At work, I think of baking. Different cakes with wonderful names: Chiffon, Genoise, Dacquoise. They dance in my mind as the hours pass.
I like baking, even though I’m not particularity good at it. Too impatient to work one pastry to perfection, I jump from one recipe to another. From salted caramel brownies with amber pools of caramel to charred pizza dough, from eclairs that explode with cream when you bite into them to three layered rosemary steeped cakes.
When I bake, I never think of much. And if you’re anything like me, not thinking of much is a blessing. I am tired of consuming fears, of existential crises, of the passing of time. When I bake, time ceases to exist. There are simply actions: melt, mix, fold. Bake on 350f until a toothpick comes out clean. These stabilities ground me, so I bake.
I made a cake for a coworker a when he was missing home. It was a Tottenham Cake. The sponge fell flat and chewy, and the beautiful pink icing cracked. I felt shame presenting it to him.
He wolfed down the four squares I brought before saying a word. “It tastes just like home”, he finally said.
And when I think about that, I cry. We are small, and we are insignificant. But god, what power do we have.
For the longest time I used to only have french toast at restaurants. Whenever I’d make it at home I’d come out with one of the two following options:
Not exactly a romantic way to start the morning, don’t you think?
But then one day, by a total mistake, the secret to a perfect french toast has dawned upon me. It wasn’t the precise ratio between eggs and milk, it wasn’t the pan vs. oven dilemma (#panforever)… it was the bread!!!
And what is this secret bread, you ask? It’s challah!!! Challah, to those unfamiliar, is a jewish bread, that apparently makes all french toast perfect. You can find challahs at your local jewish bakery, but probably not on a sunday (as they’re closed) – so it’s better to stock up the day before for a lovely weekend brunch. If you’re in the Vancouver (BC) area, I recommended going to Breka Bakery & Cafe, they’re open 24/7 (!!!) and have great challas.
Another substitute is my cheating challah recipe which is otherwise known as milk bread, an asian recipe. Challah recipes have the tendency to come out hard and sometimes dry (or maybe I haven’t found the right recipe yet, please share if you have it!!), but this wonderful milk bread always comes out light and fluffy and all things magical. If you don’t have a jewish bakery nearby, I urge you to make it. Like actually urging, imagine me standing next to you poking your shoulder, kind of urging – it’s THAT good!
To find the milk bred recipe, visit The Woks of Life (haha, get it?). When making the milk bread, make sure to bread it into a challah shape!
Another reason to make milk bread, is that you will have leftovers dough, which you can shape into little balls, brush with honey and sprinkle with pearl sugar and bake away into carb-blissland. Finally, a solution to all of those lonely little extra dough leftovers.
Now that we have the bread crisis out of the way, it’s time for the actual recipe. I hope you will enjoy this beautiful golden french toast! (seriously, just look how perfect it is)
I served it with lime curd, pistachios, cherries, and broken pieces of meringue, because meringue is the best. To make this extra delicious and lemony, I added some Frontier Lemon Flavor Certified Organic to the egg mixture. It was divine you guys, DIVINE.
Brownies are DA best thing ever. They’re good the day you bake them, they’re good the day afterwards, AND they’re especially good at nighttime. How can you beat that? These salted caramel brownies have a special place in my heart. And no, not just because they’re brownies, silly! (although that does place a big part in it… have I mentioned there is caramel involved?? 🤤)
I have the weirdest confession, one that might make you exit this blog as soon as you’ll find out. I’m actually not SUCH a big fan of chocolate. I know, I know, I must be some freak of nature or something! But it’s true, I very rarely crave chocolate, and have no problem stopping myself. My real issue is with ice cream and jelly beans, which might be the most addictive thing ever. But this weird mutation stops when it comes to these brownies. These are SO good, with their gooey caramel and soft soft center, I can never have enough of it.
The best part is that this recipe is basically foolproof. Seriously, I made this baby at 6am, 3am, and all hours in between. And if a recipe comes out perfect at 3am, you know you have a winner in hand.
It comes from the beautiful Anna Jones and her book, A Modern Way to Eat: 200+ Satisfying Vegetarian Recipes (That Will Make You Feel Amazing). The reason why this recipe has such a special place in my heart is because this was the very first successful recipe I made as an adult. I used to work next to a book store that ONLY sold cookbooks (dreamy, isn’t it?), and I picked this one up, immediately falling in loves. This book has some great recipes in it that I still use today, and I wholeheartedly recommended adding it to your collection.
She has another book, A Modern Way to Cook, but I don’t like it as much. I find she took the health thing a bit overboard this time. I like my recipes simple and rather traditional. You do you Anna, but in my opinion – caramel mousse HAS to include caramel 😛
I’ve simplified the recipe, reduced the sugar, and un-health-ified it a bit. Sorry, but butter wins over coconut oil every.single.time.