Cinnamon-Cardamom French Toast

French toast is one of the few dishes that evokes an image of my father in the kitchen. He didn’t spend a lot of time there (he was a mow the lawn, play the guitar kind of guy), so there aren’t many of those. But he had his specialties: Biscuits and gravy, hard seared slices of Jimmy Dean sausage with scrambled eggs, and French Toast with lots of Log Cabin Syrup. I hadn’t had French toast in years, when suddenly I found myself making the best French Toast I can ever remember eating. (Sorry, Dad.) The sudden appearance of French toast on this particular day came out of boredom. I needed an activity, I decided to make bread, I went fancy and made it swirly, thought about how that was too much swirly bread to “just eat”, made French toast. Welcome to Cynthia’s brain! It’s always buzzing in here. Mostly about food  (Read more…)

Cinnamon-Cardamom Mini Donut Muffins

It seems weird posting a recipe in the middle of a Global Pandemic, but, like a lot of you, I’m kind of at a loss for what to do with myself right now. As I write this, The Boy is working his sixth shift in eight days in the Emergency Department. Luckily for most of us, our only responsibility throughout all of this is to stay home and help slow the spread through isolation. There’s not much else I can do for him or the rest of his coworkers, but I realized that there’s one thing I can do: Bake. So, I’ve been making treats and sending them into the Emergency Department with him. It’s not going to save lives, but it’s going to do a small part in saving me from boredom, and maybe put a smile on a few hard working faces. Maybe you’re bored, scared, mad, lonely… maybe you can bake yourself some happy too  (Read more… )

Cranberry-Blood Orange Scones

Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a dry scone 🙋🏻‍♀️ Raise your hand if you’ve ever had a stale scone Well that ends now.  I’ve made literally thousands of scones in my career. For quite a while I was a baker at a local pastry shop here on the Jersey Shore, and part of my job was making dozens and dozens of scones oh so very early in the morning.  Before that, I worked in a small gourmet market, where I spent most of my day making scones.  But…  I was always making someone else’s scones.  They were delicious, but they weren’t what I personally wanted in a scone, and isn’t that what baking is all about?  Making something you love and hoping others will love it too? Well, I’ve thought about all the things that I loved about every scone I’ve ever made for anyone else, and used that to help me create a scone that I would want to eat every day. I wanted a scone that had some nice structure to it, but didn’t crumble with a mere glance in its direction. I also wanted it to have a just-right crispy exterior with a fluffy and light interior. I wanted as close to scone perfection as I could get without needing a passport.  Guess what?  I think I did it. You be the judge  (Read more…)

Skillet Cornbread


Cornbread holds a special place in my heart for a few reasons. I went to elementary school in San Antonio, where the cafeteria would serve cornbread the way rest of the country served plain bread.  I also grew up the grandchild of Olga Mae from Noxubee County Mississippi, who made Skillet Cornbread almost every day of her life.  The best part of her Skillet Cornbread was a not so well kept secret in the South – bacon fat.  Olga Mae, like most resourceful Southern women of her time, kept a coffee can full of bacon fat on her kitchen counter that found its way into most of the foods she cooked, especially her Skillet Cornbread.  Why buy butter or oil when you get bacon fat for free every time you cook bacon?  So when I think of my Ultimate Skillet Cornbread, it has to include bacon fat. I’m not saying anyone should go on an all bacon fat diet, just don’t throw it away the next time you cook a few slices.  There’s a cornbread waiting to bake (Read more…)

Overnight Cinnamon Rolls


I grew up a child of the 60’s and 70’s, a time when fresh baked pastries meant whacking a tube of Pillsbury  Cinnamon Rolls on the edge of the kitchen counter and hearing the sudden POP that meant sticky goodness was only 13-17 minutes away!  If you didn’t eat the frosting out of the little plastic tub while you were waiting.  Which I usually did.  It wasn’t enough to cover all the cinnamon rolls anyway, so…

But I’ve been a grown up for awhile now and, although Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls are delicious (still not enough frosting though tbh), it was long past time I learned how to make my own cinnamon rolls.  This recipe is basically a  cinnamony brioche dough slathered in butter, sugar and more cinnamon, and rolled up and baked into puffy, gooey delights that you can cover in all the frosting your heart desires.  Ain’t nothing wrong with that! (Read more…)

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

The internet is full of blueberry muffin  recipes.  I know, I’ve tried most of them.  I made my boss’ recipe for blueberry muffins every day for over a year.  I ate blueberry muffins from almost every bakery I went into, every brunch buffet I sidled up to, and every grocery store where I shopped.  I began to wonder if I really just didn’t like blueberry muffins 😢   But I was sure I did.  I mean, I like muffins and I like blueberries.  Hello?  I just had to figure out what I was looking for in a blueberry muffin and make it happen.   And I did.  Does the internet need another blueberry muffin recipe? Maybe not.  But it’s my blog and I’ll do what I want to. (p.s. did I say “blueberry muffin” enough times?)  (Read more…)

Rosemary-Garlic Focaccia Bread

In my mind, there is a bread hierarchy.  What?!  Yes.  I’ll say it again – there is a bread hierarchy.  If you are part of an Italian-American family (I married into this madness) and you’re having a bowl of pasta with meatballs and marinara, you need a nice hunk of crusty bread to sop up the extra sauce and to move the noodles onto your fork (don’t get me started on using a spoon to twirl the noodles. They almost cast me out of the family for that 🙄).  White Italian or crusty semolina, maybe a hard roll in the morning – these were the breads of my husband’s childhood dinner table.  I ate the bread.  I liked the bread.  But I had never heard of or even seen the ultimate Italian bread until we moved away from the family.  We went to a beautiful little Italian restaurant in Oregon, and they gave us slices of light airy bread, sprinkled with bits of rosemary, and served with extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar in a dish on the side (not a truly Italian way to serve it, but when NOT in Rome…).  This was definitely not the bread my Mother-in-law had on her table.  This was FANCY bread.  Going out to dinner bread.  Bread that would disappear from our table in just a few minutes, leaving a sad crumb filled basket on our table and little girls staring up at the waiter, with big eyes, looking all Dickensian, “Please sir.  I want some more.”  This was Focaccia. (Read more…)

Chunky Monkey Blondies

Sometimes, when something sweet  is requested (or craved), the process of baking can seem like too much.  How could I possibly use who knows HOW MANY BOWLS and UMPTEEN utensils, and WHO is going to clean up when ALL I want is to eat something sweet and carby?! 😩 THAT’S when you’re going to be ever so grateful that cooksleepread gave you this one bowl (and a measuring cup) recipe for blondies!  (Read more…)

Apple Bacon Scones

Apple Bacon Scones 2

You’d think I’d be sick of making scones, making them 5 days a week, in enormous quantities at work.  Thing is, I rarely have time to eat them at work and I can’t always make the varieties I’d like.  Customers have their favorites and it depends on what product we have on hand from our purveyors.  And, now hold on to something, one of my bosses HATES bacon.  He’s a vegetarian.  I get that he doesn’t eat bacon, but even the smell of it makes him queasy.  I lived in Oregon for over twelve years, so I’ve known more than a few hundred vegetarians, but I’ve never met any who didn’t at least like the smell of sizzling bacon.  I didn’t meet all of them, but I think the numbers are statistically insignificant.  Anyway, I save my bacon infused, apple filled, maple glazed scones for home.  My family thanks me and so will you. (Read more…)

Soft and Fluffy Milk Bread Rolls

milk bread rolls

Allow me to apologize for presenting you with a picture of my milk bread rolls with a conspicuously missing piece.  It was just that delicious.  We literally couldn’t wait the 10 seconds it would take to set up a photo without tearing into a hot roll.  So hot that we had to dog-pant eat it.

I was at HMart (a Korean Supermarket) a few weeks ago and saw something called “milk bread”, also known as Hokkaido in Japan.  It’s apparently a super trendy bread, but all I know is it looked so soft and fluffy and I wanted to eat all of it.  So, I decided to make some of my own.  Because duh.  (Read more…)