Bliss Covered in Syrup

English: French toast served at Mac's Restaura...

French toast . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In honour of my son Tyler who is going back to school today after his Reading Week at college (something we more honestly called Slack Week when I was at university), I am going to provide you with a recipe of sorts – one that I am going to make for him this morning for the third time this week.

He loves French toast. Loves it. Can’t get enough of it. And he is always appreciative when I take the little time it takes to make this breakfast of champions (though sometimes we make it for lunch, and on occasion, supper.)

Tyler is my picky eater. Every family has one, but since he has been away at school his taste buds have expanded to include salad, grilled cheese sandwiches (his must have real cheddar cheese, bacon if he has it, and raspberry jam) and stuffed pasta (he used to eat pasta with just butter and salt—now he will eat three cheese ravioli), and sweet potato fries.

He was never a picky eater by choice—some things appealed to him and other things did not. Food had a yuck factor for him, and some of it still does, but I find it interesting that once he has been exposed to a variety of other foods outside our home, he is more likely to try them. He has five roommates in the house he lives in at college (which is only two blocks from Fanshawe in London) and so he is exposed to a lot of different tastes. They all  have one thing in common though: Pizza (which I consider a major food group and so do they).

I remember when I was in university (about the time that pizza was brought to the new world), I would eat pizza almost every night in residence—a bunch of us would go together and order one after studying or getting back from the school pub.

I realize I have digressed from today’s recipe—but French toast is not all that complicated.

French Toast à la Tyler

White bread – as many slices as you need to feed the people you are feeding ~ Tyler always has 3

I egg for every three slices of bread

English: Cinnamon

English: Cinnamon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Splash of milk

A little vanilla

Cinnamon sprinkled in

Syrup and butter – enough to drown the toast

Using a whisk, whisk the eggs and milk and vanilla and cinnamon together. Dunk the bread and put it in a hot frying pan. We just got a new big non stick frying pan and can cook three pieces at once. We flip them when one side gets nice and toasty. I eat the burnt ones.

I know this is not an official recipe – it is just a bit of a map that takes us on a journey to syrupdom.  It is meant to be more nostalgic than directive—but it is the last day I will see Tyler for several weeks (Easter is coming up)—so it is my goodbye to him today. (Don’t feel too sorry for me, I email him every day and I am one of his ten on his phone plan that he can call without charge—so we talk a lot).

Do you have any nostalgic recipes that give you or your family bliss?

Christmas Cookies from Mom’s Recipe Box or It Must Be Saturday ‘Cause I Am Giving You Another Recipe

A cone and holly.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fifty-six years. That is how long it took me to bake my favourite Christmas cookies.  It is a simple recipe {with just a few more than my usual five ingredients}, or I would not have even attempted them. I am now wondering what took me so long. Was it my fear of flour, my impatience, or my lack of confidence in my baking skills? Most likely all three.

Actually making the cookies was quite a breakthrough for me. My fear of flour was conquered. Being able to follow a recipe to its fruition, then eating the fruits of my labour was truly satisfying.

Of course, this is no ordinary cookie—it is a recipe I remember my mom making Christmas after Christmas. She would sometimes make them during the year but never with the seedless raspberry jam dropped oh-so-elegantly into a little indentation in the middle of the cookie.  That was saved for the special occasion of Christmas alone.

During the year they were known as Ice Box Cookies and had chopped up walnuts in them, but at Christmas they became Thumbprint cookies with a bright dab of jam. I can, and do eat these by the handful with a glass of cold milk.

Cookies!

Christmas Cookies! (Photo credit: .imelda)

For years, my younger sister, who does not share my aversion to baking, brought me  big tins of these cookies at Christmas because she knew how much I love them. And while I would share some of them with my family, I always hid away a little cache of them {if you lived at my house you would understand: cookies get inhaled whole}.

One day, my youngest son asked me why we did not make them. I did not have a really good answer, other than the fact that I probably did not have the ingredients. Well, he wasn’t buying it. So, I found the recipe, which I had copied from my mom years ago and kept safely in a little recipe book that I rarely used.

It turned out that there were no strange or unknown ingredients in the cookies, and that in fact the only thing I really had to make a special trip to the store for was the seedless raspberry jam. These cookies did not even need baking powder, but are content to rise with baking soda, which I always have on hand.

Buoyed  by my son’s enthusiasm I bought the jam and set about to make the cookies. The recipe makes a large batch, which is great for a newly minted baker of cookies. I had to email my sister to ask a couple of pertinent questions, like temperature, length of time to bake the cookies, and should I put the jam in the thumbprints before or after baking. The answers came back: 350 degrees, 8-10 minutes, and put the jam in before baking.

The cookies came out just perfect! I prefer a soft cookie and they are wonderfully soft. And the raspberry jam adds just the right festive note. They also bring back all the lovely childhood memories I have of Christmas—munching on these wonderful cookies while reading a new book left by Santa.

So, if you are someone who is not fearless in the kitchen, or have a strange fear of flour as I did, this is the recipe for you:

Ice Box Cookies:  FROM THE RECIPE BOX OF LOUANN’S MOM

Bake in 350 degree oven for 8 – 10 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup butter

2 cups brown sugar

2 eggs

3 ½ cups flour

½ tsp. salt

1 tsp. baking soda

1 cup chopped nuts

Seedless raspberry jam or jam of your choice.

Mix ingredients (except for jam) and roll into two rolls; wrap in wax paper. Chill, slice and bake.

OR

Roll into balls, make dent, and put in small amount of jam. I never use the walnuts–but you get to make that call.

Because this is a generous cookie recipe I have made all the cookies at once using the second method; but have also made just some of the cookies and rolled up one roll of cookies and put them away to make another day.

So, have you set your fears aside and made a special recipe for Christmas?