My mother is not a great cook. That said, cinnamon toast is hard to mess up, and it truly is one of her best “home cooked” dishes, so it owns a small corner of my heart.
Here, I take the toast a couple of steps further: I soak buttered and toasted bread in cinnamon sugar syrup, which gives the toast an almost custardy quality. Then I press the sticky side of the bread into cinnamon sugar and fry the bread in butter so the sugar caramelises around the edges and becomes almost candy-like.
1. Make the cinnamon syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, cinnamon sticks, and 1/2 cup (120 ml) 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 very fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool (the syrup can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks).
2. Make the toast: Using 3–4 tablespoons of the butter, coat both sides of each piece of bread. Toast according to the broiler or pan-frying instructions on pages 7–8. Brush a generous amount of cinnamon syrup over one side of each slice (add enough syrup to saturate the bread without making it soggy).
3. In a small bowl, mix the sugar with the cinnamon until combined, then transfer all but 2 teaspoons of it to a plate. Dip each piece of toast, syrup side down, in the cinnamon sugar.
4. In a large skillet (frying pan), melt the remaining 2–3 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and place the toast, sugared side down, in the skillet. Set a large heatsafe plate on top of the toast to press it down (place one or two cans of beans on top to weight it down). Cook until the edges of the bread are caramelised and the sugar is completely melted and glistening across the surface of the bread, 3–4 minutes.
5. Serve each slice of toast caramelised side up and sprinkled with some of the reserved cinnamon sugar and, if desired, confectioners’ sugar.
Toast The Cookbook by Raquel Pelzel is published by Phaidon at £12.95