Thursday, August 2, 2012

Perfect Cinammon Toast and why I should never bake on my lunchbreak again

Perfect Cinnamon Toast
Home Cooking

Do I hear you scoffing? Why does toast need a recipe? There's never any cooking involved (except, maybe French toast) so what am I going to write about?

I have a problem. I can go for months without a hitch in my sleeping pattern and then for no apparent reason, bouts of insomnia come on and I find myself struggling every night. Two nights ago, I used the time I had not sleeping to trawl the internet and I came across this cinnamon toast post (that rhymes!) on the Pioneer Woman website.

I thought I knew what cinnamon toast was. Well, by that I mean I didn't think it was anyTHING really. Maybe some cinnamon sprinkled on toast? Maybe cinnamon bread, toasted? I'd seen it at a couple of cafes but overall, I don' think Australia has as much of a cinnamon toast culture as America. And so, I read the article with interest and in doing so, developed this insane desire for cinnamon toast, the 'right way'.

Pioneer Woman describes a couple of 'accepted' cinnamon toast methods, as well as something completely 'wrong', before going into her recommended method. That's what I ended up following (when someone posts photos as food-pornographic as she does, you just don't go against her recommendations. You just don't) and I'll go through the process in the recipe below.

First I'll tell a short story about how yesturday was a day where the Oven Gods decided to punish me. Maybe I missed some anti-baking omens. I should not have attempted anything. But I did. I had those cinnamon toasts ready to be grilled first thing in the morning. I was so excited about them the night before that I (once again) couldn't get an easy ticket into sleeptown. I woke up drowsy as hell at 6am and rather than grasping for a couple more hours of precious sleep, I lept out in anticipation of what I was to have for breakfast.

Since I'd spread the cinnamon butter on the toast the night before, all I had to do was prehead the grill and pop those babies in. I did that then started fart-arsing around with my usual morning routine. Next thing I know, the fire alarm is going off, my kitchen is smoked out and of course my cinnamon toasts are burnt to a crisp. I franctically start opening windows and banging the fire alarm, praying for quiet and waiting for my housemate, Stain, to pop out any second yelling profanities and accusations. Thankfully, it did stop.

Did that deter me from cinnamon toast? I normally just have coffee for breakfast and perhaps this was a sign that I shouldn't ever venture frmo that. Nevertheless, I made another batch and tried again. This time they came out perfectly and might I add, it was well worth it.

Perfect Cinnamon Toast
Makes 2 (serves 1-2 depending on how hungry you are)

  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 slices of bread of your choice (I like Helga's Light Rye for... everything)

1. Preheat your grill.
2. Get the butter to room temperature and smoosh it with a fork until it's soft.
3. Add in the cinnamon and sugar and mush it all together.
4. Add the vanilla and mix until it's a smooth paste.

5. Spread the mixture onto your bread. Make sure you get it all the way to the edges but don't make it to thick or when you grill it, the butter will melt and soak the bread before the sugar gets a chance to caramelize.
6. Grill the bread, spread-side up, until the top is bubbling and the sugar is just caramelized.
7. Serve immediately!

Mmm... deliciouso! I like the Pioneer Woman method of layering the cinnamon, sugar and butter mixture on first before grilling because the caramelization is phenomenal. It gives the toast a special, toffee crunchiness that is different to the crunchiness you get from the bread alone. I also agree that vanilla extract really brings the flavor out and it's not difficult to add either.

You'd think the story ends there, on a high note, but I'd like to add that I had another oven disaster at lunch time. Having a full 2 hours off, I figured that I had enough time to pick up some lemons and yoghurt and whip up a lemon yoghurt cake. The recipe was unbelievably easy so I followed it to the letter. My cake looked beautiful in the oven. When it came to turning the thing out, the sides stuck to the pan and the inside tumbled out in a heap. So... I didn't line the tine. The recipe didn't tell me to! My second lesson of the day (aside from 'cinnamon toasts burn easily') is 'always line a cake pan'. The separation of inside from out was so complete that there weren't even any salvageable bits I could use for photography.

I chucked some pieces in a bowl, poured cream over the top and now term it my 'deconstructed lemon pudding'. Note: Masterchef on my laptop

In the end, I shoved a few mouthfuls down (it still smelt irresistable and tasted great; I'll write a full post on this cake when I do it properly) and ended up sorting out the residual crumb into equal-weight zip lock bag portions. That's right, I now have cake-filled zip lock bags in my freezer. I'm calling it my 'emergency lemon pudding' stack.

All I can hope for now is that tomorrow (my day off that I've allocated to baking) will be less dramatic.

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