Friday, March 11, 2011

Yes, I have a favorite chocolate syrup recipe. Glad you asked. Feel free to modify as you see fit :)

Chocolate Syrup

2 cups (16 oz) water
1 cup (200 g) white granulated sugar
1 cup (200 g) light brown sugar

1/2 cup (45 g) cocoa, sifted
1/2 cup (45 g) dutch cocoa, sifted

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1/8 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 Tbls vanilla

Bring water and sugar to a boil, whisking until sugar is dissolved, at least 3 minutes.
Whisk in cocoa, salt, and corn syrup until all of the solids have dissolved.
Reduce sauce and simmer, whisking, until slightly thickened, at least 3 minutes.

Remove from heat and add cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla.
Strain and cool to room temperature (syrup will continue to thicken as it cools).

Makes: About 4 cups?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Okay, so you have to have bacon with breakfast once in a while. Well, maybe more than once in a while. I used to fry it up on my cast iron griddle, but not since I came across what I am told is the "Alton Brown method". You bake it in the oven. I know, it seems obscene, but what it is is obscenely simple.

Take a cookie sheet or baking sheet (or jelly roll tray) and line it with parchment paper (or aluminum foil). You can put a wire rack on top to drain the fat if you like. Place the bacon on the paper, foil, or wire rack. If you're feeling adventurous, sprinkle with some brown sugar and black pepper. Pop it in your cold oven, and turn it on to 350F (you can go up to 375 if you're still feeling adventurous).

Cook for about 20-25 minutes. If you didn't use a wire rack, you may want to blot the bacon dry with some paper towels before serving.

Check the bacon after 20 minutes! The bacon cooks quickly during the end game. You will want to make sure you take it out earlier if you like it chewy and later if you like it more crispy. But really keep your eye on it after 20 minutes, esp. if your oven is at 375.

Do I need to say it? Mmm bacon.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My favorite French Toast

If you like making French toast (and who doesn't), you should try this: Forget the vanilla extract and add 1 Tbls of dry sherry instead per 2 eggs to your favorite french toast recipe or use mine below. I don't keep sherry in stock, so I had to hunt it down in a liquor store, but I'm glad i did. Don't use cooking sherry, make a pilgrimage to get the real stuff. For the toast fran├žais to be properly mind-altering, keep the ingredients to a minimum and use a proper cast iron skillet properly. Or don't.

Credit where credit is due: I found the sherry addition idea from Derek at Derek on Cast Iron
. As another poster noted, best french toast on the planet. I wholeheartedly agree, whether you use his recipe or mine.

My recipe makes about 12 slices, to make about 6 slices divide all ingredients in half. If you're feeding a crowd, feel free to go forth and multiply. And don't be afraid to bake up some bacon.

French Toast

4 beaten eggs
1 cup milk
4 tsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla and/or 2 Tbls dry sherry

1 tsp (or so) ground cinnamon (most simple) -or-
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice -or-
2 tsp "baking spice" -or-
make your own (least simple)

1/2 tsp salt

12-15 slices dry white bread (I use potato bread, some folks swear by french bread. Use what you have)

butter or vegetable spray for greasing the pan - preferably a cast iron skillet or griddle

Whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, sherry/vanilla, spices and salt.
Dip bread in egg mixture, coating both sides.
Cook bread on both sides until golden brown.

Makes: 12-15 slices

Pumpkin Pie spice

I'm a huge fan of pumpkin pie, I miss it after the holidays. With just a little squirt of fresh whipped cream or store-bought in a pinch. But if you mix up your own combination of pumpkin pie spice you can use it in your pancakes and french toast, cakes, or anything, and keep the memory alive until the great existential pumpkin rises over the pumpkin patch he finds most sincere and flies through the air and brings toys to all the children of the world.

My pumpkin pie spice is clove-less, I use allspice instead. Sorry, not a huge fan, but if you love cloves you can add the same amount as the allspice or replace the allspice with ground cloves. Feel free to experiment :) You can make 2 tsp of the stuff as follows:

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

or mix up a batch by multiplying such as:

2 Tbl cinnamon
1 Tbl ginger
1.5 tsp nutmeg
1.5 tsp allspice

Makes 4 Tbl

4 Tbl cinnamon
2 Tbl ginger
1 Tbl nutmeg
1 Tbl allspice

Makes 8 Tbl

Enjoy. Try replacing cinnamon in your recipes with twice as much pumpkin pie spice.