Almond Maple French Toast

Almond Maple French Toast
by Susie Heller
Simple Feast

1 hour total time
1 hour active time
Easy

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This French toast has become a favorite of my family so when my kids come to visit, I’ll get them ready the day before and serve them freshly made in the morning. It’s very easy but is a cut above other French toast recipes I’ve tried over the years. The secret is the surprise of a creamy filling.

Cooking note: When I can get it, I buy a Pullman loaf of bread and slice it myself.

Ingredients
Eighteen 3/8-inch slices white bread
6-ounces almond paste, at room temperature
6-ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 tablespoon maple syrup, plus additional for serving
8 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, or more as needed
2 tablespoons canola oil, or more as needed

Trim the crusts from the bread and put them in the bowl of a food processor with two of the slices of bread. Process to fine breadcrumbs. Remove from the bowl and reserve.

Put the almond paste, cream cheese and maple syrup in the processor bowl and mix until smooth. Remove and reserve.

Spread the cream cheese mixture over 8 slices of the bread and top with the remaining slices, forming 8 sandwiches. Slice each sandwich on the diagonal. You can continue to cook the French toast or wrap the sandwiches in plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

To complete: Put a cooling rack over a baking sheet and place in the oven. Preheat the oven to 250˚F.  Line a second baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk the eggs, milk and vanilla together and pour it into a shallow bowl. Put the breadcrumbs in a second shallow bowl.

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Dip both sides of each sandwich into the egg mixture, allowing a minute for the mixture to absorb and letting the any excess drip back into the bowl. Dip the sandwiches into the breadcrumbs to coat all sides. Quickly dip in the egg mixture a second time. Place on the parchment-lined baking sheet and continue to coat all the pieces.

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Heat half the butter and oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add enough sandwiches to fit comfortably, without touching, to the pan. The butter and oil should come slightly up the sides of the French toast as it cooks. If not, add more butter and oil as needed. Cook for about 3 minutes per side, turning to brown the short sides as well.  Transfer to the baking sheet in the oven. Add the remaining butter and oil to the pan and cook the remaining pieces. Serve warm with additional maple syrup if you’d like.

Equipment
Food processor
Baking Sheet
Cooling Rack
Non-Stick Skillet

Susie Heller is part of Simple Feast, an app that hosts an amazing community of Chefs and their delicious recipes. To view more recipes go to Simple Feast.

Almond-Quinoa Pancake

Cruz
Almond-Quinoa Pancakes  

by Dave Cruz
Simple Feast

Makes 20 pancakes
50 minutes total time
35 minutes active time
Easy, Kid Friendly

These are tender, with a crumb that’s a little cakey. Red quinoa flour gives the pancakes a darker look than white quinoa would, and its flavor isn’t overly nutty. The batter will keep in the refrigerator for a few days, and since the pancakes are even better after the batter has rested overnight, this is a great recipe to make in advance and have ready for a leisurely brunch or breakfast. If you are serving with coconut cream, make the cream the day before serving to allow it time to chill.

Cooking Notes
To make your own gluten-free flour for this recipe, use 85 grams of brown rice flour, 50 grams of sweet rice flour, and 68 grams of tapioca flour. You may use a commercial gluten-free flour blend instead.

Red quinoa flour can be hard to find. You can grind your own in a large spice grinder, enough for a few batches of pancake batter if you like. You may also substitute equal parts white quinoa flour by weight instead.

Ingredients
1 ¼ cups gluten free flour
½ cup red quinoa, finely ground
¾ cup almond meal
¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons coconut sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
2 ¼ cups almond milk, plus more as needed
1 vanilla bean or 1tablespoon vanilla paste
¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted, at room temperature
Vegetable oil
Maple syrup, optional
Dave’s Coconut Cream, optional (recipe follows)

Directions
Combine the dry ingredients.

In a separate mixing bowl, beat together the eggs and egg yolks, followed by the almond milk. Scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean or add the vanilla paste and whisk again.

 Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well.

While whisking, drizzle in the coconut oil. Let rest for 15 minutes at room temperature or refrigerate up to overnight.

Heat a griddle or large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Using a paper towel, add a thin film of vegetable oil.

Using a 2-ounce ladle or ¼ cup measuring cup, scoop the batter onto the griddle. It will spread to 5- to 6-inches. (If the pancake doesn’t spread, loosen the remaining batter with a little almond milk.) Let cook on the first side until beginning to bubble and golden brown, about 1 minute. Flip the pancakes over and cook until golden and cooked through in the center, 45 seconds to 1 minute more.

The pancakes are best served right away, but can also be held in a warm oven at 200˚F. Serve with maple syrup or a dollop of coconut cream, if you like.

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Equipment
Large spice grinder
Whisk
Griddle or non-stick pan
2-ounce ladle or ¼ cup measuring cup
Non-stick spatula
Paring knife

Dave Cruz is part of Simple Feast, an app that hosts an amazing community of Chefs and their delicious recipes. To view more recipes go to Simple Feast.

Dave’s Coconut Cream

Makes 1 batch
6 hours 20 minutes total time
20 minutes active time

Ingredients
3 cups unsweetened coconut milk, full fat
1 ¼ teaspoons agar agar
3 tablespoons maple sugar
Pinch kosher salt
1 vanilla bean or 1 tablespoon vanilla paste

Directions
Stir the coconut milk and pour it into a large saucepan and whisk in the agar agar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently, about 5 minutes.

 Remove from the heat and strain through a fine-mesh strainer into an 8-inch square baking dish or other baking dish that will hold the liquid in a thin layer. Press plastic wrap directly on the surface to keep a skin from forming and refrigerate for at least 6 hours, but preferably overnight.

Transfer the coconut mixture to a high-powered blender and add the maple sugar and salt. Scrape in the seeds from the vanilla bean or add the vanilla paste. Blend on high until very smooth.

Makes about 2 ½ cups. The coconut cream will hold in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Equipment
8-inch baking dish
Fine-mesh strainer
Blender
Scale (if making the gluten-free flour)

Dave Cruz is part of Simple Feast, an app that hosts an amazing community of Chefs and their delicious recipes. To view more recipes go to Simple Feast.

Strawberry Fresca Smoothie

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Strawberry Fresca Smoothie
by Dave Cruz
Simple Feast

Makes 1
1 hour total time
10 minutes active time

We change smoothies from season to season at my restaurant, Little Gem, based on what fruits are available. This one gets its body from using both frozen and fresh strawberries, plus a little chia pudding.

Ingredients

Chia Pudding
2 teaspoons chia seeds
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon almond milk

Smoothie      
8 medium strawberries
1 medium strawberry, frozen
1 ½ tablespoons lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 teaspoons lime juice, freshly squeezed
2 teaspoons agave syrup

Directions
To Make the Chia Pudding

Put the chia in a small bowl or ramekin and whisk in the almond milk. Refrigerate for until thickened, about 2 hours.  The chia pudding can be made up to 2 days ahead.

To Make the Smoothie

Put the chia pudding and the remaining ingredients in a high-powered blender and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Dave Cruz is part of Simple Feast, an app that hosts an amazing community of Chefs and their delicious recipes. To view more recipes go to Simple Feast.

Equipment
Blender
Citrus press (juicer)
Small whisk