Every job has its perks. Some offer fringe benefits such as bonuses, others might provide incentive trips, some get summers off. Blogging has its perks too (although maybe smaller in comparison!). Lots of fun opportunities have come my way through blogging, including invitations to join fellow food bloggers at certain events and networking opportunities, offers to be a guest writer for various publications and chances to try new products.
One such opportunity came a couple of weeks ago to try Zulka pure cane sugar. This particular sugar is more of a “whole food” sweetener- an all natural, unrefined, pure cane sugar that is Non-GMO Project verified- gotta love that! I know… sugar is not a health food, but it’s certainly preferable to cook with as opposed to artificial sweeteners.
Zulka Morena pure cane sugar is great for everyday uses, but also terrific for baking a special something for your sweetie(s). I used this pure cane sugar in my daily cup of java and also in this Pear and Gruyere Strata. This strata is outta this stratosphere good! It was one of the many amazing recipes in Cooking Light’s newest cookbooks “Good Mood Food”.
(check out page 269...another great recipe using exotic mushrooms and a heart warming "Kitchen Memory" from yours truly)
Pear and Gruyere Strata
- 4 Anjou pears, sliced
- 1 Tbsp. butter, melted (we used butter from Shirk's Country Market, Centertown, MO)
- 7 Tbsp. Zulka pure cane sugar, divided
- 1 loaf (12 slices) cinnamon swirl bread, each slice cut diagonally (Breadsmith Bakery, St. Louis, MO)
- Cooking spray
- 1 cup Gruyere cheese, shredded
- 1 1/2 cups 1% low fat milk (Chester Dairy Co., Chester, IL)
- 4 eggs (Spark's Farm, Warrenton, MO)
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (Morris Maple Leaf Farm, Lake Odessa, MI)
- Combine pears, butter and 1 Tbsp. Zulka pure cane sugar in a large bowl; toss gently.
- Arrange half of the bread in a 11 x 7 inch glass or ceramic baking dish coated with baking spray. Spoon pear mixture over bread and top with cheese. Arrange remaining bread over cheese.
- Whisk together remaining 5 Tbsp Zulka pure cane sugar, milk, eggs, and cinnamon; pour over bread, pressing down to submerge. Cover and chill overnight.
- When ready to serve, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Uncover dish, sprinkle with 1 Tbsp. Zulka sugar and bake for 55 minutes or until inserted knife comes out clean.
- Let stand 10 minutes to cool slightly, cut into 8 pieces, drizzle with syrup.