Monday, March 31, 2014

Peanut Butter and Jam Stuffed French Toast

Sandwiches are Beautiful would not be a true sandwich blog without a Peanut Butter and Jam post.  Since my peanut allergies prevent me from trying this classic sandwich, I’m proud to present the following post by my friend and fellow food blogger, Caroline Lyster. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter and Jam: the early stages.
I’m not usually a sandwich person, but I couldn't say no when Erin asked me to write a post for her blog.  Luckily, the sandwich she had in mind for me is one of the few that I absolutely adore: Peanut Butter and Jam.

Whether you’re partial to jam, jelly, honey, or bananas, the key is mixing something sweet with the salty goodness that is peanut butter (or another nut butter if you are so inclined).  It’s easy to make, and pretty healthy if done the right way (Protein packed peanut butter (in moderate quantities)! Whole grain bread!).  And, of course, it’s just flat out delicious.

Because PB&J is so easy to make talking about the sandwich itself would not be a very long post (PB on one side, J on the other…consume and enjoy).  So I decided to get creative, and make my childhood lunchtime staple into something better served with a mimosa in hand: stuffed French toast.

French toast was another staple at my house growing up: we used to get lots of homemade bread and rolls from my grandmother, and these tend to go stale faster than your average store bought loaf.  The solution was simple: soak the slightly stale slices in a custardy mixture of eggs, milk, sugar, and vanilla (allowing them to get moist and flavourful), then fry in butter (allowing the outside to get crispy while the inside remains creamy), and smother in maple syrup.  For stuffed French toast the basic method remains the same…the only thing you do differently is make your slices of bread into a sandwich before you soak them!

PB&J Stuffed French Toast needs:

-bread of choice, 2 slices per sandwich (it’s okay if it’s a little stale)
-peanut butter (my personal preference is for crunchy)
-jam of choice (strawberry is the classic)
-4 eggs
-1 cup milk
-2 tablespoons brown sugar (or any other sweet ingredient…syrup would work just as well)
-1 tablespoon vanilla
-a dash or two of cinnamon (if you’re so inclined)
-butter (to keep the French toast from sticking to the pan)
-a large frying pan

Optional…taking direction from Chef Michael Smith, I chose to crust my stuffed French toast with some oatmeal (making the outside extra super crispy).  If you want to do this you’ll also need one or two cups of rolled oats.

Crusted with oatmeal, ready for the frying pan.
How to:

1) Heat the pan that you will be using; medium is high enough.  You don't want the pan to be too hot or the outside of your sandwich will burn before the inside gets warm and creamy.

2) Make the PB&J sandwiches: peanut butter on one side, jam on the other (or, if you’re a true peanut butter lover, peanut butter on BOTH sides with jam in the middle).

3) Mix the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon in a large bowl.  Dip the sandwiches in the eggs mixture

If you've decided to crust your sandwiches with oatmeal à la Michael Smith, do this after they've been soaked in the eggs and milk.

4) Melt the butter in your frying pan, then add the sandwiches.  Fry slowly (be patient!) until they are golden brown, then flip them over and do the same on the other side.

That’s all there is to it…your stuffed French toast is now complete!  If you’d like, you can top them with syrup to complete the brunch effect, but they’re just as delicious without.

PB & J Stuffed French Toast: a new twist on a classic sandwich.
The great thing about this particular recipe is that once you've got the method down you can really stuff anything you want into your French toast…it doesn't have to be PB&J!  Chef Michael suggests mixing jam with cream cheese and using this as a filling and as a cheesecake lover,
I am definitely going to give that a try.  You can also experiment with other combinations of nut butter/sweet filling…almond butter with honey perhaps, or Nutella with bananas!  The possibilities are endless, and delicious!

For more information, check out Michael Smith's recipe and video.

Caroline Lyster is a graduate student with far too much free time on her hands, most of which she spends in the kitchen. As of right now she lives in Montreal, but now that she has finished her Masters she will soon be off to start a new adventure in a new city (with her giant box of cookbooks in tow). She is the author of Cooking=Love, though the blog is currently on hiatus as she has been quite busy finishing her thesis...she's done now, so be on the lookout for new posts featuring delicious (and mostly healthy) recipes, as well as little tips and tricks to get you cooking more often!

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