I have been kitchen-frozen for months, ever since my cake mixer died on me and family powers decreed a replacement only after the Alevels. Total bummer when almost everything sweet & indulgent calls for creaming, whipping, fluffing, or all.
One sunday morning i crawled out of bed thinking what can be made without gadget-aided batters or crazy tedious hand-work.... What else but french toasts?Undemandingly fuss-free yet still sweet and indulging~
I hopped out of syrup-and-butter comfort zone to give it a handy french-fry cut and impromptu chocolate dip. It's almost like a fondue concept so user-friendly, that even Ya Kun is offering similar dip-&-eat kaya breadsticks.
What really surprised was how well the spiced chocolate dip turned out. It was a spur-of-the-moment decision to infuse cinnamon & star anise into semi-sweet chocolate but they really proved their merits. I love the sweet woodsy scent of cinnamon barks and i can't seem to get enough of it. Alas a few drops of aromatic orange oil... and you're on your way to a new french toast treat!
My belief for french toasts is the thicker the better... which explains why Hongkong-style french toasts are such a hit. If the bread used is too thin, you're likely to get dense flatty sheets after the egg batter seeps through. I prefer using enriched versions, like a milk bread or premium bakery loaf.
This is my own anytime, anyhow recipe. The proportions are adjustable depending on how sweet/thick/rich you like your toasts to be, so play around to find your perfect batter. Just remember to go easy on the star anise... A little goes a long way!
French Toast Sticks with Warm Spiced Chocolate Dip
makes 16 sticks
4 slices THICK white bread (i used Breadtalk's premium loaf)
2 large eggs
100ml fresh milk
3 tbsp fine sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
(Spiced chocolate dip)
150g semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
2 cinnamon sticks
1 star anise clove
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup whipping cream
20g butter, cubed
2-3 drops orange oil
Cut each slice of bread square into 3 or 4 equal sticks. Beat the eggs, milk and sugar together into a smooth batter. Stir in the vanilla essence. The consistency can be adjusted by reducing or adding more milk.
Heat a flat, heavy-bottomed pan over low-medium flame and lightly grease the surface with butter. Dip the bread sticks into the egg mixture and ensure all four sides are evenly coated (Do not soak the bread. Remove them quickly once its sides have absorbed sufficient batter). Pan-fry on each side until lightly browned and bread lifts easily, about 1-2 minutes per surface.
For the dip: Place the whipping cream, cinnamon sticks & star anise in a saucepan and warm over low careful heat. Take off the flame, cover with lid and leave to infuse for at least 30 minutes.
Strain away the spices and gently reheat cream. Add in the chopped chocolate and cinnamon powder, stirring frequently to prevent lumps. Once all the chocolate have melted, drop in the butter one cube at a time & add some orange oil. Mix well into a smooth, glossy dip.
Dunk in & enjoy!
Yay the baking hiatus is coming to an end... already awaiting my new cake mixer! Will be sticking to stand mixer for now until my uncle in Vancouver finds me a good KitchenAid deal & figure how to ship it over haha. Let's just pray my oven doesn't decide to go on a strike too.