Behold, a cinnamon toast recipe that trumps all others, thanks to a couple of key techniques, courtesy of Raquel Pelzel, author of the aptly named Toast.
First, brush buttered toast with cinnamon syrup, coating it enough to saturate but not make it soggy, and then dredge it in cinnamon sugar. Secondly, when frying the toast, weigh it down with a heavy-bottomed skillet that comfortably fits inside the larger skillet yet still covers the toast. No heavy skillet? A cake pan with a couple of heavy canned beans or a heavy heat-proof plate also gets the job done.
To learn more, read "Toast Masters."
Best Cinnamon Toast
Recipe adapted from "Toast, the Cookbook," by Raquel Pelzel (Phaidon Press)
Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
For the Cinnamon Syrup:
½ cup sugar
½ cup water
For the Toast:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened and divided
Four ¾-inch-thick slices Pullman loaf
Pinch kosher salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting (optional)
1. Make the cinnamon syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cinnamon sticks and water, and bring to a boil over high heat, stirring often to dissolve the sugar. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the cinnamon is fragrant, 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool. Makes ½ cup of syrup and can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.
2. Make the toast: Evenly spread 3 tablespoons of butter onto both sides of each piece of bread. Place a large skillet over medium heat. Working in 2 batches, place two slices of buttered bread in the hot skillet and set a smaller skillet on top of the bread, pressing down on the toast. Cook until the bread is golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the small skillet and flip the bread, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and continue to cook 1½ to 2 minutes longer. Wipe the skillet clean and repeat with the remaining bread slices.
3. In a small bowl, mix the sugar and cinnamon until combined, then transfer all but 2 teaspoons to a large plate. Brush 1 to 2 tablespoons of cinnamon syrup over one side of each bread slice, then dip in the cinnamon sugar, syrup-side down.
4. Wipe the large skillet clean and melt ½ to 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and place the toast, sugared-side down, in the skillet. Weigh down with the small skillet and cook until the edges of the bread are caramelized and the sugar is melted, 3 to 4 minutes. Wipe the skillet clean and repeat with the remaining toast.
5. Serve the toast caramelized-side up and sprinkle with the reserved cinnamon sugar and, if desired, confectioners' sugar.