cream, which create nothing but a tough, flavorless, and visually unappealing cookie.

dsc_0251To make a truly healthier version that will retain its color, flavor, and texture, therefore making it actually disappear from the cookie jar rather than sit untouched, a little bit of fat needs to remain. By cutting the butter and browning what remains in the formula, the flavor intensifies as the nuttiness of the butter becomes more pronounced. Unfortunately by cutting fat you lose the texture that it brought to the oats. In a full fat cookie, the oats become tender flavorful bits that still retain a hint of chew. In a low-fat version, they become tough and leathery, barely cooking at all. To prevent this usual pitfall of a low-fat version, the formula toasts the oats in the butter that is browned. This way, in one step two problems are solved.

3Now for the final problem which revolves around sugar content. To reduce fat further, one would think to cut as much sugar as possible. However, when you cut out even a bit of the sugar, you lose not only sweetness but moisture. Moisture that is crucial to the texture of the cookie. To resolve the final problem, an unusual but simple step is done… take a portion of the raisins, chop them and boil in water until a smooth paste forms. By adding this raisin paste to the cookie dough, the cookies remain moist and chewy despite having a dramatic cut in sugar. In fact, the added raisin pulp created a caramel undertone that enhanced the raisin flavor to even better levels than a full fat cookie.

1When all the tricks of the trade have been applied to a traditional Oatmeal Raisin Cookie formula, the result is a dramatic difference in calories, fat, and saturated fat per cookie. A traditional cookie contains 370 calories, 13 grams of fat, with 9 grams being saturated fat. This Skinny cookie contains only 150 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, with 2 grams being saturated fat. Now you can eat an Oatmeal Raisin cookie without all the guilt.

dsc_0268Note: This formula makes about 20 cookies. The cooked and cooled cookies can be stored in a container at room temperature for about 3 days.

Skinny Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Raisins; ½ cup chopped fine, ½ cup left whole
  • ¾ Water
  • 6 tbsp. Unsalted Butter
  • 1 ¾ cups Old-Fashioned Oats
  • 1 ½ tsp. Ground Cinnamon (I use a blend of sweet China, rich Vietnamese, Ceylon, & Korintje)
  • 1 cup Flour
  • ¼ tsp. Baking Powder
  • ¼ tsp. Baking Soda
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • 1 ½ cups Light Brown Sugar, packed
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

Formula:

  1. Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and lower-middle positions and preheat to 350°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Combine the chopped raisins and water in a small saucepan and place over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer until the water has evaporated and the raisins are plump, about 15 minutes. Let cool.
  2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the oats and cook, stirring constantly, until just golden, about 5 minutes. Add the cinnamon and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Let cool.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, egg, and vanilla until smooth. Stir in all the raisins, the toasted oats, and the flour mixture until just combined.
  4. Roll 2 tbsp. of dough into 1 ½ inch round balls and place 2 inches apart on the prepared baking sheets. Gently press each dough ball down until it is about ½ in. thick. Bake cookies until the edges are a light golden brown and the centers are just set, about 13 to 16 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway through the baking time. Cool 10 minutes on the baking sheets then transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy warm or at room temperature.

2SPECIAL THANKS TO:

 

PETER MENDOROS – PHOTOGRAPHY  

RECIPE ADAPTED FROM KRIS WIDICAN

ALL REMAINING CONTENT © HONEYBEE’S PATISSERIE 2013

Dessert Plating: Dietary Guidelines

Happy Friday once again. Today was perfect for me as I did not have class. Le Cordon Bleu elected to give us Friday off instead of Monday for Columbus Day. With that said it was a short week for plating. We had two days to create two different plates meeting dietary guidelines of our choice. Some examples are Sugar Free, Low-Fat, Dairy-Free, etc. Although I have dietary needs myself (Lactose Intolerance) I opted for Vegan and Gluten free so that I can challenge myself. So let’s start with Plate #1..Gluten Free.

 What initially came to my mind when brainstorming for possible components was how much I miss ice cream being lactose intolerant. So I decided to make items that maybe would be missed by those with gluten allergies or vegans whose morals wouldn’t allow them to ever try such textures and flavors. Of course the obvious item that came to my mind for those with a gluten allergy would be cake. As this is culinary school I can’t simply make any ordinary cake so I made a Chocolate Kahlua Cake cut into proper portions with a round fluted cutter. To make the cake gluten-free, I used Rice Flour and Tapioca Starch to replace regular cake flour or all-purpose usually found in most cake formulas. I also added xanthum gum. The cake tasted delicious on its own but I wanted to add more components and give height to my plate utilizing the cake rather than an external component. To do this I made a White Chocolate Caramel Creme Anglaise which I poured over the cake and allowed to drip over the edge to give that warm, fresh from the oven look. To add texture I placed cherries soaked in brandy over the creme anglaise and topped with another layer of cake. For added adornment and height, I tempered white chocolate and squeezed it into a mold using a baking squirt bottle to create the scroll. The decorative dots outlining the cake were created with a Cherry & White Peach Coulis.

For the final component on of the Gluten Free plate, I created a two-toned chocolate bowl overflowing with cherries. To create the bowl, I used a round chocolate mold. Utilizing the already tempered chocolate used earlier for the scroll, I squeezed abstract lines around the bottom and sides of the mold. I allowed this to chill until firm in the refrigerator. Meanwhile, I tempered dark chocolate for the remainder of the mold. Once the white chocolate had hardened, I poured tempered dark chocolate over the streak of white chocolate until about 1/3 of the mold was filled. I then placed secured the second portion of the mold over the filled portion and allowed it to set up overnight to ensure it would be fully solidified. On the day of plating, I allowed the chocolate bowl to warm slightly, about 10 minutes at room temperature before attempting to remove it from the mold. This ensured the mold removed crisply without cracking. The bowl was then filled with the remaining brandy soaked cherries and tipped over on the plate to create a natural overflowing look.

With the Gluten-Free Chocolate Kahlua Cake plate finished, it was time to move quickly on to plate #2…Vegan. Let me start by saying I have never in my career ever worked with anything remotely vegan except for the common organic fruit and vegetable. Items available to me such as Tofu and Agar Agar were new and I admit a tad bit intimidating.

 Despite the intimidation I pushed forward and ran for the exotic ingredients before the rest of my classmates used them all (our pantry is limited considering the large class size). The first item I snatched was oat flour and thankfully so as it was gone quickly following my usage and there was only one bag to be had in purchasing. Since you are now aware of the main ingredient I’m sure you can almost guess what the bar is…. and if not it is Oatmeal Raisin sillies. Well Oatmeal Raisin Date Bars. Following Vegan dietary concerns, I made sure to plump my Raisins and Dates in Dark Rum free of animal additives used during fermentation. I also was sure to toast my oats in vegan imitation butter and sweeten with Agave. Once the bars were out of the oven and cooled it was the difficult task of cutting them into presentable squares. My largest complaint about the Vegan Oatmeal Raisin Bars is their texture. Even the slightest movement and they crack and shatter into crumbs. It was obviously fate that I made a larger pan then necessary to compensate for the amount I broke in the process of cutting. Finally I managed to get one decent square out of the bars and plated it right away before it shattered in the way of its predecessors. To attract the eye to the bar and add texture to the eye, I created a Banana Poppyseed Coulis which I fanned out from the bar and across the plate. The coulis consisted mostly of banana puree and agave to sweeten.

For the final component and least favorite of all my plates so far is the Vegan Pumpkin Banana Mousse. The reason for such hatred between the mousse and I is its texture/consistency. My idea of mousse is a creamy, velvety yet heavily rich dessert that only takes a few spoonfuls and you are satisfied even though you could devour several spoons if given the opportunity to have a larger dish and scoop. This mousse met none of those requirements. The tofu imparted a distinct flavor and it didn’t fully incorporate with the pumpkin and banana puree, causing small pellets to form even after running through the robocoup (food processor) several times. Also the consistency wasn’t as firm as mousse typically is because it lacked the key volumnizing ingredient (heavy cream) and stabilizer/setter (gelatin). I did the best I could with this dish to be quite honest. I placed dollops in a nice parfait dish hoping to glamorize it somewhat. I layered fresh raspberries throughout to add color and a welcoming familiar texture. The parfait added height to my plate if nothing else, especially with the tempered dark chocolate adornment added to act as a straw.

All in all I did enjoy the vast majority of the components on these plates despite the lack of typical ingredients I am accustomed to working with. You never realize how much heavy cream and eggs are in everything until you are told you can’t work with them due to dietary concerns! I did taste everything and it all tasted well in my opinion except for the mousse. If given the opportunity for a do-over I would replace only the mousse and maybe have made a vegan sorbet instead. I am thankful for the experience of working under dietary guidelines. It will forever be useful to my career and future in baking, especially with the large amount of people living with conditions, diseases, or religious beliefs requiring specific dietary needs. Following dietary guidelines is a must for every pastry chef and even novice baker ready to take innovation to the next level.

All content © Honeybee’s Patisserie 2011