Cinnamon Toast for Santa’s Helpers

December 22nd, 2009 / Comments 4

Last December, after I had mailed out the final gift boxes of cookies to friends, I realized that I had forgotten to save cookies to serve to Christmas Eve visitors and any of Santa’s helpers who might stop by.

Pt Peace Bell c egbert copy 314x305 Cinnamon Toast for Santas Helpers

Out of time, frosting and cookie-baking energy, I wondered if the adage, “less is more” was true and then I remembered my breakfast in bed at the Colony Club twenty years earlier.

Pt Four girls c egbert Cinnamon Toast for Santas Helpers

The Colony Club, established in 1902, was the first social club for women in New York City. It is an elegant and very private club with members whose last names range from Astor to Whitney. I spent a weekend there as the guest of my friend Jean. She was my guide in the culinary world and to the rarified dining of the Colony Club. As we planned my trip to New York, she took me under her wing and insisted that my day begin with “perfect Colony Club cinnamon toast” served on a tray in my bedroom. Perfect cinnamon toast? I had my doubts but Jean was a Manhattan matron with a sophisticated palate who was not to be denied. She ordered my breakfast, it was perfect and I’ve never thought of cinnamon toast in the same way since. Inspired by that memory I decided that Colony Club Cinnamon toast would be perfect Christmas Eve treat. Here’s how I made it:

Colony Club Cinnamon Toast

I mixed one tablespoon of fresh cinnamon with three tablespoons of granulated sugar. The toast began as a fresh, crusty baguette. I cut it on the diagonal into three-quarter inch thick slices, used the oven broiler to toast the bread until it was golden and then spread it with a generous layer of unsalted butter. The melting butter was topped with a very generous layer, nearly a quarter of an inch, of cinnamon sugar. Perfect cinnamon toast, served on my most beautiful china plate and accompanied with a starched linen napkin delighted my most discerning guest.

Since then, I have made other spice sugars. I make small quantities so that the flavor lasts as long as the spice sugar does. The ratio is always the same, one-tablespoon of freshly ground spice and three tablespoons of granulated sugar. I label and store it in small jars with a shaker tops. I have used cinnamon, allspice, ginger, and a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg and ground cloves. The spicy sugar is a tasty addition to applesauce and it makes apple pies sparkle when sprinkled onto the unbaked top crust that has been painted with a tablespoon of milk. It turns sugar cookies into spice cookies and I have served it instead of syrup with French toast.

Chocolate Toast was a more recent discovery. Chocolate sugar gave toast a lush taste and transformed ordinary coffee into chic mocha. I used confectioners’ sugar rather than granulated sugar for this combo. Here’s how I made it.

Chocolate Sugar

I sifted together two parts of confectioners’ sugar with one part of cocoa and stored it in a jar with an airtight lid so that it wouldn’t absorb moisture.  I made the toast with soft white bread rather than crusty bread and it was sublime when topped with strawberry jam.

Pt two mugs c egbert Cinnamon Toast for Santas Helpers

I made hot chocolate from scratch with Dutch processed cocoa, sugar, water and fresh, local milk. I sweetened it with a minimum of sugar and didn’t add any of the unpronounceable additives that are included in instant hot chocolate mixes. Here’s how I made it:

Hot Chocolate

I mixed two tablespoons of sugar, two tablespoons of cocoa and one tablespoon of very hot water in a large mug. Then I stirred in one cup of steaming whole milk and served it immediately. Since it was Christmas Eve, I topped each serving with whipped cream and a light sprinkle of cinnamon sugar. Everyone agreed that sometimes less is quite delicious.

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Cinnamon Toast List

  • bread
  • unsalted butter
  • granulated sugar
  • cinnamon
  • ginger
  • allspice
  • cocoa
  • confectioners’ sugar
  • milk heavy cream
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