Monday, March 31, 2008

Toast to Make you Feel 5 Again

When I was little, one of the biggest morning treats was cinnamon sugar toast (as it was, no doubt, for most people I know.) One of the sad things about growing up is that these dishes we remember so fondly from our childhood don't hold up to our adult palates (canned chicken noodle soup for instance and boxed mac and cheese now taste like a sad imposter of the treats they once were.)

But one morning last month after a late night of imbibing, I was desperate for something to quiet my stomach (and aching head.) I needed something comforting and sweet, for obvious reasons, and most of all something I could throw together at 12% brain capacity. Finding my pantry cupboard completely empty save for a loaf of white bread (this is Kris's addiction, not mine), I had a flash of genius. Cinnamon sugar toast.

Now I have to clarify that when I initially set out to make this embarrasingly nutritionally void breakfast, I didn't hold out any hopes that it would actually be good. It was simply to be a means to an end, as I don't partake in hair of the dog fixes but use sugar to battle my hangovers instead. I couldn't even remember the proper way to make it and instead improvised what made the most sense to me in the state of mind I was in. I started by taking a few tablespoons of butter and melting them in a wide rimmed bowl in the microwave. I shoved two pieces of white bread in the toaster then grabbed the sugar and bottle of cinnamon. When the toast popped out, I briefly dipped one side into the butter, spooned over some sugar over the buttered side (just enough so that there is a fine layer of white residue left over on the bread after the melted butter absorbs most of it), then sprinkled liberally with the cinnamon.

It didn't even occur to me how truely nostalgic this little dish was until the cinnamon sugar hit the melted butter and began wafting throughout my kitchen. Even my cat mustered the energy to look up from her nap to sniff at the air, as if the scent made her wistful for another lifetime when she was human and got to eat food that didn't just come in pellet form.

Then I tasted it. Not only was I instantly 5 again, but it was even better than I remembered. The sand-like crunch against the pillowy interior, bound together by the sweet butter, is a result greater than its parts. And just in case you think my 'condition' influenced my reaction, I have made it twice since (sans hangover.) In my opinion, this is worth making for breakfast, for a treat, or for a trip back to childhood, anyday.

Cinnamon Sugar Toast:

2 slices white sandwich bread (I used Pepperidge Farm)
4 tablespoons butter, melted in an oven proof wide rimmed bowl in the microwave
1/4 cups sugar, used at your discretion
2 teaspoons cinnamon

This is an assemly line recipe rather than exact science. You may want to use less sugar or more or less cinnamon, so adjust to your own tastes.

Toast bread in a toaster oven. Meanwhile, melt butter in a wide rimmed bowl in microwave. Briefly dip one side of each piece of toast into the butter, then place on a serving plate, buttered side up. Sprinkle sugar over them, just until there is a fine veil of the sugar crystals remaining on the bread after the butter has absorbed all it will (I would guess this is only about 1 1/2 tablespoons per slice but this depends entirely on the size of your bread.) Sprinkle with 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cinnamon over each slice. If there's any butter remaining, drizzle just a little over the sugared toast for even more of an indulgence.

* One note here about the bread. This is one recipe that in my opinion, doesn't get better with tinkering or culinary upgrades. Regular white sandwich bread such as Wonderbread is what you need here to get that lovely soft interior against the crunchy sugar crust.

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