|french toast that looks like pancakes|
Yesterday I made Besh's Nutella-stuffed french toast. I had to. Every day Owen comes home from school and spreads a piece of untoasted bread thickly with Nutella and that is his snack. I made Nutella from scratch a few times, but he prefers the waxy store product and I gave up trying to elevate his tastes. It's not very healthy and I should stop buying it. Wait! I don't buy it. My husband buys it.
Besh's Nutella-stuffed french toast involves putting a dollop of Nutella in the middle of a slice of sandwich bread which you top with another slice. I would not use rough whole wheat bread or artisanal bread for this; it should be soft white bread, storebought or homemade. Now cut a circular shape around the blob of Nutella, sealing the doughy edges of two slices of bread. (Besh specifies a dull juice glass and you mustn't substitute a biscuit cutter; I tried and it doesn't smash the bread together enough form a seal.) Soak very briefly in a rich french toast batter (eggs, melted butter, sugar, milk, vanilla, orange juice) and fry. The recipe is here.
Should you make it? I don't like Nutella and only ate the plain bread part, so can't comment on whether this is an exquisite treat or disgustingly rich. Owen said it was "more like dessert than a breakfast." My husband had thirds.
|before it looked like pancakes, it looked like Uncrustables|
-wasteful of bread. We gave the crusts to the chickens and of course you could make bread crumbs. But french toast that uses the entire slice is more efficient.
-the french toast batter: excellent. On account of the melted butter? The boatload of sugar? Orange juice? Made very sweet and custardy french toast.
-Besh specifies frying french toast in oil. I think it was Molly Wizenberg who swore by frying french toast in oil. I remember thinking at the time, no, no, no, she's wrong, butter. I've changed my mind; she's right.
This morning, I decided to check A Homemade Life to be sure I hadn't misremembered Wizenberg's comments on the subject, but couldn't find the book anywhere. Distressing! I started thinking about other recipes from her book that I didn't want to lose and remembered the chocolate chip banana bread. Or at least I thought there was a recipe for chocolate chip banana bread. . .
Then I started thinking about banana bread. I love banana bread and make it a lot. Why are some recipes so much tastier than others? Decided to cross-reference the recipes in Joy of Cooking, Fannie Farmer, and other stalwarts to see what I might learn. Got carried away and ended up looking in the indexes of all my cookbooks and "studying" banana bread recipes.
Fact: There are 104 different banana recipes under our roof.
When I staggered to my feet after this riveting exercise, hours had passed. It was lunchtime. I ate a piece of banana bread I'd baked recently using Recipes from Miss Daisy's. It's a bit dry and I now knew why: because it calls for butter. I had figured out that all the recipes I most love call for oil, which yields a moister bread. Obviously. Because oil is not just moister than butter, oil is actually liquid. This is unappetizing when you think about it.
I am now a banana bread expert. Ask me anything! I can tell you that some people replace the oil with whipped prunes or applesauce and use egg whites instead of whole eggs. Dwight Yoakam likes banana bread made with whole wheat flour. Nigella soaks golden raisins in rum and tosses them into her loaf, while Mark Bittman prefers coconut and the wizardly Shirley Corriher folds whipped cream into the batter. (This, I am going to try.) Other people fortify their banana breads with Wheat Chex, wheat germ, bran, and Bisquick. Cooks stir in black coffee, maraschino cherries, candied citron, sesame seeds, mango, fresh cranberries, cocoa powder, or marmalade. You can flavor with rum, almond extract, vanilla, ginger, nutmeg, cardamom, lemon peel, orange oil, allspice, cinnamon, or none of the above. Use more sugar or less, or replace the sugar with honey or Lyle's Golden Syrup. Barley flour? Sure. Rice flour? Why not. You can even make sourdough banana bread, though I wouldn't.
It was fun.
I may be a little underemployed.