Sunday, January 23, 2011

Autumn Spiced French Toast Recipe with Maple Butter Glaze • Gluten free, or not!


A couple of weeks ago our church did a Christmas pageant, in which French toast featured a prominent roll. One of the characters just went on and on and on about how much she loved French toast on Christmas morning, and although I haven't eaten French toast in years, suddenly I found myself with an irresistible craving for it. I think I haven't liked French toast in the past because it tends to be soggy and bland. This recipe is anything but! The spices really kick the flavor up a notch, and the milk to eggs ratio us just right, leaving these light and fluffy. And when you top it all with the maple butter glaze? Heavenly. A warm, melt in your mouth breakfast, perfect for a chilly autumn or winter morning.


Autumn Spice French Toast with Maple Butter Glaze
serves 2-3 (makes 4-6 slices)
double the recipe to feed more

this recipe is simple to make gluten-free - just substitute in gluten free bread. My new favorite is Udi's gluten-free white sandwich bread, but use whatever you like best.

2 large eggs
1/3 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
4-6 pieces day old bread (you don't want it too moist, or the toast will get soggy in the middle), gluten-free or not
vegetable oil for frying
1/4 cup butter (4 tablespoons, or 1/2 a stick)
1/4 cup grade A maple syrup

1. In a medium sized bowl, combine 2 eggs, 1/3 cup milk, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, 1/2 teaspoon allspice, and 1/2 teaspoon ginger. Whisk to combine.

2. On medium heat, heat enough vegetable oil to coat the bottom of a nonstick pan. Dip a slice of bread into batter, coating each side, and fry in heated pan, 2-3 minutes on each side, until toast spring back when lightly touched in the center. Set aside and repeat.

3. For Maple Butter Glaze: Heat 1/4 cup butter (4 tablespoons or 1/2 stick) and 1/4 cup grade A maple syrup in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, then remove from heat, and let cool. Pour into a serving vessel, or directly over toast. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookie

Boy howdy, are these cookies delicious! I had all these grand plans for making Christmas cookies this year, and believe me, my plans were grand. I was going to make no less than 12 different types of cookies, and share them with all my family, friends and neighbors, and be know as the most awesome home baker in all the land.


I did end up making about 5 batches of cookies all told, but you know... stuff happens. And I didn't even especially like most of the cookies I tried... except this one! This cookie recipe is so different and unexpected. I love the cinnamon and chile with the chocolate, which makes for a delicate chocolate cookie that is spiced but not spicy. It has a really unique flavor profile, and is definitely something different. If you like Mexican food at all, you will love this cookie!

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookie

Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookies

adapted from Martha Stewart's Holiday Cookies

Like a snickerdoodle cookie, this cookie is made with cream of tartar and rolled in a cinnamon sugar mixture, but ground chile gives it a "smoky, earthy" flavor. You can find ground chile (such as arbol, ancho or chipotle) in the spices section of your grocery store, or you can substitute cayenne pepper if ground chile simply cannot be found (but you will lose some of the smokiness).

I am also giving the gluten-free version of this recipe that I have adapted, but you can always make it with all-purpose flour like the original Martha Stewart recipe. Simply substitute all purpose flour cup for cup with the gluten-free flours mentioned below.

A note about gluten-free flours:
After trying and testing virtually every gluten-free flour and combination of flours out there, this is it. Oat + sweet rice flour is the absolute perfect combination of flours for cookies, and nothing can match it for natural taste and texture. This is how a cookie is supposed to taste, and you would never even know it's "gluten-free:" it's that good! So don't mess with something that ain't broken, I say. Use these flours!

1 cup oat flour
1 cup sweet rice flour
1/4 cup UNLEAVENED all-purpose gluten-free flour, such as Bob's red mill (some come with baking soda already in the flour, and this will mess things up!)
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1.5 cups white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon chile

For sugar and spice powder
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground chile

1. preheat oven to 400 degrees, with racks in the upper and lower thirds (or be lazy with me, and put one rack right in the middle. I'm too busy to be bothered with the turning and rotating of baking sheets during baking. Sorry Martha!)

2. Whisk together 1 cup oat flour, 1 cup sweet rice flour, 1/4 cup all purpose gluten-free flour, 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1 teaspoon baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt, 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon chile powder. Set aside.

3. In a stand mixer, combine 1 cup (2 sticks) room temperature butter with 1.5 cups white sugar for a full 5 minutes, until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Reduce speed to low, and add flour mixture. Beat until just combined.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon chile. Roll 1 heaping tablespoon of dough into a ball and role in the sugar-spice mixture. Place on a parchment lined cookie sheet, and bake until cookies are set in the center and beginning to crack, about 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Enjoy!