Toast is one of those foods that we all love but rarely gets the attention it deserves. There’s nothing more comforting than a cup of tea and a slice of warm buttery toast on a cold winter’s day, but it’s not exactly deemed the most exciting of foods. That was, until, toast was given a gourmet makeover and became one of the biggest foodie trends of the past couple of years.
You can’t move for images of avocado on toast on Instagram, while garlicky mushrooms on a hunk of toasted sourdough is a favourite in London’s best vegetarian cafés. With a move to simpler, comforting food (just look at the likes of Shoreditch’s Cereal Killer café, and the continual rise in popularity of street food), it’s no wonder that toast has become the latest obsession.
You know a food has become a ‘thing’ when the cookbooks start coming out, and this offering from publishing house Phaidon is quite possibly the best one we’ve seen. Written by award-winning food writer and cookbook collaborator Raquel Pelzel, Toast: The Cookbook organises recipes by season, and her inventive toppings put the glamour into toast like nothing else.
With the nights drawing in and the weather getting colder, we’re all for those recipes that provide a bit of comfort, and Pelzel’s ‘Best Cinnamon Toast’ does just that.
3 cinnamon sticks
4 thick slices of whole wheat bread
85g unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Icing sugar (optional)
First off, make the cinnamon syrup: in a small pan, combine the sugar, cinnamon sticks and 120ml of water and bring to a boil over a high heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat and simmer for about five minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
For the toast, coat both sides of the bread with 3-4 tablespoons of the butter. Toast under the grill or pan-fry in a little oil or butter for 2-3 minutes. Brush cinnamon syrup over one side of each slice.
In a small bowl, mix the sugar with the cinnamon, then transfer all but two teaspoons of it to a plate. Dip each piece of toast, syrup side down, in the cinnamon sugar. In a large frying pan, melt the remaining butter and place the toast, sugared side down, in the pan. Cook over a medium heat under the edges of the bread are caramelised – approximately 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle with some of the reserved cinnamon sugar and icing sugar, if desired.
Toast: The Cookbook by Raquel Pelzel, £14.95 / €19.95 Phaidon 2015 is available on the Phaidon website.
Words by Angharad Jones. Images property of Evan Sung Toast: The Cookbook.