The Inspired Plate | November | A Casual Holiday Breakfast


Welcome to The Inspired Plate. It's the Holidays and we're shooting special foods styled in a holiday setting! I chose breakfast because the aroma of the apples and spices lingering in my house with this granola preparation always puts me in the mood for music, baking and hot tea! I can't believe another year has gone by! Starting January, we'll be celebrating 3 years with The Inspired Plate. So if you're a professional photographer with a niche for food.. definitely email us and let us know! Or visit us at our Facebook Page and leave us a comment!


Casual breakfasts are the key to a stress free day here in our household, especially during the hustle and bustle of the holidays. At least once a week I make a big batch of this granola. This is an adapted recipe that my mom happened to get from one of the cooks at our church's, (Calvary Chapel) Retreat Center here in our local San Bernardino Mountains.


What I love about this granola is the ease of changing the flavor with just a different combination of fruits, nuts and spices. My husband and I like ours with plain greek yogurt and fruit, while the kids prefer there's with milk.. and sometimes as a snack in a baggie for their lunches. This shoot was photographed using a wonderful cranberry sauce, "Crushing Cranberry" that my friend Cheryl made. She made around 200 jars for our church's Christmas Boutique. The best Cranberry Sauce with the essence of orange I've ever had!


Here is the simple granola recipe.. and please don't forget to make your way over to see the rest of the gals' festive food fare! Next up is my dear friend Kim Kelly, San Diego Food Photographer. Her amazing recipes never disappoint!


Laurie's Homemade Granola
Adapted from CC Conference Center Twin Peaks Kitchen
1 Cup Almonds
1 Cup Shredded Coconut
1 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
1/2 tsp. Ground Cloves
1/2 tsp. Fresh Grated Nutmeg
6 Cups Old Fashion Oats (not quick oats)
**Chopped Apples
1 Cup Honey
3/4 Cups Salad Oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl, combine almonds, coconut, cinnamon and oats. Mix well.
In a small saucepan, heat honey and oil to simmer, add to the oats mixture
stirring to mix. Divide between two 9x13 or so, baking dish. Bake for 25 minutes stirring constantly so it doesn't burn. Add chopped apples, stir. Bake an additional 10 minutes. When granola is cool, store in sealed containers.



** For this Holiday Granola; I made it with the slivered almonds, chopped apples, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg. Perfect for our breakfast celebration! But I often substitute *soaked raisins or dried cranberries with a variety of nuts and spices.

* For soaked raisins; Put your raisins in a small bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them steep for 5-10 minutes or over night, and then drain them thoroughly. 


Peppermint Chocolate Cherry Almond Bark

Who doesn't love chocolate.. and what better, than to make it and give it away as gifts! In 
my home it's a tradition to start our baking when the kids have Thanksgiving break. This week
our youngest was off earlier than usual so here we are, celebrating mom and daughter time and looking forward to the holidays with Peppermint Chocolate Cherry Almond Bark. 


This is the easiest candy to make.. you don't even need a candy thermometer, which I love. Every year when I pull mine out to use, it's either broken or just not calculating the correct temperature. So voila!! No stress about running out to grab a thermometer.. this time! While I have a link to Callebaut chocolates, you can use another good quality chocolate, I think Ghirardelli Chocolates are yummy too. Quite a few years ago I was fortunate enough to find this chocolate in a local candy making store and I fell in love with the taste and texture. Oh my.. it's so buttery and smooth! I hope you enjoy.. Buon Appetito and Happy Holidays!!

Ingredients
1 block good quality dark chocolate (minus a few extra squares)
1 block good quality milk chocolate (minus a few extra squares)
* a few extra squares of chocolate for tempering
1 cup white chocolate nibs or chips
2 tsp. solid coconut oil (you can use vegetable oil also)
1 cup crushed peppermint candies
1 cup chopped almonds
1 cup dried cherries
Offset spatula
Baking sheet covered with parchment paper
Wooden skewer or knife


Directions
1. In a heat proof bowl, add your white chocolate nibs and 1 tsp. of coconut oil. Heat for 1 minute in microwave oven. Stir and heat again for 30 seconds. Stir again and it should be ready.
2. On the stove top in a heavy duty pan, add 1 tsp. of coconut oil and all but a few blocks of the dark and milk chocolate. *The saved chocolate will be used for tempering. Heat on medium low heat so the chocolate melts slowly without it scorching.
3. When chocolate is melted, take it off the heat and add a few of the extra chocolate squares.
Stir till incorporated.
4. On prepared baking sheet, pour your dark/milk chocolate blend onto the paper. With the offset spatula smooth it out across the paper to fill the parchment.
5. With a spoon, drizzle the white chocolate horizontally across the dark chocolate to create lines.
((Pictured below))
6. With your skewer or knife, run up and down through the white and dark chocolates to create the swirl pattern. ((Pictured below))
7. Sprinkle Peppermint candies, dried cherries and chopped almonds on top.
8. Chill in refrigerator till firm. Cut diagonally or in long strips, or for a rough look, break into pieces. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator. 


Quite a few years ago I was fortunate enough to find Callebaut Chocolate in a local candy 
making store, and I fell in love with the taste and texture. 

   Pour the white chocolate horizontally across the dark chocolate to create lines. 
   With your skewer or knife, run up and down through the white and dark chocolates to       create the swirl pattern.



















































Two Toned Cocoa and Amaretto Pizzelles


Pizzelles.. they are the quintessential Italian treat that look wonderful plated at an elegant dessert table with it's beautiful floral lace pattern and it's crisp texture. It is a quick an easy cookie to prepare that is the talk of the room at many school parties or family get-together's.

The traditional recipe calls for anise and anise seeds..yes, like my Spungna Di Biscotti Cake.. but also like the Biscotti, it works well with many flavorings. During the holidays I'll give Pizzelle cookies as gift's, side-dipped in a chocolate coating and for more of a festive look sometimes sprinkled with fine glittery candies.

Here I made a two toned pizzelle with cocoa on one side and a dousing of Amaretto in the lighter version. Oh so yummy and flavorful,
and according to my husband, addictive.
Amaretto Pizzelles
(Makes about 2-3 dozen)

3 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon amaretto liqueur
1-3/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder

In a large bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar.
Add the butter, vanilla, and amaretto.
Add the flour and baking powder and mix well.
The batter should be stiff enough to be dropped by spoon.
The batter can also be refrigerated for later use.

Cocoa Pizzelles
(Makes about 30)

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup sugar
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Sift the flour, baking powder, and cocoa together in a bowl.
In another bowl, whisk together the butter and sugar.
Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla. Whisk until combined.
Add the flour mixture and blend until smooth.

*Heat the pizzelle baker and follow the directions for How to Make a Pizzelle.
Put half a teaspoon of each, cocoa and amaretto, side by side onto the iron to achieve the two toned affect. It takes practice.. but the result is beautiful and delicious!