Saturday, February 13, 2016

I LOVE to break hearts, and so will you! Giant Homemade Heart Croutons!

Breaking hearts has never felt so good or tasted any better.  I have broken a few hearts in my time, and as of late, I devour them like a fiend.  You will too, I guarantee it, once you make these homemade, butter drenched,  crunchy toasted croutons.

There used to be a restaurant here in Tulsa called The Green Onion.  Shawn and I ate there all the time and one of the many things we liked were the croutons they put on the salad.  Instead of a few croutons tossed over the greens, they served two large croutons, sliced off of a baguette.  There was something fun about crumbling them over my salad, but what I enjoyed the most was just eating them as they came.   Isn't it funny that many fond memories come from the enjoyment of food?  

For Valentines Day (and don't forget to tune in later for my ♥Day  tablescape later tonight), I decided to change  up the croutons and give a nod to the Green Onion for serving up some yummy meals and memories,  by making huge croutons in the shape of, well, what else, a heart!

 And let me tell you all, no-one has ever said anything about my croutons except to say, "they are the best".  I have to make extras because my family would like to eat them like potato chips.  You know how once you eat  one, you can't stop until the bag is gone!  
Now I realize Valentines Day is tomorrow, but I promise you can make these in plenty of time for your special meal.    

Nancy's Homemade Croutons 
(I always, always double or triple this because...well you read it above)

8 slices white sandwich bread, etc.  I don't trim the crust.  For heart shaped (or whatever shape you want) use about a 3-4" cookie cutter.  I had to turn my bread at an angle to get the largest heart shape I had to work.  So what you are seeing is croutons that are about as wide as a typical sandwich bread slice.  For regular croutons: Cut into 3/4" squares or tear into bite sized chunks...size, shape...up to you.

1 stick salted butter, melted
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes

Spread the bread crumbs or shapes onto a cookie sheet, or sheets, and bake at 200-225 for about 15-30 minutes, turning at least once halfway through.  The larger the shapes the more drying time you'll need.  Handle the larger shapes carefully as they do break (which is fun cause you HAVE to eat them for goodness sakes)   Make sure they are thoroughly dried out on both sides.

Melt the butter and add the other ingredients to the melted butter, stir.   Take your bread pieces and if making shapes I did one side in the butter and then brush on the other side.  You'll probably have to brush some of the toppings onto them.  Once you've used all the butter, place your croutons back on the cookie sheet and put back in the oven for 30 minutes to an hour.  Sometimes the butter still feels a little greasy but just be sure they feel toasted and crisp...then allow them to cool.  Once cooled, store in airtight containers or sandwich bags until ready to serve.

Now, let me get back to setting our Valentines Day table and the joy of breaking a few more hearts in the process!

 Have a blessed day everyone!