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Archive for the ‘Breakfast’ Category

Bacon-Cheddar Scones

Posted by booksncooks on July 18, 2011

I’ve been in the same office for quite a while now, and to be honest, I can’t see myself leaving any time soon. I work with an incredibly diverse group of people who are a ton of fun. We have “pig-ins” and happy hours. We draw ridiculous pictures on white boards. Some people build enormous Lego creatures and fire Nerf guns (we’re particularly fond of firing rubber bands). We work crazy hours but it’s ok, because we all love what we do.

Did I mention that this fantastic group of people are all guys? Yep, my office is almost 90% male. I’d say that sometimes it’s tough, but really, it’s not. There’s no drama and no fear of offending anyone with my matter-of-fact manner. But the best part? I can try out new recipes on the gang, and no matter how critical I am of outcome… they always love it because it’s homemade and they didn’t have to make it.

At this time, I couldn’t imagine leaving this awesome group of people for anything short of being able to spend my days in the kitchen. One of my best friends and I dream about owning a little bookstore with a bakery attached. Sometimes these sweets are being sold along coffees, lattes, and teas while other times we’re skipping the coffee and adding in a wine bar. Guess it depends on what we’re craving at the time. 😉

On that note, any investors out there?

But why do I bring this up? Because whether they know it or not, my coworkers are getting me started on my little venture. I’m what the single guys fondly refer to as “the bakery,” the cheap and tasty substitute for our awful cafeteria. Yes, my coworkers pay me to bring them lunch and the occasional breakfast. Even a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter and jelly are enthusiastically accepted. Go ahead and laugh. It is pretty funny. But I love these guys and get real pleasure from my time cooking for them as well as their reactions to whatever I bring in. It’s a win-win situation for everyone. I get to test new recipes and to spend time in the kitchen without breaking the bank or going up a pant size. They get to eat something tastier and cheaper than what is offered in the cafeteria.

This scone recipe was one of the new recipes I tried out last week. One of the guys got breakfast and another coworker got a surprise when he came in to work on Sunday to play catch-up. Since the latter requested the recipe, I think I can consider these savory scones a winner. The smokiness (is that how you spell it?) of the bacon (I used turkey bacon) really shines through in these scones, a nice change from some of the sweeter breakfast pastries.

So, as you read this story and recipe, I go to start on this week’s lunch request – chicken cobb pizza. Enjoy!

Serving Suggestions: A great side for eggs, a southwest salad, or chili

Bacon-Cheddar Scones

Adapted from The Pastry Queen (p. 24)

Makes 8-12 Scones


  • 3 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for counter/board
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) cold, unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced (or 10 chives, minced)
  • 10 slices bacon or turkey bacon, diced
  • 1 to 1-1/2 c. buttermilk (I used 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 c.)
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbs. water

Preheat oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Use a pastry cutter or two forks to cut in butter until mixture is pea-sized. Stir in cheddar, onions/chives, and bacon until combined.

Add 1 c. buttermilk. Use your hands to mix the ingredients together. If mixture is too dry, add more buttermilk, 1 tablespoon at a time. Be sure not to over mix.

Lightly flour a counter or cutting board. Turn dough onto floured surface and pat into a flat disc. Use your hands (or a rolling-pin if you don’t mind another dish to wash) to flatten dough into a round disc about 1/2-inch thick. Cut into triangle-shaped wedges or use a cookie cutter to shape as desired. If the latter, reroll and cut dough until all used up. Place scones on prepared baking sheet, 2 inches apart (they spread about 1/2-inch each in all directions).

Whisk together egg and water. Brush tops of scones with egg wash.

Bake 18-20 minutes, until golden brown and cooked throughout.

Serve hot or at room temperature.

Posted in Bread, Breakfast | Leave a Comment »

Strawberry Muffins with Crumble Topping

Posted by booksncooks on June 3, 2011

Last year, a friend and I split a share of a CSA. While I love participating – knowing that a local farmer could count on my payment, the ease of picking up a box of fresh fruit and veggies near my house – I missed the choice and flexibility weekly shopping provided me. Instead of planning meals around what looked good that week, I was planning meals in the middle of the week around whatever came in my box. So, this year, I decided not to commit to a CSA and instead pledged to visit my local farmers markets and farms more often.

This past weekend, I grabbed my good friend K and headed out to the farm, our first trip of the year. Strawberry season opened only a week ago, so the bushes were still nice and full. The berries were incredibly sweet and juicy, such a change from the strawberries I get at the supermarket. Completely worth the trip out! I spent the week munching on the sweet berries and these strawberry muffins, which friends and coworkers couldn’t get enough of. We finished the last one today, and I’m already debating about whether tomorrow is too soon to make another batch! Enjoy!

Strawberry Muffins

Recipe link found on Smitten Kitchen, recipe originally from Noob Cook

Makes 2 – 2 1/2 dozen cupcakes


  • 3 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 c. granulated sugar or 2 c. caster sugar**
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 eggs
  • 125 g. unsalted butter, melted (roughly 9 Tbs. butter)
  • 1 c. milk
  • 1 1/2 c. fresh strawberries, diced
  • Crumble topping (optional, recipe below)

** If using granulated sugar, briefly blend in a food processor or immersion mixer until more finely ground. Caster sugar, more commonly found in Europe, is finer than granulated sugar, but not quite “super-fine sugar”

Preheat oven to 400. Line a muffin tin with cupcake liners and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and baking powder. Add vanilla extract, eggs, butter and milk, stirring until just combined. Fold in strawberries.

Fill muffin cups until 2/3 fill (about 1 scoop with a medium ice cream scoop, under 2″ in diameter). Top with crumble topping (below), if desired.

Cook 18-22 minutes, until muffins are golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let sit in muffin tin for a few minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Crumble Topping

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Yields enough for 1 batch of muffins


  • 60 g. all-purpose flour (~5 heaping tablespoons, using a soup spoon)
  • 50 g. rolled oats (~5 heaping tablespoons, using a soup spoon)
  • 35 g. light brown sugar (~2 heaping tablespoons, using a soup spoon)
  • pinch of salt
  • 60 g. unsalted butter (~4 Tbs. or half a stick)

In a small microwave-safe bowl, melt butter. Stir in remaining ingredients, until mixture is crumbly.

Posted in Breakfast | 2 Comments »

Cherry/Cranberry & Walnut Scones

Posted by booksncooks on February 5, 2011

This scone recipe is one of the recipes my mom and I always fall back on, particularly when we have overnight guests. Last time I made them, I was at my parent’s house. It was a little breakfast treat for my dad, as well as for the guests that were trickling in and out of my parent’s house during Thanksgiving week. I even pulled out some of Mom’s pretty antique china for the photo (the morning coffee didn’t make the cut for the photo). Anyway, these scones are quick and easy to make and always come out just wonderfully. I usually use dried cherries or cranberries, but you can substitute any dried berry you’d like. The scones will keep for at least a week, if they last that long!

Dried Cherry/Cranberry & Walnut Scones

Adapted from Sour Cherry & Walnut Scones,

Fine Cooking No. 68 (p. 22)

Makes 8-12 Scones


  • 1/4 c. plus 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 c. cake flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 c. cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 3/4 c. dried cranberries, tart cherries, or other dried fruit
  • 1/2 c. walnuts, coarsely chopped
  • 2/3 c. buttermilk

Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a small bowl, mix the 3 Tbs. sugar with the cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk flour, cake flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and orange zest. Using a pastry blender, cut butter into dry mixture, until butter lumps are no larger than peas. Stir in cherries/cranberries and walnuts. Add buttermilk and stir with a wooden spoon (or your hands) until dry flour is no longer visible. The dough will be very wet and sticky.

Flour work surface and turn dough out onto floured surface. Pat into a 1-inch thick round. Cut into 8-12 wedges (I like 12 scones). Using a large, thin cookie spatula, transfer to baking sheet, 1-2 inches apart. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

Bake 18-20 minutes, until the bottom and edges of the scones are lightly browned. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Posted in Breakfast, Fine Cooking | 2 Comments »

Herb Baked Eggs

Posted by booksncooks on January 31, 2011

As I was flipping through my Barefoot Contessa cookbook collection that I got for Christmas, this recipe jumped out at me. I’m not really sure why, as I’m not a big breakfast person and rarely eat eggs. But it seemed like an easy weekend breakfast to try.

Once again, Ina did not fail me. The herb and Parmesan topping to these eggs was a nice change from simple salt and pepper on a sunny-side up egg. The edges of the eggs were all crispy while the yolk stayed a bit runny. This recipe is definitely worth keeping for overnight guests – quick to assemble and no hoovering over the stove. Got 15 minutes one Saturday  morning? Give these eggs a shot.

Herb Baked Eggs

Adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot in Paris, also found on Food Network

Serves 2


  • 1/4 tsp. minced fresh garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. minced fresh thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
  • 1 Tbs. minced fresh parsley
  • 1 Tbs. freshly grated Parmesan
  • 4-6 large or extra-large eggs
  • 2 Tbs. heavy cream
  • 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • toasted french bread

Preheat broiler for 5 minutes, with an oven rack 6-inches below the heat.

When preheated, place ramekins or gratin dishes on a baking sheet with 1 Tbs. cream and 1/2 Tbs. butter  in each, and put in heated oven for 3 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine garlic, thyme, rosemary, parsley, and Parmesan in a small dish. Set aside.

Crack 2-3 eggs (my gratin dishes only fit 2 eggs) into small bowls, so that the eggs are ready to go when the ramekins/gratin dishes are heated.

After 3 minutes, remove baking sheet from oven. Butter and cream will be hot and bubbly. Quickly pour the pre-portioned eggs into each dish. Sprinkle with herb mixture, salt, and pepper. Return to oven and cook for another 5-6 minutes, until whites are almost cooked. Remove from oven and let sit 60 seconds before serving (eggs will continue to cook while resting).

Note: I don’t care for runny eggs, and ended up cooking mine for 10-12 minutes total. I suspect the small size of my gratin dish meant that the eggs took a little longer to cook.

Posted in Barefoot Contessa, Breakfast | Leave a Comment »

Honey Almond Granola

Posted by booksncooks on August 20, 2010

It’s been quite a while since I’ve gotten to spend any real time in the kitchen, reading, or at the computer. I’m hoping things will calm down in another week or so, as I’m almost finished with school and almost finished with fundraising for the Susan G Komen Walk for the Cure. However, I have managed to steal a few minutes for myself, both to write this post and make this quick easy breakfast.

I’m not a huge breakfast eater, but I do enjoy granola mixed with yogurt in the morning. Night and light but still filling. This granola recipe only takes a few minutes to prepare, and is cooked in less than 45 minutes. I hope you enjoy it!

Honey Almond Granola

Adapted from Fine Cooking, Weekend (p. 46)

Makes 8-10 cups


  • vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 4 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 c. oat bran
  • 2 c. whole almonds, chopped, or 2 c. slivered almonds
  • 3/4 c. vegetable oil
  • 3/4 c. honey
  • 1 Tbs. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 c. nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1/2 tsp. table salt
  • 1 c. raisins, dried cranberries, or other dried fruit (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 and spray two rimmed baking sheets with cooking spray. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together oil, honey, vanilla, almond extract, milk powder, and salt (will be a “gloppy”). In a larger mixing bowl, combine oats, oat bran, and almonds. Pour wet mixture over dry mixture stirring until well combined.

Spread granola in an even layer between the two prepared baking sheets. Bake for 20 minutes, stir granola and then bake for another 10-20 minutes. Oats will be golden brown and almonds will look toasted.

Remove from oven (granola will become crispier as it cools) and allow to cool completely before adding the raisins or dried fruit. Store in an airtight container for 3 weeks.

Posted in Breakfast, Fine Cooking | 1 Comment »

Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins

Posted by booksncooks on July 30, 2010

This month’s Barefoot Bloggers recipes made wonderful use of the month’s take from my CSA – tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers all went into Ina’s Greek Panzanella and the blueberries went int0 these blueberry coffee cake muffins. My coworkers were thrilled to try out another of my recipes.

Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins

Adapted from Ina Garden’s Barefoot Contessa Family Style

Makes 16 muffins


  • 12 Tbs. (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 c. sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature ( I used large eggs)
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 oz. sour cream
  • 1/4 c. milk
  • 2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 half-pints blueberries

Preheat oven to 350F and line muffin pans with paper liners.

In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 5 minutes. Lower speed and add eggs, vanilla, sour cream, and milk, a little at a time. Scrape down sides as needed. Sift baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour into the wet mixture.

When just barely mixed in, turn off stand mixture and fold in blueberries with a spatula. Portion into prepared muffin tins, filling each up to the top.

Bake 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Posted in Barefoot Contessa, Breakfast | Leave a Comment »

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Posted by booksncooks on June 21, 2010

I think its fair to say that my coworkers love me. I work with a bunch of guys, and they get to try out all the tasty treats that I don’t want to keep in the house. The biggest compliment I’ve received? “Don’t eat it, it’s terrible,” as one guy helps himself to thirds (and hopes to take the tray of whatever I brought in home). Anyway, for a big meeting last week, I decided to bring in breakfast foods – biscotti and this coffee cake.

Since I was bringing this to work, I did skip the maple glaze. I didn’t want to mess with it before work and figured I’d never get the chance to make and glaze the cake before someone dug in. I also doubled the ingredients for the crumb layer (reflected below), per the feedback on Food Network.

Thanks to Cooking in Pajamas for this great Barefoot Bloggers recipe.

Sour Cream Coffee Cake

Adapted from Barefoot Contessa Parties!

Ingredients for the Cake:

  • 12 Tbs. unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 3 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 c. sour cream
  • 2 1/2 c. cake flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt

Ingredients for the Crumb Layer:

  • 1/2 c. light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 6 Tbs. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 c. chopped nuts, pecans or walnuts

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a 10-in tube pan. If using a bundt pan, be sure to grease very well – you can tell that the dough gets stuck in the dips quite easily.

Make the Cake: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light-colored, 4-5 minutes. Lower the speed and add eggs, vanilla, and sour cream, a little at a time until thoroughly incorporated. Sift together remaining dry ingredients and with the mixer on low, add to the wet ingredients until just combined.

Make the Crumb Layer: In a small bowl, melt the butter in the microwave, about 30 seconds. Add all other ingredients and stir with a fork (or your fingers!) until combined.

Put it Together:Pour half of the cake batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with half the crumb layer. Repeat. Cook 45-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Allow to cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes before inverting onto a serving plate to cool completely.

Posted in Barefoot Contessa, Breakfast | Leave a Comment »

Breakfast Casserole

Posted by booksncooks on December 1, 2009

This is a great recipe for company or breakfast potlucks, as it can be assembled up to 12 hours before baking. It’s also a very flexible recipe so have fun with it. Mushrooms, onions, and breakfast sausage are my preference but this would also be great with bacon, peppers, and tomatoes. I usually make it with whatever bread – day old French bread, a whole grain baguette – and milk I have on hand, even mixing it up if I have stuff I want to use up.

Breakfast Casserole

Adapted from Jimmy Dean


  • 1 package Jimmy Dean pork sausage
  • 10 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 c. milk
  • 2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 6 c. cubed bread
  • 2 c. Cheddar cheese
  • 1 ½ tsp. black pepper
  • ½-1 c. sliced or diced mushrooms
  • ½-1 c. diced, sautéed onions

Note: The casserole can be made up and refrigerated up to 12 hours before baking.


If baking immediately, preheat oven to 325°F.

Butter 9×13 baking dish and set aside.

Cook sausage in a skillet until browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel and cook onions until translucent and slightly browned. Set aside to cool.

Combine eggs, milk, mustard and salt. Whisk together.

Spread out half of bread in the baking dish. Sprinkle with half the pepper, half the cheese, half the sausage, half the mushrooms, and half the onions. Repeat.

Pour egg and milk mixture over top of casserole.

Bake uncovered for 55-60 minutes, or until eggs are set.

Posted in Breakfast | 3 Comments »

Bacon, Leek & Cheddar Mini Quiches

Posted by booksncooks on October 29, 2009

These quiche are billed as appetizers but are also perfect for breakfasts. They can be made ahead of time and heat up prior to serving, or may be served at room temperature. They can also be assembled and frozen, and baked right before serving.


Bacon, Leek & Cheddar Mini Quiches
Source: Fine Cooking (issue no. 82)
  • 3/4 lb. bacon, cut into medium dice
  • 3 c. diced leeks  (3 leeks, white and light green parts only)
  • 1-1/4 c. half-and-half
  • 1 c. grated extra-sharp Cheddar (4 oz.)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 Tbs. chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • Cooking spray
  • 1  (1 lb.) pkg frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed according to package directions (FC actually calls for two packages, but I use 1 package, reusing the scraps)
  • Flour as needed for rolling out the dough
  1. Brown bacon until crispy, 6-8 minutes. Remove bacon from skillet and put on a plate lined with a paper towel.  Pour off all but a tablespoon of bacon fat and return skillet to stove. Cook leeks until soft.
  2. While leeks cool, mix half-and-half, cheese, eggs & egg yolks, and spices. When slightly cooled, add leeks and bacon and combine.
  3. Lightly spray mini-muffin tins… you’ll need 4 12-muffin tins. If you’re short, don’t worry, make half, refrigerate the rest of the dough and filling, bake or freeze a batch, and then finish the rest.
  4. On a floured surface, roll out one sheet of puff pastry at a time. Per FC, you should get a 10×18 rectangle. I didn’t measure, just thinned the dough out a bit. Use a cookie cutter (or juice glass) to cut out 3-inch circles. Place dough circles  into the muffin tins. Fill each cup with 1 Tbs. of filling, to the top of the dough.  Repeat until done with filling & dough.
  5. To Freeze: If you’re going to freeze the quiches, now’s the point to do so. Place the muffin tins in the freezer for 30-45 minutes, or until frozen. Pop out of muffin tins (I had to use a butter knife to pry them out) and place into a sealable bag or tupperware. (FC says these will keep frozen for up to a month.)
  6. To Bake: Bake at 400°F, with quiches at top and bottom thirds of the oven. Bake about 20 minutes (switching tins halfway through if using two oven racks) or until filling is puffed up and crust is browned.
  7. If using frozen quiches, return to muffin tins to cook. Cooking time will be 30-35 minutes.

Dec. 2010 Editorial Note: Added photos since original post did not have any.

Posted in Appetizers, Breakfast, Fine Cooking | Leave a Comment »

Cinnamon Chip Biscotti

Posted by booksncooks on October 18, 2009

These were very tasty with my morning coffee and afternoon cinnamon tea. I’ve been dying to try the recipe for a while, but I only recently found cinnamon chips at a local store. I’ve made it both with and without the cinnamon drizzle (and never used the white chocolate drizzle that the original recipe calls for) and it’s wonderful both ways.

Cinnamon Chip Biscotti

Adapted from Hershey’s Kitchens

Makes ~24 biscotti


  • ½ c. (1 stick) butter, softened
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 ½ c. all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ tsp. baking powder
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 2/3 c. (a 10-oz package) cinnamon chips, divided
  • 2 tsp. shortening (don’t use butter, margarine or spread)

Preheat oven to 325°. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.

Beat butter and sugar until blended. Add eggs and vanilla; beat well. Gradually add flour, baking powder and salt to butter mixture, beating until smooth.  Stir in 1 c. cinnamon chips.

Divide dough into 2 logs, each about 6 inches wide. Lay a log on each baking sheet, flattening slightly and shaping as needed.

Bake 25-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and let sit for at least 10 minutes. Using serrated knife and sawing motion, cut logs diagonally into ½-inch-wide slices. (I cut carefully, right on the baking sheet, but you can also transfer to a cutting board before cutting.) Place slices back on baking sheet, cut side down. Return to oven and bake 5-6 minutes. Turn each slice and cook another 5 minutes. Remove from oven; cool slightly. Remove cookie sheet to wire rack to cool completely.

Melt the remaining 2/3 c. cinnamon chips and shortening. Drizzle over each cookie.

Note: This recipe and photos were updated in March 2011.

Posted in Biscotti, Breakfast, Desserts | Tagged: | 1 Comment »