Hot Cross Buns

Buns for dayzzzzzz.

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com

I told you this week was going to be all about the Easter prep, and today I’m definitely not going to disappoint with these Hot Cross Buns. This is yet another family recipe that I’ve successfully transcribed from my Dad’s improvisational ways, and let me tell you, I’m so glad I’ll now have this recipe in my back pocket whenever springtime rolls around.


I’m not really an expert on Hot Cross Buns, except for the fact that they’re incredibly hard to find good store- or bakery-bought versions of. When I lived at home (or would come home to visit for Easter when I lived away) we went through way too many years wasting our time trying to find “just the right” version at one of our local bakeries or grocery stores. Problem was, they were never as good as we imagined, or as we imagined we could make them. Leave it to my Dad to solve that problem, and solve it he did.

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com

What I love about Hot Cross Buns is that there are so many iterations of them. You can spice the dough (as I do in this recipe) or leave it really basic and buttery. You can add in the classic fruit cake mix to liven things up a bit, or you can leave it simpler with raisins studding the dough, or nothing at all. For the icing, you can tint it the classic yellow hue with food coloring or simply allow the sweet topping to take on whatever natural color it gets from your icing ingredients. Long story short, just about any person out there can find a Hot Cross Bun recipe that they want to make over and over again, year after year.

For my own sake, I hope you find this recipe for Hot Cross Buns so enjoyable that they become an annual tradition in your household. After all, there’s nothing like a warm, buttery, icing-topped carb-bomb to start your Easter morning off right 😉

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com

In fact, I may need to pack a few of these in Ziplocs for our ride to the airport on Sunday. If we can’t have our usual Easter meals and festivities due to travel, we might as well get our Easter treats in wherever we can!

I’m not going to sugar-coat it (haha, you see what I did there?) but these buns do take a little bit of time to make, definitely not for their difficulty level, but simply because they go through the standard double rise you do with most yeast breads. That being said, a little bit of planning goes a long way, and I can guarantee that once you practice the recipe one time through, it will get easier and easier every time.

I speak from experience since I had a little blonde moment the first time I made these and forgot to add the butter to the dough. Good news was, the Hot Cross Buns turned out to be gorgeous-looking. Bad news was, they were suuuuppper dry and didn’t taste nearly as good as they looked. And because I hate wasting any food, I simply proceeded to load up that first batch of Hot Cross Buns with butter every time I wanted to eat one, and I probably ended up consuming way more butter than I would have if I had just included in the recipe in the first place. Hey, we all learn from our silly mistakes!

I’m happy to report that no silly mistakes were made the second time I gave this recipe a whirl, and I was able to whip up perfectly composed Hot Cross Buns in almost no time flat.

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com

What I love about these Hot Cross Buns is that, once you get through the whole double rise process, you bake them off and they’re ready to devour in just 15 minutes (well, 25 minutes if you allow time to cool and frost them.) That means that you don’t have to wait too long to enjoy after their magnificent smell starts wafting through the house!

Although I personally didn’t try it, I’d bet you could easily adapt this recipe to make the second rise an overnight one. That way, all you need to do in the morning before breakfast is pull the buns out of the refrigerator, give them their little crosses and egg wash, and pop them in the oven. I may try this the next time I give these a whirl (undoubtedly in the very near future) but if you try it in the meantime, let me know how it goes!

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m signing off to go get myself a bit more organized for our trip, but Happy Humpday! You deserve to celebrate with some Hot Cross Buns 🙂

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Hot Cross Buns
Prep Time
2 hr 10 mins
Cook Time
15 mins
Total Time
2 hr 25 mins
 

A family recipe for this classic springtime baked good - a buttery dough studded with plump raisins, topped with the perfect touch of icing.

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 1 dozen
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the buns:
  • 1 packet active-dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup milk, warmed to "bathtub temperature" (I heated mine up for 30 seconds in the microwave and it turned out perfect)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/3 cups flour, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/3 cup raisins (or fruit cake mix, if you prefer)
  • 1 egg white
For the icing:
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
Instructions
  1. Combine the yeast and warm milk in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook and let sit for 5 minutes to allow the yeast to activate.

  2. Add sugar, eggs, butter and salt to the yeast mixture and beat to combine. You may want to use a whisk for a few seconds to break up the egg yolks since the dough hook doesn’t do a great job of it.

  3. In a small mixing bowl, sift together 1 cup of the flour and the cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. Add this to the mixture in the stand mixer along with the raisins and beat on medium-low until flour is well-incorporated.

  4. Scrape down the sides of the stand mixer and add additional 1 1/3 cups flour. Once again turn the mixer on medium-low and mix until a sticky dough forms. Remove the bowl from the mixer, cover with a damp hand towel, and place in a warm place to rise for about an hour, or until doubled in size. 

  5. Punch down dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. You may also need to coat your hands with a bit of flour to keep the dough from sticking to them. Cover the dough once it’s turned out and let it rest for 10 minutes.

  6. Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and roll each piece into a ball. Place the balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, cover and let rise for another hour.

  7. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Using kitchen shears, cut a cross in the center of each bun, then brush with egg white. Place in oven and bake for approximately 15 minutes, or until the tops of the buns have turned golden and bread sounds fairly hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and let cool.

  8. While buns are cooling, prepare the icing. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together all of the icing ingredients. Transfer to a piping bag (or Ziploc) and then snip off the tip. Using the crosses you cut into your buns before baking as a guide, make a cross on each bun. Enjoy as soon as possible!

This post contains affiliate links. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for continuing to support the brands that make CaliGirl Cooking possible!

Hot Cross Buns | CaliGirlCooking.com

Breakfast Panzanella + a Spring Fling Brunch!

**Author’s Note: You may notice that this girl-powered post is coming to you a day later than my usual weekly posting schedule. We had originally planned to post our Spring Fling Brunch on Wednesday, March 8, but then discovered that many of the ladies in our lives (coworkers, friends, family, etc.) were participating in A Day Without a Woman. After some deliberation, we decided to postpone our posts until Thursday to show our support for all females and gender-oppressed individuals. As always, I so appreciate your support for me and so many of my fellow bloggers and lady entrepreneurs. I hope you enjoy reading about our brunch just as much as we enjoyed throwing it!

I told you this was going to be a fun week!

Breakfast Panzanella + a Spring Fling Brunch! | CaliGirlCooking.com


I am so excited for today’s post because it has been a long time coming. I’ve mentioned it before, but I truly feel so fortunate to have met so many amazing lady entrepreneurs IRL in my small little community of Santa Barbara. I’ve met fellow bloggers, freelancers, small-business owners, you name it. I’ve enjoyed interacting with every single person I’ve had the pleasure of connecting with, and have learned so much by having this diverse sounding board to bounce ideas off of, ask for advice, etc.

Way back in November, my fellow blogging babes, Hana-Lee from Wander and Wine and Becky from Baking the Goods, and I started throwing around the idea of a collaboration brunch. We all have such unique niches when it comes to our blogs (Hana-Lee focuses on wine and travel, while Becky’s the baker and I’m the cook with a side of mixology) that we thought it would be a great opportunity to play off of each other’s strengths and introduce our readers to all of the fantastic things everyone is doing in their own little corner of the Interwebs.

Well, after much rescheduling and the craziness of the holidays, we were finally able to pull it off. The result was a super fun and festive Spring Fling Brunch we held on a beautifully sunny day last week. I whipped up this hearty Breakfast Panzanella, while Becky brought a stunning Ricotta, Potato & Spring Pea Galette and, of course, Hana-Lee brought the wine. We were also able to get some of our other local lady entrepreneurs involved – Vanessa from Garibaldi Goods provided her over-the-top delicious homemade bread (and some jam, of course!), Amy from Bright Inc. provided the beautiful flower arrangements, and Alison from Sugar Cat Studio whipped up some brunch-themed cupcakes. Be sure to check out all of their blogs/websites/businesses because they are all amazing and work their little tushes off to turn out some amazing products. So fun!

Breakfast Panzanella + a Spring Fling Brunch! | CaliGirlCooking.com

Let me just tell you, starting the photo shoot for this brunch at 12pm was pure torture. We did so in order to capture the best lighting, but by the end of our almost two-hour shoot, all of our stomachs were audibly growling because all of the food looked (and smelled) so good! Don’t worry, we were sure to taste everything afterwards because, you know, quality control.

When we decided to give our brunch a spring theme, my mind immediately turned to creating a dish that was full of incredibly fresh ingredients (hello, warmer weather) yet hearty enough to not shock our systems too much after a season of all of those comforting winter foods. I knew a Breakfast Panzanella would go perfectly with the Spring Fling theme and set about making a version loaded with two of my favorite breakfast items – bacon and eggs, of course!

Breakfast Panzanella + a Spring Fling Brunch! | CaliGirlCooking.com

I’m sure you’ve had (or at least heard of) the classic version of panzanella before, which generally consists of cubes of crusty bread, fresh basil and tomatoes, and some sort of dressing involving olive oil, vinegar, shallots and capers. For my Breakfast Panzanella, I omitted the capers in the dressing (I’m not the hugest fan) and of course added bacon and eggs, plus some fresh mozzarella, because CHEESE.

What resulted was a perfectly balanced salad – the basil and tomatoes are a reminder that warmer weather is just around the corner, while the crusty bread gives the dish that hominess we still crave during this transition between the seasons. This Breakfast Panzanella is also loaded with protein from the eggs, bacon and mozzarella, so it will fill you up and give you a nice solid base for all of that wine you’ll be drinking.

Breakfast Panzanella + a Spring Fling Brunch! | CaliGirlCooking.com

This salad also comes together in almost no time at all. You can toast the bread cubes and cook the bacon the night before, which means you’ll be able to sleep in approximately 15 minutes more before you have to roll out of bed to scramble up some eggs and whisk together the dressing. What’s left after that is simply tossing everything together in one big bowl and garnishing with some fresh basil! If this Breakfast Panzanella isn’t the perfect brunch dish, I don’t know what is.

Breakfast Panzanella + a Spring Fling Brunch! | CaliGirlCooking.com

My recommendation to you? Call up some of your girlfriends STAT and set a date for a Spring Fling Brunch of your own. Then head on over to my gal pals’ blog posts for all of the other deets you’ll need to make it a smashing success.

For the recipe for Becky’s Ricotta, Potato & Spring Pea Galette, head on over to Baking the Goods.

For all of Hana-Lee’s wine recommendations and pairing notes, head on over to Wander and Wine.

And be sure to check out all of the other ladies’ sites as well for further inspiration!

Bright Inc. for all of your floral inspiration,

Sugar Cat Studio to grab some tasty cupcake mixes,

and Garibaldi Goods for small-batch artisan foods from local California producers.

Breakfast Panzanella + a Spring Fling Brunch! | CaliGirlCooking.com

Breakfast Panzanella + a Spring Fling Brunch! | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Breakfast Panzanella
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

The classic Italian bread salad gets a morning makeover with the addition of bacon and eggs. The perfect dish for a spring-themed brunch!

Course: Breakfast
Servings: 4 people
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the salad:
  • 4 slices bacon
  • 6-8 basil leaves, plus 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil, divided
  • 5 cups cubed crusty sourdough (about 1/2 of a large loaf)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 8 ounces ciliegine (baby mozzarella balls)
  • 3 eggs, scrambled
For the vinaigrette:
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
Instructions
  1. Cook bacon in a large saute pan over medium heat. Once bacon is cooked, remove to a plate lined with a paper towel. Do not dispose of the bacon grease in the pan!

  2. Add 6-8 basil leaves to the saute pan with the bacon grease in it (still on medium heat) and then add the bread cubes. Toast, tossing to coat, until all of the cubes are golden brown. If the cubes seem dry, drizzle on a little olive oil as they continue to toast. You may notice that the basil gets crispy and crumbly as it cooks along with the bread, this is okay! The little bits of basil will add some additional flavor to the salad once it’s done. Once the bread cubes are nice and toasted, spread out on some parchment paper to dry out and cool completely.

  3. Next, mix up the vinaigrette. Combine all of the vinaigrette ingredients by shaking in a Mason jar or whisking vigorously in a small bowl. Set aside.

  4. Place the cooled bread cubes in a large bowl. Chop up the now cooled bacon and add it to the bowl as well, along with the ½ cup of chopped fresh basil, cherry tomatoes, ciliegine and scrambled eggs. 

  5. Pour the vinaigrette over the salad and toss to coat evenly. Garnish with additional chopped basil, if desired. 

 

Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey

I hope you all love breakfast as much as I do.

Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

Because this week is all about the breakfast recipes, and I’m not going to feel bad about it. Technically, this Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey could be breakfast OR lunch, or even a snack, so there’s that. And it is anything but basic, so don’t stop scrolling because this is yet ANOTHER recipe for the OG avocado toast. You are going to make this version with grilled halloumi and honey and you’re going to LOVE it.


First and foremost, have you even heard of halloumi cheese? If so, than you know that it is an amazing, firm, salty Greek cheese that is incredibly versatile – it can be grilled, sautéed, shredded, you name it! And if this is your first time hearing about halloumi cheese, prepare for your mind to be blown.

Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

I was first introduced to the stuff at a little Mediterranean bar and grill in downtown Napa called Tarla. My friend and I were trying it out for the first time, so naturally we asked the waiter what dishes he recommended. He promptly told us we had to get the Saganaki, and boy, am I so glad we did! Not ten minutes later, we had a little cast iron dish of flaming halloumi cheese in front of us, drizzled with truffle honey, accompanied by Chardonnay-infused Turkish apricots and raisins, and served with little toasts to scoop up all the goodness. I was immediately in heaven.

But, that all-too-common fear of the unknown took over and, although I knew you could find halloumi cheese at certain gourmet grocers and specialty stores, it took me these five or so years since I tasted that little bite of heaven to finally buck up and buy some of the cheese to experiment with. This Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey was my first foray into the halloumi world and, let me tell you, I’m never going back.

Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

I touched on it already, but one of the greatest things about halloumi is that, when sliced and grilled or sautéed, it will actually hold its shape and not melt into an oozy puddle. It gets these gorgeous brown grill marks and picks up the flavor of whatever you cook it in.

Because there were already a ton of flavors I planned on loading on this toast, I kept my grilling method simple and cooked the halloumi up in a healthy pat of butter in my cast iron skillet. This gave it the most gorgeous slight char (anyone else here a huge fan of slightly golden-browned cheese?) and the cheese literally soaked up all of that delicious, buttery flavor.

I’m getting ahead of myself, though, because as all good toast does, this Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey starts with high-quality bread. You could essentially use any type of bread for this, but I highly recommend something that’s a slight step up from your average sliced sandwich bread. I used a local bakery’s whole wheat levain and it was absolutely outstanding. Plus, that way you can hand-cut the slices as thick as you want!

Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

So after finding your fave bread and giving it a good toast (either in the toaster or under the broiler in your oven,) we lather on a healthy dose of smashed avocado, then sprinkle on some fresh lemon juice. This acidity will help cut through the richness that both the avocado and the cheese bring to this dish.

The next layer of this ultimate open-faced sammy is the grilled halloumi. Don’t be shy about this, yes, it’s cheese, but it’s sooo worth the little indulgence. We then drizzle on a little honey to bring some sweetness and sprinkle on some chili flakes for spice, the perfect sweet-salty-spicy tri-fecta.

Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

Some might say this Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey is TOO simple of a dish, but sometimes that’s just what we need, especially on a busy Monday. And once you taste this bad boy, you’re going to realize the explosion of flavor is anything but simple.

Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
5 mins
Total Time
15 mins
 

The classic avocado toast gets a fresh makeover with the addition of grilled Greek halloumi cheese, complimented by fresh lemon juice, honey and pepper flakes!

Course: Breakfast, Main Course, Snack
Servings: 2 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 large slices thick cut whole wheat levain (or your favorite bread)
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 9 ounces halloumi cheese, sliced
  • 1 large avocado
  • Squeeze of fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons honey
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. Toast your bread using whichever method you prefer. 

  2. Heat a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat on the stove. Add the butter and let it melt. Swirl the pan to coat, then add the sliced halloumi. You can do this in a couple of batches if all of the cheese doesn’t fit at once. Grill the halloumi a couple of minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove to a plate while you prepare the rest of the toast.

  3. Spread half of the avocado over each slice of toast, smashing down with a fork if necessary. Squeeze the lemon juice evenly over the avocado, being sure not to lose any seeds. 

  4. Place the grilled halloumi slices over each piece of toast. You may have one or two slices extra, eat these or save them for later use. 

  5. Finish off the toast by drizzling the honey evenly over both pieces of toast and sprinkling on red pepper flakes, based on your spice tolerance. Enjoy immediately.

Avocado Toast with Grilled Halloumi and Honey | CaliGirlCooking.com

Creamed Curried Spinach with Bacon Naan

Sometimes I just don’t know how I come up with certain things.

Creamed Curried Spinach with Bacon Naan | CaliGirlCooking.com

Take this Creamed Curried Spinach with Bacon Naan, for example. I suppose it’s not too surprising that I paired a creamy, vegetable-laden, curry-laced dip with everyone’s favorite Indian carb, but I’m not too sure adding chunks of bacon to the bread is really staying in line with the traditional flavors of that culture. Oh well, that’s what cooking is all about, right? Taking already established, delicious dishes and turning them into your own?


And let me tell you a little story about bacon, and why I feel compelled to add it to just about everything I cook these days (in small amounts, that is.) You see, one of my hubby’s best friends has a family hook up with a local butcher in the Bay Area, and for my hubby’s bachelor party he literally brought all. the. meat. We’re talking tomahawk steaks, ham steaks, sausages and, of course, bacon. It was LITERALLY a sausage fest. My hubs came back raving about this bacon, and the next time we were up visiting his friend we snagged a small pack to bring home with us.

Fast forward a few months, to Christmastime, and we had mentioned to his friend that we were due for a replenishment of our bacon stock. We show up to his parents’ house on Christmas Day, and he literally goes into the garage and comes back with a 15-POUND box of this bacon for us.  So we’re basically set with bacon for life, or at least for the foreseeable future. Thank goodness for plenty of freezer space!

Creamed Curried Spinach with Bacon Naan | CaliGirlCooking.com

Needless to say, we always have some on hand so I couldn’t help but add a little bit to the naan I was making for this Creamed Curried Spinach. (I must also mention that I was partially inspired by our favorite little spot in Napa, Model Bakery, and the bacon bread that’s regularly part of their daily homemade bread selection.) Let me tell you, the end result is nothing short of spectacular. I adapted the naan recipe from this one I found on Girl Versus Dough, basically just adding in the bacon and using my stovetop griddle instead of the gas grill outside. The end result is a chewy and moist naan that holds up extremely well to the whole dipping and scooping up the creamed spinach process, yet melts in your mouth save for the slight salty crunch of the bacon. Delish.

Creamed Curried Spinach with Bacon Naan | CaliGirlCooking.com

So now that we’ve talked about the bacon naan, I’ve also GOT to tell you about this Creamed Curried Spinach because it is out of this world. First of all, this part of the dish is completely vegan. Do you believe it? Well, if I told you I used my trusty cashew cream as a base I bet you would. Seriously, I don’t think there’s any sort of cream sauce that vegan sub can’t stand up to. So, if you’re vegan, I strongly urge you to give this a shot, and simply find (or make) some sort of substitute for the bacon naan.

Creamed Curried Spinach with Bacon Naan | CaliGirlCooking.com

Okay, back to our Creamed Curried Spinach with Bacon Naan. When making the cashew cream this time around, I simply added a hefty dose of curry powder instead of nutritional yeast. I then stirred it into some wilted onions, garlic, and spinach, and fancied it up with some fresh cherry tomatoes and a dash of red pepper flakes. The result was so creamy and bursting with flavor, I really am giddy with excitement for you to try this.

All glowing reviews aside, I do realize that Creamed Curried Spinach with Bacon Naan is not the most photogenic, but PLEASE do not let that stop you. You will be incredibly sorry if you do. Most Indian food involves dipping into a blurry blend of exotic herbs, spices and sauces without silverware, and this is no exception. Use your bacon naan as your spoon and really get in there and shovel some hefty scoops straight into your mouth. I’m pretty sure once you start eating this you’re not going to be able to stop, so get after it!

Creamed Curried Spinach with Bacon Naan | CaliGirlCooking.com

Creamed Curried Spinach with Bacon Naan | CaliGirlCooking.com
Print
Creamed Curried Spinach with Bacon Naan
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
10 mins
Total Time
2 hr 30 mins
 

A vegan, Indian-inspired curried spinach dish is accompanied by homemade naan studded with crunchy, salty bits of bacon. 

Course: Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine: Indian
Servings: 4 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
For the bacon naan:
  • 3/4 cup water, bathtub temperature (about 110 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 3/4 cup milk, bathtub temperature (about 110 degrees Fahrenheit)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 3 1/2 cups flour
  • 4 pieces cooked bacon, chopped
For the creamed curried spinach:
  • 2 cups raw cashews, soaked in water for at least 4 hours (or up to overnight)
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups filtered water
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 1/2 small sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 1 8-ounce bag fresh spinach
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Pinch red pepper flakes
Instructions
  1. First, make the naan. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the water, milk, yeast and salt. Next, add the Greek yogurt and honey, then slowly stir in the flour. Before the mixture gets too thick, stir in the chopped bacon and continue stirring until all ingredients are combined and a sticky dough forms. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let sit in a warm place, away from drafts, for about two hours or until doubled in size. 

  2. With lightly floured hands, punch down the dough and divide into six even pieces. (The dough will be quite sticky, so just keep adding enough flour until you can handle it without all of it sticking to your fingers.) 

  3. Heat a griddle over medium heat on the stove. Spray with nonstick spray (I used coconut oil spray from Trader Joe’s.) Using your hands, form each piece of dough into a flat, oval shape that’s about 1/4-inch thick. Place the dough (working in batches) on the griddle and cook for about 3 minutes each side, until it becomes slightly charred and feels like it’s been cooked through. If your naan seems to puff up a lot when it’s cooking on its first side, simply flip it once that side’s done and then press down with the back of a spatula while it’s cooking on its second side. This will help it spread out more and cook more evenly.

  4. Remove cooked naan from griddle and keep in a warm oven until ready to serve.

  5. Next, make the curried cashew cream. Drain the cashews from their soaking water and add to a high-powered blender with the curry powder, ½ teaspoon salt and filtered water. Puree until a creamy sauce forms, adding a tad more water if needed. Measure out two cups of the cashew cream and reserve the rest for another use.

  6. In a large saute pan, melt the coconut oil. Add the garlic and onion and saute until fragrant and translucent, about 3-5 minutes on medium-high heat. Turn the heat down to medium-low and add about 1/3 of the fresh spinach to the pan, stirring until the spinach begins to wilt. Add the tomatoes. Next, add about 1/3 of the curried cashew cream. Continue this process two more times, until you’ve used up all of the spinach and the whole two cups of the curried cashew cream. 

  7. Stir in the lemon juice, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Simmer on low until ready to serve. Serve with bacon naan. No utensils required!

Recipe Notes

The Bacon Naan recipe was adapted from the No-Knead Grilled Naan recipe on Girls Versus Dough.

Creamed Curried Spinach with Bacon Naan | CaliGirlCooking.com

Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese

I promised to balance out all that healthy stuff I brought you on Monday, didn’t I?

Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

Well, let me tell you, this Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese truly delivers. We are, after all, in the season of comfort food (and Super Bowl Sunday!) so there’s no time like the present to indulge just a little bit. Plus, we’ve got to bake allllll of the things before the weather once again gets too warm for us to even think about turning on the oven.


As I was dreaming up this recipe, I originally thought I’d just make my loaded cornbread in a classic glass baking dish and serve it up in thick, hearty squares. But then, as I was putting away dishes and reorganizing all of my pots and pans, my eyes fell upon my extremely neglected cast iron skillet and I knew this would be the perfect opportunity to give it some lovin’.

Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

The last time I used my trusty Lodge cast iron skillet for a recipe on this site was way back in April of last year, when I brought you this incredibly delicious (and still a reader favorite) Greek Skillet. It turned out so well, and has continued to serve me well in times of easy, healthy dinner needs, that I’m not sure what has taken me so long to break the skillet out again and put it to good use. Now that I’ve done it, I’m eager to start trying even more cast iron skillet recipes in the very near future…Do you have any suggestions of recipes I should try??

Not only is this Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese incredibly decadent and drool-worthy, it’s also soooo easy to make. Yes, the batter is made from scratch, but I kid you not when I say it comes together in less than 15 minutes flat. With only 20 minutes of baking time, the cornbread would be a welcome addition to an easy weeknight dinner. I’m thinking it would be the perfect accompaniment to a bowl of Warming Minestrone Soup or a big Winter Kale Salad.

Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

Oh, and did I mention we grease the pan with bacon fat? I know, I know, it sounds indulgent, but I’m really just jumping on the “no waste” cooking trend that’s predicted to be a huge trend in the world of food in 2017. I don’t know about you, but the hubs and I have a huge Mason jar full of bacon grease leftover from our weekend breakfasts, and prefer to put it to tasty use as opposed to having to discard of it in an old tomato sauce can. That being said, if it sounds just a bit TOO indulgent for you, you could always use butter (just know that you’ll be missing out on some delicious bacon-y flavor in this already indulgent dish!)

The only prep that you’ll need to do in preparation for this deliciousness is to cook up some Italian sausage, grate some cheddar cheese and slice some green onions. Once that’s all done, the batter will come together in no time flat, while your cast iron skillet is busy warming up (and getting seasoned with bacon grease) in the preheating oven.

Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

If you’re looking for an easy dish that will “wow” your guests for Super Bowl Sunday, this Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese is your answer. It might as well be deemed a “meal” with all of that protein from the sausage and cheese, and there’s even some “green stuff” hanging out in there. I might also add that it’s incredibly tasty with a little drizzle of honey over top, or if you REALLY want to be indulgent, slather on some creamy, high-quality butter.

Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com

So now you have a healthy dish and this indulgent dish for your football-noshing pleasure this weekend. How about on Friday I bring you a cocktail??

Happy humpday friends!

Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com
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Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
40 mins
 

Cornbread gets a delicious makeover when it's loaded with sausage, green onions and shredded cheddar cheese and cooked in a seasoned cast iron skillet.

Course: Side Dish
Servings: 8 servings
Author: CaliGirl Cooking
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons bacon fat
  • 6-7 ounces sweet Italian sausage, casings removed (about 2 links)
  • 1 1/2 cups cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 large green onion, minced
  • 1 1/4 cups grated cheddar cheese
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place bacon grease in a 12-inch cast iron skillet and place in oven as it is preheating. 

  2. In a small nonstick skillet, brown the sausage, then set aside. 

  3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt and baking soda. 

  4. Add the buttermilk, eggs and butter to the same mixing bowl and whisk until combined. 

  5. Stir in the cooked sausage, green onions and cheddar cheese. 

  6. Using potholder, remove the cast iron skillet from the oven. Pour in the batter and then return to the oven for 20 minutes. Remove when a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool slightly before serving.

Recipe Notes

This recipe should also work fine if you only have a 9-inch cast iron skillet. The bread will turn out a little thicker, so you will probably need to increase the baking time 5-10 minutes.

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Loaded Skillet Cornbread with Sausage and Cheddar Cheese | CaliGirlCooking.com