The weekend rained off all of our snow. When the twins woke up this morning, Alyss was definitively unhappy about it. "It's, like, December and now there's no snow? What a rip off."
If you're gonna get the dreary grey doldrums of winter, the least one can hope for is powdery white glitter frosting the ground.
Thankfully, we can escape to the mountains in 23 minutes flat. A short drive up East Canyon, which lies behind out home is a vortex to winter wonderland.
We threw ourselves in the car yesterday morning, spent the day nordic skate skiing beneath powdered frosting trees, past peanut brittle ponds, over rustic pretzel bridges.
And if that sounds totally over the top, it's just the way Utah is in the winter. #kidyounot
But to enjoy it, you have to get outside. (I didn't used to know this. I spent 33 1/2 years of my life as an unrelenting winter hater. Until I finally gave in, bought myself a down puffy, and figured I'd have to learn to live with winter if I wanted to survive this place. So glad I did. Winter is one of my favorite seasons now.)
We're normally out and about early on winter weekend mornings. But yesterdays snowy shenanigans started late. Because I woke with a mad fit of French Toast ideaifying. Which, if you know me, is like a creative crack addiction Once a recipe idea pops into the brain, I'm an aimless mess until I can stand in the kitchen and start playing with food.
And so, Hukee the BF waiting patiently in his snow pants while I pulled together breakfast.
It all started with Christmas Pannetone. You know the Italian cake you see in those big beautiful boxes? We'd purchased them once when I was a younger version of myself, and I thought they were weird. Not cakey at all. More like if fruit cake had a baby with yeast bread. All those years back, I relegated pannetone to "weird traditions I can't understand."
But today, Pannetone French Toast started calling. Begging for an amaretto custard and candied almond crust. To be topped, of course, with nothing less than rosemary butter and Luxardo Cherry Syrup.
Because, this is an insanely obvious way to breakfast, amiright.
Though the flavors of this dish are varied, the recipe itself comes together quick.
A quick pan toasting of rosemary. A stir together of the syrup. Then battering the pannetone and skillet cooking until golden.
And though the pannetone starts out with sweet, yeasty cake, the salted custard batter beautifully balanced the sweetness. The rosemary butter comes in and kisses your face with a touch of subtle herby mellowness. And the Luxardo syrup.
I mean. Guys.
Luxardo syrup? Have you ever imagined such decadent perfection in your life?
Whenever we go out cocktailing, I beg the bartender for one extra cherry. Because one of these candied delights at the bottom of a cocktail is never enough. The bartender is usually begrudging. Luxardo cherries ring in at nearly $1 a pop per cherry. So bars keep 'em on lockdown.
But in my own kitchen, with my own rubied jar of them, I can toss in two of six or 17 of them into syrup. And oh, it it worth every penny.
Still, Luxardo cherries are like jewels. Don't overdo it. 2 or 3 per French Toast plate is plenty. Part of the joy of this breakfast is having every bite arrive in your mouth with all new flavors and wonders. Chewy candied orange rinds from the cake. Rosemary butter. A mouthful of golden bread. A single gleamy cherry.
We served ours with chicken sausage from Trader Joe's to add even more savory flavor on the side. It was perfection.
Then ski pants on, coffee in hand, we climbed into the car and headed into the canyon. Bellies happy, hearts festive, Luxardo cherries dancing in our dreams.
Or, you know, whatever happens to Luxardo cherries when you take 'em out of your cocktails and drizzle them over the most perfect Christmas French Toast everever.
See? Winter. It is wonderful.
Pannetone French Toast with Rosemary Butter & Luxardo Cherry Syrup
Makes 8-10 slices | 15 min prep | 25 min total
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary leaves, very finely chopped
- 1/2 cup salted butter, softened
- 1/4 cup organic powdered sugar
- 1/4 cup Luxardo cherries in syrup
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 (26.5 oz) box Pannetone Italian Christmas Cake
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 heavy cream
- 3 Tbsp amaretto (or 1/2 teaspoon almond extract)
- pinch salt
- 1/3 cup sliced almonds
- 1 Tbsp organic sugar
- coconut oil spray
Heat a small saucepan to medium-high, toss in rosemary. Toast for 20-30 seconds, or just until rosemary becomes aromatic. Remove from heat. Transfer to a medium bowl with butter and powdered sugar. Whip until fluffy. Place in fridge until ready to serve.
Wipe the saucepan clean. Place Luxardo and maple syrup in the pot. Heat just until warm. Cover and set aside until ready to serve.
With a serrated knife, slice Pannetone into 1" thick slices, cutting each on the diagonal (since the cake is soft, I found it worked best to keep the pieces smaller. Plus: perfect size for serving, so diagonal 'em up). In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, cream, amaretto and salt.
Heat a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Spray with coconut oil spray. When pan is hot, dip french toast slices in egg mixture. (For best results when cooking, dip just the tops of bread, trying to avoid the center of the piece, which can get gooey and hard to cook if too dipped.) Place dipped toast slice in hot pan. Spread slice almonds across the top, sprinkle with a half teaspoon of sugar, spray with a slight coating of coconut oil spray. When bottom side is golden brown, gently flip French bread, cook until golden. Transfer to serving plate. For best results, cook only one to two slices of bread at a time.
Serve with rosemary butter and Luxardo syrup.