Breakfast in bed has never been a Mother’s Day tradition around our house, but Rich and Calvin do the lion’s share of cooking on one of the days of Mother’s Day weekend. This year I am asking for filled croissants from a local French bakery for breakfast, but if you don’t have such a bakery around the corner, you could try Cinnamon Toast. And serve it to mom (or grandma, or yourself) in bed, if you do such things around your house.
When we were first married and I asked Rich if he wanted me to make him cinnamon toast for breakfast one Saturday, he looked at me as if I were nuts. He wondered why that would be a special breakfast, since it was just cinnamon sugar on buttered toast. Ah, he had never had my mother’s cinnamon toast, which of course, I thought was the way everyone made it.
Mom’s cinnamon toast starts with softened or melted butter to which you add brown sugar, honey and a lot of cinnamon. Then you spread this heavenly mixture on your bread and bake it or toast it in a toaster oven until the topping is bubbly and the kitchen smells like cinnamon. Now that is a breakfast treat – gooey, sweet and buttery. And it is easy enough that kids can make it, with a little supervision to avoid hot melted sugar burning onto the bottom of the oven, or somebody’s fingers.
There was never a written recipe, and Mom always just eyeballed the ingredients until she had a texture she liked. I’ll make a stab at a recipe, but you will have to adjust amounts to your own tastes. You really can’t go wrong unless you add too much honey, which can compete with the cinnamon. You probably have all the ingredients in the house already, but do take a whiff and make sure your cinnamon is nice and fragrant and not too old. That never happens around here, where we go through cinnamon like it is going out of style, but if you use cinnamon like a normal person, check it since you are making CinnamonToast after all.
Mom’s Cinnamon Toast
from The Cook’s Life
serves 2-3, easy to double
All measurements are approximate. You might have to adjust them a little to suit your tastes. Use 4 of bread slices if you want a thick layer of topping, six if you want a thinner layer (I prefer using 4 to get a nice, decadent, thick layer of cinnamon mixture).
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2-3 teaspoons honey (clover or other light honey)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4-6 slices bread (anything but Wonder Bread or really grainy whole grain bread, you want middle-of-the-road bread, not too soft or too full of grain bits)
Preheat the oven or a toaster oven to 425 degrees. If your butter is right out of the fridge, warm it in the microwave for about 30 seconds at 50% power until it is softened and partially melted. If you melt it all the way by mistake it will still work just fine.
Add the brown sugar, honey and cinnamon and mix with a spoon or spatula.
Add a bit more brown sugar if the butter is oozing around the edges of the mixture. You are looking for a wet and grainy paste that will spread on the bread.
Spread the mixture on the bread and place the slices on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven or toaster oven for 5-6 minutes, or until the topping is bubbly and the edges of the bread are starting to toast.
Remove from the oven and let cool on the pan for 5 minutes, or until the topping is a little less like molten lava. Cut each slice of cinnamon toast into triangles before serving. Serve with fresh fruit on the side to cut the sweetness a bit. And don’t forget the hot coffee or tea. If you are making breakfast for mom or another special someone, add whatever nice touches you can think of – cloth napkins and placemats, a flower or pretty dishes that don’t get used very often.