Cook's Illustrated is one of my favorite food magazines. It is like attending culinary school in each edition. It is filled with so many tips, techniques and illustrations that are sure to help you feel more comfortable in the kitchen. Hint Hint Mrs. E...this is for you!!!!
Now I only recently discovered Cook's Illustrated but I quickly mailed in my subscription so I wouldn't miss an issue. No more US Magazine. Of course Mr. Foodie was happy about that. He clearly finds Cook's Illustrated more useful than my shamefully addicting gossip magazines. He's just lucky I'm wildly fascinated by the contents of Cook's Illustrated.
The magazine prides itself on sharing the best methods for home cooked meals. It includes articles providing reviews of household kitchen appliances and everyday ingredients found in the kitchen. Everything is tested and sampled, several times over, at America's Test Kitchen. This is the same test kitchen which has a syndicated television show on PBS. I haven't checked out the show yet, but if it's anything like the magazine, I can only imagine how quickly I'll become addicted to it. It sounds absolutely fascinating. If I was willing to move to the Boston area, I'd definitely look into some type of internship there.
That french toast pictured above is what convinced me to buy my first Cook's Illustrated. The article was entitled "Really Good French Toast". Mr. Foodie loves breakfast and swears he makes the best breakfast food. A little secret about me, although I just enjoy cooking, I'm extremely competitive. When I saw the article with a recipe for "Really Good French Toast" with a caption that said "for french toast that's crisp on the outside and soft - not soggy - on the inside, you need to do more than just throw milk, eggs, and bread into a bowl", I knew I scored.
Although it requires a few more steps than some french toast recipes, it is so worth it. To me, one of the keys to good french toast is a nice, thick slice of bread. I use challah bread. The french toast also needs to have a nice coating of egg mixture without it being to soggy.
And let me tell you, this recipe has been fool-proof each time I've made it. Mr. Foodie won't give up his crown quite yet, but he does admit that he has to share it. Those chefs at America's Test Kitchen did such a great job with this one, it's no wonder I can't wait to try their other recipes. I also highly recommend you scoot on over to cooksillustrated.com where you can get a free trail offer. Trust me, you will enjoy it. And while you're waiting on your magazine to arrive, start by trying this simple recipe for "Really Good French Toast".
French Toast (serves 4) *I cut the recipe in half for 2*
8 large slices of hearty whit bread or good quality challah bread
1 1/2 cups whole milk, warmed (I used 2% milk and it seemed fine)
3 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 2 tablespoons for cooking
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Maple syrup and powdered sugar for serving
Heat oven to 300 degrees. Place bread on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Bake bread until almost dry throughout, about 16 minutes (approximately 8 minutes if cutting recipe in half), flipping slices halfway through cooking. This helps reduce the sogginess of the bread. Remove bread from wire rack and let cool 5 minutes. Return baking sheet with wire rack to oven and reduce temperature to 200 degrees (this is to keep the french toast warm once it has been cooked)
Whisk warmed milk, egg yolks, sugar, cinnamon, 2 tablespoons melted butter, salt and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended. Transfer mixture to 13-by-9 inch baking pan (I left the mixture in the bowl and dipped the french toast individually)
Soak the bread slices in milk mixture until saturated but not falling apart, 20 seconds per side. Using firm slotted spatula (or tongs), pick up the bread slice and allow excess milk mixture to drip off; repeat with the remaining slices. Place the soaked bread on another baking sheet or platter.
Heat 1/2 tablespoon butter in 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. When foaming subsides, use spatula (tongs) to transfer 2 slices of soaked bread to the skillet at a time.
Cook until golden brown, 3-4 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until second side is golden brown, 3-4 minutes longer. (If toast is cooking too quickly, reduce temperature slightly) Transfer to baking sheet in oven. Wipe out skillet with paper towels. Repeat cooking with remaining bread, 2 pieces at a time, adding 1/2 teaspoon of butter for each batch.
adapted by Cook's Illustrated
Serve warm, with maple syrup and powdered sugar