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Saturday, September 6, 2014

How to make French Toast like a pro

Hey everyone! Today I got the idea to share a way to make something that I am making all of the time because it is so simple and so delicious: French toast. Now, no matter how simple I find French toast to make, I know there are people out there that have never made it before or are not quite sure how. Therefore, today I'm going to share my favorite way to make it. When I make french toast I rarely if ever measure the quantities of ingredients I use because it really all depends on taste and the quantity I am making so I am just going to list the ingredients for you and you can use the amounts you desire.

My absolute favorite bread to use when making french toast is the eggy deliciousness that is challah. But feel free to use whatever day old bread you have on hand. You want it to be slightly stale because if it is fresh then it will become really soggy in the batter and tend to fall apart.

Hannah's Favorite French Toast

- eggs
-half and half
-a splash of your favorite flavor of coffee creamer (i.e. french vanilla, Italian sweet cream, hazelnut etc.)
-a drizzle of honey
-desired number of slices of bread
-butter for greasing skillet
-cinnamon (optional)
-powdered sugar (optional)

1.) If bread is not pre-sliced then cut to about 1-inch thick slices with a serrated bread knife.
2.) Combine the eggs, half and half, coffee creamer, and honey in a shallow bowl and whisk together until well combined.
3.) Heat butter in a skillet over medium-low heat and sprinkled cinnamon (if desired) onto the melting butter and tilt the pan so that it is well greased.
4.) When the butter begins to sizzle and bubble take one slice of bread at a time and dip it into the batter flipping once and letting it soak for a few seconds (not too long so it doesn't fall apart).  Shake off excess batter and drop in skillet. Continue doing this with slices of bread until you fill your pan. Cook french toast about a minute and thirty seconds then flip to the other side with a spatula and continue cooking until golden brown. Be careful not to let it get blackened or it will taste burned. Remove slices of french toast from pan and place on a plate. Repeat the procedure with desired amount of bread slices. If you are making a lot then I suggest putting the french toast that is done in a heat proof dish and placing in a warm oven until you've finished making all of the french toast.
5.) Some people like powdered sugar on their french toast, I like it without it, but if your a fan then sift powdered sugar over the french toast right after cooking. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Chocolate Ganache

Hello guys! Today I just wanted to post a quick recipe for chocolate ganache that I learned how to make at school. We used this for frosting a layered cake and then pouring it over the top. I'm sorry for the lack of pictures, I regret not taking any because the cake was gorgeous. Anyways, onto the recipe.

Dark Chocolate Ganache
-2 cups high quality dark chocolate chips*
-2 cups heavy cream*

*Notes: This recipe makes a lot- enough to frost a 3-layer cake and pour over the top of it. But this recipe can easily be adapted to make the amount you need, just use equal parts dark chocolate and heavy cream.

1.) First heat the heavy cream in a small pot until it's near boiling. You will know it is hot enough when it begins to foam up. Remove from heat.
2.) Immediately place chocolate chips in pot with heavy cream and allow to sit undisturbed for about 7 minutes.
3.) Begin agitating and stirring the mixture with a rubber spatula, blending the chocolate with the heavy cream, working to get a smooth and uniform consistency. There may be some grains in it at first but just keep stirring and it should become smooth as silk and shiny.
4.) Take a bowl, preferably a metal one and fill it with ice. Pour the ganache into another stainless steel bowl. In 5 to 10 second intervals place the bowl with the ganache into the bowl of ice and stir continuously, then remove the ganache and keep stirring. You are doing this to temper the chocolate and get it to the consistency that you need it to be at for whatever purpose you are using it for. If you are using it to pour or drizzle over something, then it may be ready after only three 10 second intervals stirring in the ice bath. If you are trying to get it to the frosting consistency, then have patience and keep working with it until it begins to thicken. However, you do not want it as thick as peanut butter so work slowly and keep your eye on it as the consistency changes. 


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Pie crusts and Fillings

Hello everyone! Today I just wanted to do a quick post about types of pie crust and fillings. There are two basic pie crusts: mealy vs flaky. Both pie crusts are prepared using the "cut-in" method, or the method in which the fat is cut into the flour using a pastry blender or bench scraper. I wish I would have taken pictures on the day we made our pie doughs at school but unfortunately I didn't so I guess my words will have to do for now.

Alright so, the mealy pie crust is the one you will want to use for your bottom crust because if a flaky one is used then the filling will soak through the layers and create a mess. When cutting the fat into the flour for this pie crust, you want it to reach a grainy consistency, smaller than pea sized, to create the mealy texture. On the other hand, the flaky pie crust which will be used for the top crust, you want to reach a pea sized consistency and no smaller to create the flaky texture.

In the case of fruit fillings, there are also two main types: cooked fruit vs cooked juice. The cooked fruit method is used for fruits like apples that may need be cooked down before baking to achieve a softer texture and rid them of some of their water so that a thicker pie filling is achieved. This also helps to avoid soggy crusts. We made apple pie in class, creating the filling by first cooking down the apples in butter and once the water was mostly cooked out we added the sugar and cooked until it became syrupy. Next we made a slurry of cornstarch and cold water and added that to the pan and continued cooking until thickened before removing from the heat and mixing with spices and more butter. As for the cooked juice method, this is used for fruits that have a softer texture like blueberries, that may not stand up well to being cooked. In this method you cook down a portion of the fruit to create a thickened filling and then gently mix it with the uncooked fruit, being careful not to smash it, before baking in the oven.


Saturday, June 28, 2014

Picking up where we left off

 I haven't posted to any of my blogs in a loooong time. They accidentally became some of the many projects and ideas that I started and soon forgot about. I started school at Le Cordon Bleu in February, majoring in Baking and Pastry, and as I've begun learning and practicing my skills I've started thinking more and more about blogging. I want to start sharing with everyone what I have been learning and really give this blogging thing another try. I have always loved writing and I am really yearning to put myself out there in the world of online food blogging and see just where it takes me.