Tuesday, April 27, 2010


There are two new things going on around here. The first is the consumption of way too much cinnamon sugar. I like it with pancakes and bacon. Dash likes it on oatmeal or whole wheat bread. And Bella likes to pour it directly into her mouth without any vehicle.  
The other new thing is reading. Bella is staying up way too late cruising through chapter books. I love that she is reading but she is not getting enough sleep. I got Bella's crabby and tired butt out of bed yesterday morning with the promise of Bread Pudding French Toast with Cinnamon Sugar. This is the easiest thing in the world to make if you have any fresh or frozen bread pudding. 

I'm freezing all sorts of odds and ends lately. A little bit of leftover lamb ragu mixed with a cube of frozen pesto makes a great pasta sauce. Frozen parmesan rinds and nubs of ginger can flavor carrot soup. I'm trying to extend the life of our food. I'm so sick of throwing things out. And since I made nine batches of bread pudding over the past few months,  I have all sorts of odd-sized leftover pieces in my freezer. I threw a bag of bread pudding scraps into the fridge to thaw overnight. In the morning, I sliced them in half so that the batter (eggs, milk, vanilla, orange juice) could soak through to the middle of each slice.

I tried to take pictures of Dash and Bella eating bread pudding french toast but Bella looked at me like I was crazy and said. "Why are you photographing the french toast. EAT IT!" So I put down the camera and ate my breakfast. Before we left for school she gave me a little photo styling advice: use a nice pitcher, choose some cool fabric, and add lots of cinnamon sugar AND maple syrup. Done.

"And mama, just so you know, I don't like it when you use the aperture setting on your camera because it makes things look blurry."
"So you don't like shallow depth of field?" I asked.
"Not so much." she said.

Too bad. I'm addicted to the f/1.4 lens. She is just going to have to deal.

serves 2-4

You can use stale bread for this recipe but you'll need to make more batter. The bread pudding is already filled with batter so it will soak up less this second time around.

for cinnamon sugar:
1 cup white sugar
1/3 cup ground cinnamon

for french toast
6-8 slices of bread pudding (mine were about 2"x4"), thawed if frozen and sliced in half the long way
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon orange juice
pinch of salt 

Mix sugar and cinnamon well. Place bread pudding slices in a single layer in a large casserole dish or sheet pan with edges. Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, orange juice, and salt. Pour egg mixture over the bread. Let the bread soak up the batter for a few minutes. Flip the slices over so they can soak up some more liquid. Heat a non-stick or cast iron skillet on medium heat. Add a large chunk of butter and let it melt and start to brown. Sprinkle the tops of the bread with a little cinnamon sugar and place them sugar-side down on the buttered skillet. Check after a minute or so. When they're nicely browned on one side, sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on the raw sides and then flip over and cook the other side until brown. Don't cook on high heat because the outside will be done before the inside. Plus you don't want to burn the sugar. Serve immediately with butter, maple syrup, and cinnamon sugar. If it's for dessert, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream.


  1. I love cinnamon sugar...I ate it in staggering amounts as a kid and think I turned out ok ;)
    this recipe sounds like yummy sunday brunch with mimosas...
    love the photo of your kids.

  2. If I come to Berkeley soon, will you make this for me for breakfast, please?! Looks freakin' delicious!

  3. i would be happy to get my exhausted you-know-what out of bed if this breakfast were waiting for me! isn't it amazing when they become independent readers? changes the whole vibe of the house...

  4. I really enjoyed the dialog in your post. :) The french toast looks pretty great too.

  5. Loved the photo advice- too cute!

  6. Phyllis, you reminded me how good cinnamon sugar is. It was the topping of choice at our house for years. We finally ran out after much sprinkling and I never made more.
    My kids will thank you for this yummy reminder.

  7. Cute (and smart) kids. Eat it! I'm an avid bread pudding AND french toast fan, so this is right up my alley. Must. Make. Soon!

  8. This Looks Delicious! Love Your Blog... So Charming!
    Miss Taryn

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