Saturday, August 30, 2008

Danny's Diner Style Cinnamon French Toast

I'm guessing you can probably make french toast already. So, I'm sure you're saying to yourself, "why did this guy waste his time posting an entry on how to make french toast?" It's because:

This recipe is subtle!

It's easy, in theory, but takes practice to get right ("wrong" = "it's good"; "right" = "extra fluffy and tasty").

  • eggs
  • bread (normally "white" bread, but if you want to experiment --go for it!)
  • butter/oil (your choice)
  • milk
  • cinnamon
  • syrup (make sure you have some before you start :)

How much of each ingredient? Figure 1 egg per slice of bread (2 triangles).

Here you can see I've got 3 slices of bread which means I'm using 3 eggs. I put them in a plate, not a bowl. This is how we did it when I was working at the diner. They don't have some giant bowl of pre-mixed eggs, they just whip out a plate, crack in a few eggs and make 1 order of French toast.

I also encourage you to NOT crack open more than 4 eggs into the plate at a time. There's no need to make an overflowing plate of eggs. Crack a few eggs, make a few slices of bread, then crack in a few more as you go.

What's great about this is, it's easy to NOT waste food. Rather than mix-up a bunch of eggs only to find yourself with left overs as people get full, you can stop adding eggs the moment you feel you have enough French toast for everyone --or you can run back to the kitchen and make a few more without mixing up another giant batch of eggs.

Also, look back at that splash of milk. Realize that in the picture, the milk had time to spread some before I could grab my camera, that looks like more milk than it is. Imagine how much milk you put in coffee via those half-n-half creams you see on the table at restaurants. I put in the same amount of milk as liquid in 1 of those little half-n-half containers. One container's worth per egg.

Here's the first subtle part! DON'T BEAT THE EGGS! Lightly scramble them with the fork. I broke the yolks and then pass the fork through the eggs about 10 times. That's it. Not 50 times and not at some high speed blender rate. Lightly scrambled. See the big patches of egg white in the pictures? *Lightly.*

Here's the part you'll be repeating. Cover the top with cinnamon. Lightly mix it into the eggs. Then put a few triangles of bread in the eggs. This is another subtle part. The next subtle part: leave the slices in for 10 to 15 seconds per side --not 30 seconds or a minute per side. The bread will absorb the eggs if you just give it some time, you don't have to over compensate but you do have to give it a moment.

I find that the best result is when the eggs are NOT soaked through all the way to the middle of the slice of bread. When you get them that soggy, the middle doesn't cook very well and you end up with soggy, raw-egg middles while you're eating.

Remember, Here's what you repeat:
  1. put some oil or butter in the pan
  2. make sure you have enough eggs in the plate
  3. sprinkle on some cinnamon and lightly mix in
  4. 10 to 15 seconds a side.
  5. go directly into the pan.

Don't sprinkle any cinnamon over the pan. It will just burn and make later slices of French toast taste burnt as well.

I use triangles because they are easier to fit in the pan and easier to share when you put a big stack of french toast on the table for a group of people. Above I have 3 triangle because I wanted to cook half at a time. If you take the corners that are 90 degrees (the original corners of the bread that were not cut in half) and put them in the center of the pan, you can easily fit 4 triangles in the pan with the longest, cut edges facing outward.

The last subtle part: Cook until golden brown? No, cook until golden brown -buts still white. What's that mean? Look back at the picture. See how you can still see the white of the egg even though a lot of the toast is golden brown? That's what I mean. It's easy to over cook them and make the whole side golden brown, which actually ends up tasting a little burnt. It's also easy to over-brown one side which still effects the overall taste. So stay with them and watch *both* sides carefully.

Here's my assembly line. In the next picture, if you look closely at the slices in the center, they are overcooked because I was busy taking that last picture while they were still in the pan. See the subtle difference in color?

As they finish, I stack the triangles directly on top of each other to keep in the heat. Right before they go out is when I arrange them on the plate to look nice. This way they are usually steaming when they're placed on the table.

If I'm at your house, please don't put a big pat of butter on top of mine at the last second. I don't like that very much. You may want to ask your guests how they feel about it before you add the final pat of butter, or you can let them do it themselves at the table.

Variation: Omit the bread and just make lightly scrambled eggs with cinnamon. They're a little sweet and go great with bacon.


1 comment:

Renée said...

mmmm we will be trying this tomorrow for breakfast! looks so yummy!