Metro-East Living

Need Easter brunch recipes to impress your family? The Bread Monk can help.

Triple-Layer Cracker Toffee Bars
Triple-Layer Cracker Toffee Bars

You knead to see the Rev. Dominic Garramone. “The Bread Monk” will do a demonstration on breads you can bake for Easter brunch at 7 p.m. April 7 at Mater Dei High School in Breese.

You’ll get to see the former PBS cooking show host of “Breaking Bread with Father Dominic” make french toast custard cups, chocolate raspberry scones and Austrian povitica, a traditional Easter bread flavored with bacon and walnuts. Some lucky attendees will get to sample some of the breads, but all will receive copies of the recipes, along with a free raffle ticket for a variety of unique door prizes, including cookbooks, vintage rolling pins and other baking accessories.

Sponsored by the Clinton County Home and Community Education, tickets are $12 in advance or $15 at the door. Reserve your seat by mailing your name and $12 to Diane Sinclair, 1051 Monroe St., Carlyle, IL 62231. Call 618-594-3669 for more information or questions. The first 150 people to arrive will receive a free tote with gifts from Hodgson Mills. There will be drawings for several free door prizes. After the program, the Break Monk will be available to sign cookbooks and meet guests. Proceeds from the event will be used to benefit community projects for the Clinton County HCE.

Recipe requests

Minds are kicking into gear as spring has arrived. Esther Milford, of Belleville, recalled a popular recipe that I know my mother often made in the 1980s. It seemed ridiculous when I first heard about layering salty crackers to make a dessert, but now I know better. Plus, there are versions made with graham crackers. The updated version from Pillsbury is called Triple-Layer Cracker Toffee Bars. Easy and delicious.

The second request in an email from Bill was for an easy Easter brunch dessert/breakfast sweet he could bring to his family’s annual get-together. He said he was tired of being relegated to being the guy who was always asked to bring the soda or napkins! I’m offering Cream Cheese-Cherry Danish Dessert, a Kraft recipe that uses refrigerator crescent dough, which we all know is pretty darn easy to work with.

Contact me at, 618-239-2664 and follow me on Twitter @BoyleSuzanne. Write to 120 S. Illinois St., P.O. Box 427, Belleville, IL 62222-0427.

Triple-Layer Cracker Toffee Bars

90 buttery rectangular crackers (from 13.7-ounce box)

1 can (14 ounces) sweetened condensed milk

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/2 cup butter

1/4 cup milk

1 bag (11.5 ounces) milk chocolate chips (2 cups)

1. Line 13-by-9-inch pan with foil. Spray foil with cooking spray. Place 30 of the crackers in bottom of pan.

2. In 2-quart saucepan, mix condensed milk, brown sugar, butter and milk. Cook over medium heat until butter is melted, stirring frequently. Increase heat to medium-high; heat to boiling. Boil 5 minutes, stirring constantly.

3. Pour one-third of the caramel mixture over crackers in pan. Arrange 30 of the crackers over caramel. Top with one-third of the remaining caramel mixture. Repeat with remaining crackers and caramel.

4. In small microwavable bowl, microwave chocolate chips uncovered on high 1 to 2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds, until melted and smooth. Pour over caramel; spread evenly. Refrigerate about 1 hour, or until set. Cut into 6 rows by 8 rows. Store covered up to 4 days.

Tip: Top with your favorite chopped nuts, if desired.

Cream Cheese-Cherry Danish Dessert

2 cans (8 ounces each) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls, divided

16 ounces cream cheese, softened

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, divided

1 egg white

1teaspoon vanilla

1 can (20 ounces) cherry pie filling*

3 tablespoons milk

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Unroll 1 can crescent dough into 2 rectangles; press onto bottom of 13-by-9-inch pan sprayed with cooking spray, firmly pressing perforations and seams together to seal.

Beat cream cheese, 3/4 cup sugar, egg white and vanilla with mixer until blended; spread onto crust. Cover with pie filling.

Unroll remaining can of crescent dough into 2 rectangles; pat into 13-by-9-inch rectangle, firmly pressing perforations and seams together seal. Place over pie filling.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden brown; cool slightly.

Mix milk and remaining sugar until blended; drizzle over dessert.

Yield: 24 servings.

*Substitute your favorite pie filling if cherry is not to your liking.