Well, that time of year has arrived once again. It’s time to surrender my usually resilient self-control, throw out any concept of dietary moderation I may cling to during the rest of the year, and dig out the big girl pants from the back of my closet. Holiday season is in full swing, and with holiday season comes – you guessed it – holiday eating.
This year, I even went so far as to attend a wonderful Holiday Eating Workshop, where we discussed all sorts of useful tips and tricks for surviving the holiday season without having to, er, “dig out the big girl pants”. And immediately upon leaving that inspiring, informative workshop, what did yours truly proceed to do? Eat a couple slices of pizza and finish off the last of Hubs’ birthday cake, natch! Lordy, lordy. I hang my head in shame… Ooh, is that a Raisinette down there?
Needless to say, the holiday spirit – along with the holiday lack-o’-moderation – were in full swing this past Sunday morning at breakfast time. I woke up early just so I could call Little Bread Company and have a loaf of their delicious Stollen held back for me. I schlepped into the bakery half an hour later to pick up my goods, glared at the pecan sticky buns mocking me from behind the glass, discreetly wiped the drool off my chin, and headed back to the house in no time flat. It was breakfast time, and I had a hungry Hubs waiting on me.
I’d just seen Giada’s Christmas special a few days prior, where she made French toast out of Panettone, an Italian Christmas bread. Panettone is tasty and all – but Stollen, the German equivalent, will always be my favorite, and near and dear to my heart. Stollen is a dense Christmas bread that is filled with candied citrus, raisins and nuts, flavored with warm spices like cinnamon or cardamom, and dusted with powdered sugar. The bread is EVERYwhere in Germany during the holiday season, and comes in different flavors to suit different tastes; there’s even some with a tube of marzipan running down the center. (Marzipan: I’ll never understand. Thanks, but no thanks.)
Little Bread Company’s Stollen ranks right up there with some of the best Stollen I’ve had in Germany, and makes all the mass-produced stuff taste like a flavorless brick. LBC’s crust is crunchy with sugar, and the inside is soft and chewy, with a wonderful citrus scent and flavor. After nibbling off the ends, I cut the rest into big slices and dunked them in a thick custard of cream, milk, eggs and sugar. A few minutes on a hot, buttered griddle, and my Stollen morphed into something of divine origins: Stollen French toast.
While I was busy with the French toast, I had a little pot of syrup cooking on the stove. Syrup is super easy to make, as it basically cooks itself. You simply boil some sugar and water together, add a few flavorings – and maybe a little cream for good measure – and voila, you’ve just made Mrs. Butterworth unworthy. I’ve supplied you with a basic syrup recipe below, but feel free to play with the flavors and make it your own!
With the delicious Stollen, the sweet, creamy custard and the homemade syrup, this Stollen French toast is so good, it will – for a lack of a better phrase – make you want to slap your mama. Not keen on wonderfully fruity, nutty breads, you poor soul, you? Then try it with any kind of dense bread, and you’ll be just as pleased. Enjoy, and Fröhliche Weihnachten, alle!
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Stollen French Toast with Cinnamon Syrup
1 loaf of Stollen, thickly sliced
3/4 c. heavy cream
3/4 c. whole milk
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
pinch of salt
Butter for the griddle and for serving
For the Syrup:
1 c. water
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 c. heavy cream
In a small saucepan, combine the water, brown sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, and bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the mixture is dark and just beginning to thicken. Turn off the heat and whisk in the 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Set aside and allow to cool slightly.
Heat the oven (or your toaster oven) to 200°. Heat a griddle over medium heat. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs, 3/4 cup of heavy cream, whole milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and a pinch of salt, and whisk thoroughly to combine. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter on the griddle. Submerge each slice of the Stollen in the egg and milk mixture, and place on the buttered griddle. Allow to brown on each side, flipping once or twice. Butter the griddle as needed, and cook the French toast in batches. Keep the cooked French toast warm in the oven (or your toaster) while the other slices cook.
Serve warm, with butter and cinnamon syrup alongside.
* If the above slideshow doesn’t load, you can view all the photos from this recipe on Flickr.
Laura is a regular contributor for the Fayetteville Flyer. She was born and raised in Fayetteville. She is a self-proclaimed foodie and avid cook. For more of Laura’s contributions, see her Flyer Foodie author page. For more cooking, recipes, and other food-related inspiration, visit Flyer Foodie on Facebook.