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Recipe: Baked Cinnamon Apple French Toast

Recipe: Baked Cinnamon Apple French Toast

Ingredients

3 tbsp unsalted butter
3 cups chopped apples (1/2 inch pieces)
2 tbsp light brown sugar
1 ½ tsp ground cinnamon, divided
1 lb brioche or sourdough bread, cut into cubes
8 oz (1 package) full fat cream cheese, cut into cubes
12 large eggs, beaten
1 ½ cups half and half
½ cup freshly squeezed orange juice
cup pure maple syrup
½ cup raisins
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
½ tsp Kosher salt
½ cup chopped pecans

Directions

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the apples and cook about 5 minutes until fragrant and slightly softened. Stir in the brown sugar and cinnamon. Continue cooking until the sugar has dissolved, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a bowl to cool.

Butter or spray a 9X13 casserole dish. Place 1/2 of the bread cubes in the bottom of the baking dish in an even layer. Top with 1/2 of the apple mixture and cream cheese cubes. Layer again with the rest of the bread cubes and then the rest of the apple mixture & cream cheese.

In a large bowl whisk together the eggs, half and half, orange juice, maple syrup, raisins, vanilla, rest of the cinnamon and salt. Pour over the apple/bread mixture. Cover the casserole, set in the fridge and let soak for at least 2 hours to overnight.

Remove the casserole from the fridge 30 minutes before baking. Top with the pecans.

Pre-heat the oven to 350˚ F with the rack in the middle. Bake the casserole covered with foil for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 25-30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the center is cooked through.

Serve immediately with more maple syrup and whipped cream.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Dutch Speculaas Cookies with Peppermint Crunch Icing

Delicious traditional, thin, crisp, dark-brown cookies that originate from the Netherlands. They are extra satsifying with the festive icing! Serve for Christmas and holiday gatherings.

2 dozen 3-4 inch cookies

–cookies
1/2 cup (8 tablespoons, 113g) cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
3/4 cup (159g) light brown sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1 1/2 cups (177g) Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1/2 cup (46g) almond flour, blanched and unblanched
1 tsp baking powder
2 to 4 tbsp (28g to 57g) milk (regular or low-fat)
–glaze
1/2 cup (57g) confectioners’ or glazing sugar
3-4 tsp milk or water
crushed candy canes

For the cookies:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla, spices, and salt using the paddle attachment.
Mix in the flour, almond flour, and baking powder, in two additions. Add enough milk to make a stiff dough.
Using your hands on a lightly floured work surface, work the dough into two disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 325°F with the racks in the middle. Lightly grease, or line two baking sheets with parchment.
Roll the dough 1/8″ to 1/4″ thick, working with one disk at a time. Cut out shapes using cookie cutters, and carefully transfer the cookies to the prepared pans.
Bake the cookies for for 15 to 20 minutes, until they’re lightly browned around the edges.
Remove them from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool. When they cool, they will become firm up and become quite hard.
For the icing:
In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar and enough milk or water to create a thick but smooth, drizzle-able icing.
Working with one cookie at a time, drizzle the icing over the cookies in any pattern you wish. Top immediately with some crushed candy cane. Continue until you have decorated all of the cookies. Let the icing dry then

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Apple Cider Mojitos

The flavors of fall and winter combine in this quenching and delicious Apple Cider Mojitos cocktail. A great recipe for entertaining and holiday parties.

2 cocktails

–cinnamon brown sugar simple syrup
1 cup light brown sugar
2 cinnamon sticks
1 cup water
–Apple Cider Mojito
1/2 lemon
3 sprigs fresh mint
1/4 cup apple cider
1/4 cup cinnamon brown sugar simple syrup
1/4 cup gold rum
splash of club soda
–for garnish
fresh mint, apple slices, pomegranate and cinnamon

–Cinnamon Brown Sugar Simple Syrup
In a small saucepan over medium heat bring the water and sugar to a boil. Stir so the sugar dissolves. Add the cinnamon sticks. Remove the pot from the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature, the flavors from the cinnamon sticks will infuse the simple syrup. Once cooled discard the cinnamon sticks. Pour into a mason jar and store in the refrigerator until ready to use. This simple syrup can be stored in the fridge for up to a month.
–Apple Cider Mojito
Add the lemon and mint to a cocktail shaker. Using a muddler, press out the juices from the lime and mint.
Add the apple cider, simple syrup, rum and a handful of ice to the shaker.
Cover and shake until the cocktail is well combined.
Fill a rocks glass halfway with crushed ice. Pour the cocktail into the glass and top with club soda and the garnishes.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Crockpot Gingerbread Lattes

Cozy and cuddle up by the fire with these delicious Crockpot Gingerbread Lattes. Simple to make at home and no need to run to the local coffee shop!

4 lattes

4 cups milk (2% or lower)
1/2 cup coconut or brown sugar
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp cloves
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 cup strong black coffee
whipped cream for topping
gingerbread cookie for garnish
optional: splash of bourbon or rum

t’s best to use a 4 quart crock pot, you could use as small as a 2 quart.
Pour milk into your crock pot, and whisk in the dried spices. Do not add the coffee. Cover and cook on low for 3 hours, or high for 1-2.
Watch the milk carefully so it does not come to a boil (it can curdle & boil over) if you do. It should be very hot, but not bubbling. Reduce heat if it boils.
Divide the coffee into coffee mugs. Garnish with whipped cream, a sprinkle of cinnamon & a gingerbread cookie.
Add a splash of bourbon or rum to lattes before you add the whipped cream, if desired.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Milk Punch

We love this Milk Punch recipe, flavored with vanilla, brown sugar, nutmeg and rum. Serve this delicious cocktail hot or iced!

4 cocktails

3 cups whole milk
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon & more for topping
8 ounces light rum (this also tastes really good with Irish whiskey)
You can also add a pinch of ground ginger and/or cocoa powder

Bring all ingredients (excluding rum) to scald over medium-low heat. Stir constantly to dissolve the sugar & to not burn the milk. After 5 minutes remove from the heat, divide evenly into glasses. Top each with 2 ounces of rum.
To serve cold. Fill glasses with ice, rum & top with milk mixture.
Top all drinks with some brown sugar & cinnamon.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Wildcat Cocktail

This festive cocktail has all the flavors or a winter’s celebration: pear, bourbon, pine and cinnamon!

1 cocktail

2 slices canned or fresh, soaked pears
1 ounce lemon juice
2 ounces bourbon
1/4 ounce pine liqueur
pinch coriander seeds
pinch of ground cinnamon
dried fig for garnish

Core & slice pears. Soak pears in a jar with water, lemon juice & simple syrup for a few hours or overnight. Alternatively you can use canned pears to save time.
In a cocktail shaker muddle 2 slices of pear. Add lemon juice, bourbon, pine liqueur, coriander & cinnamon. Cover cocktail shaker & shake well. Strain into an old fashioned glass. Top with dried fig & another pinch of ground cinnamon.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Decadent French Vanilla Coffee Horchata

Share this delicious Decadent French Vanilla Coffee Horchata recipe over the holidays with friends and family!

4 servings

2 cups brewed Dunkin’ Donuts French Vanilla Coffee
2 cups whole milk
1 cinnamon stick
1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cup white rice flour
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
for serving: whipped cream, colored sugar, cinnamon sticks

Bring the milk and cinnamon stick to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the condensed milk, flour, and vanilla. Simmer until hot. Pour into mugs and top each serving with whipped cream, colored sugar and a cinnamon stick.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Roasted Butternut Squash with Butter, Brown Sugar and Cinnamon

You will love this Roasted Butternut Squash with Butter, Brown Sugar and Cinnamon recipe for the holidays! Enjoy as a side dish or add to a salad or grain for a main course.

4 servings

1 butternut squash
1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup light brown sugar (plus more for finishing)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts or pecans

Pre heat oven to 375˚ F
Prepare a baking sheet with tin foil.
Pierce the butternut squash with a sharp knife several times. Place on a plate and microwave on high for 5 minutes, or until just soft enough to peel and cut into. Peel the squash. Cut into 1/4 inch round slices, discarding any seeds.
In a small bowl, combine the sugar, cinnamon and salt.
Place the squash on a single layer on the baking sheet, drizzle the 1/2 butter over the top.
Sprinkle 1/2 of the sugar mixture over the squash.
Flip the squash and drizzle the other half of the butter and sugar mixture over the top.
Bake for about 35 minutes or until the squash is tender. Sprinkle on a little more brown sugar and nuts to finish. Serve hot.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Maple Cinnamon Skillet Roasted Sweet Potatoes

A favorite side dish for fall & winter, this Maple Cinnamon Skillet Roasted Sweet Potatoes recipes is simple, healthy and delicious!

4 servings

2 sweet potatoes (should yield 4 cups cubed)
3 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp black pepper
fresh parsley for topping

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees fahrenheit.
Rinse, pat dry and chop the sweet potatoes into 1 inch cubes.
Place in a 12 inch cast iron skillet in a single layer. Toss with the oil, maple syrup, garlic salt, cinnamon and pepper.
Bake for 25 minutes, toss with tongs. Bake for another 10 minutes.
Remove from the oven, top with parsley & serve.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Super Sexy Chocolate Frosting

The ultimate Chocolate Frosting recipe. This velvety buttercream is great for all of your cakes, cupcakes and maybe even better licked from a spoon!

2 cups of frosting

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
5 cups powdered sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2-3 teaspoons of vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso
1/2 cup milk (add more if needed)
1/4 teaspoon salt

In the bowl of a stand mixer beat the butter until it is light and fluffy. Add the sugar, combine well. Add the cocoa powder, vanilla, cinnamon, and espresso, beat again. Slowly add the milk in a few additions and continue to beat until frosting is light and fluffy. Add more or less milk according to your preference and how thick you want the buttercream.
Tip: Buttercream to thin? Add more powdered sugar one tablespoon at a time. Is it too thick? Add more milk one tablespoon at a time.

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Pumpkin Pie Baklava

Ingredients

Directions

~ Marla Meridith

Recipe: Sparkling Apple Cider Champagne Spritzers

Ingredients

Directions

~ Marla Meridith