Rosemary French Toast w/ Cinnamon Baked Apples

I don't know what it is about being a young professional living in a major metropolitan city, and the affinity for brunch.  I can speak on behalf of New Yorkers, Angelenos and San Franciscans that brunching is a serious endeavor; it's friend social hour since so many weeknight dinners are with colleagues or significant others or eating alone in a dark room.

Is it because urban yuppies feel entitled to choice?  Breakfast or lunch....why not both?  

Or because it allows for the luxury of sleeping in yet not missing your whole first half of the day?  

Because one can indulge in both dessert and alcohol in early hours and not be judged?  Most definitely that.

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I must have been 10 or 11 when I made my parents french toast and baked apples for their anniversary.  It was the first dish I made from no printed recipe, inspired none only  by a memorable brunch– somewhere for something.  Obviously I only remember the important stuff.

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First thing: apples get sliced about 1/4" thick, sprayed with a little cooking spray, and sprinkled with cinnamon.

350 F, 25-30 minutes.   They will be soft and juicy, perfect for bread.

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I call for rosemary sourdough bread.  This detail comes from my mom, who accidentally bought "the wrong kind of bread" one day while making french toast a long time ago.  We all agree that rosemary elevates french toast the way oxygen elevates lungs.  

Rosemary loaves aren't the most accessible, but start by looking in the artisanal bread section of your grocery store.  If you don't succeed, ask your local bakery to start making some and throw in a little hyperbole for convining.

I find cooking in all butter be too heavy and it browns too fast, (especially when doing multiple batches) but that flavor is essential.  60% olive oil, 40% butter is nice.  Not too heavy and the oil raises the heat level.

1/2" slices.  Older bread is always ideal since it soaks in more egg mixture, creating a more custardy consistency.  No one will be angry if you use a fresh loaf. 

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You want enough fat to griddle about 25% of each side.  You're not deep frying, so don't get too oil happy.  

Remember: 60% olive oil and 40% butter, and enough to cover 25% of each side.  Math.

 

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Rosemary French Toast w/ Cinnamon Baked Apples

INGREDIENTS: (makes 12 pieces) 

  • 4 medium apples
  • a few sprays nonstick cooking oil
  • cinnamon, to taste
  • 1 small to medium loaf rosemary sourdough, sliced into 1/2" pieces
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk (or almond milk or half and half, etc.) 
  • 12 tablespoons olive oil (start with 6 and add as needed)
  • 8 tablespoons butter (start with 4 tablespoons and add as needed)
  • cinnamon/powdered sugar/maple syrup, to garnish

For the apples:

–Preheat oven to 350 F.  

–Core apples and slice into 1/4" round pieces.  Spray with nonstick cooking oil just to coat and sprinkle to taste with cinnamon.

–Bake 25-30 minutes until soft and juicy.

For the french toast:

–In a skillet, add the 6 tablespoons olive oil and 4 tablespoons of butter, adding more as needed.  Turn heat to medium and let butter melt and fat get hot. 

–Cut the rosemary sourdough loaf into 1/2" slices. 

–Whisk 8 eggs and milk until slightly aerated and place into a shallow pan.  

–Dip the bread into the egg mixture, coating each side, allowing each slice to absorb some of the egg. 

–When oil and butter is hot, add the bread, slipping when each side is golden brown.  Adjust the heat and oil as necessary.

To finish:

–Serve warmish-hot, with a couple slices of apple and powdered sugar/cinnamon/maple syrup.   
 –Can also be made ahead of time and warmed before serving.

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