IMG_1527.jpg

Ciao!

Welcome to my blog!  Here, I document my adventures in booze, yummy cuisine & exotic or not so exotic travel.

Triple bourbon peach pecan french toast sandwiches

Triple bourbon peach pecan french toast sandwiches

So this post encompasses not only a few foods I constantly crave, but it reminds me of a wonderfully fun trip with some fabulous friends.  This rich and decadent french toast was inspired by a girl’s weekend last summer I enjoyed with two of my sorority sisters.

I don’t know how I got fortunate enough to have such wonderful, caring friends throughout all phases of my life but two of those friends I made in college were Becca and Brandi.  We were sorority sisters at THE Ohio State University and believe me, we had fun together.  At times, maybe too much fun (but that is another not really appropriate blog post).  But like many relationships, we grew apart as our lives diverged in various parts of the country.  Luckily though, we were reunited on Facebook and last summer after discussing our mutual love of all things bourbon, decided to plan a girls’ weekend in Louisville.  Fortunately, Brandi is a hometown Louisville girl and planned an incredible weekend for all us.  Our time in Louisville was magical - it was like we just picked up where we had left off 15 years earlier.  Brandi showed us her town and it’s incredible food scene and we drank bourbon.  A lot of bourbon.  Really an appalling amount of bourbon chased by bourbon balls until we could eat and drink no more.  We visited a half dozen places on the bourbon trail, ate some amazing dinners and laughed like we were still in college.  Since that visit, I have added cooking with bourbon into my repertoire so I present you with my triple bourbon peach pecan french toast sandwiches.

Breakfast.  I agree with Ron Swanson to ‘bring me all the bacon and eggs you have’ but I also crave sweets at breakfast time.  If J.J.’s waffles aren’t available, I will gladly take these easy but impressive french toast sandwiches.  And if you have not tried the trinity that is bourbon, pecans and peaches, this is your opportunity.  I love stuffed french toasts - I have a s’mores one that will definitely be making a blog appearance sometime, a peanut butter and jelly toast and of course, strawberries and nutella.  I adore stuffed, squishy, gooey, dripplingly warm french toast.  But I hate stuffing french toast.  I can never cut the bread correctly and the filling is always spilling out, so I figured one day to just make sandwiches and it was a breakthrough.  It is so much more simple - just spread your fillings on one slice and put it together with a matching slice.  So, so easy.  You can use this technique (and I do) with any of your favorite stuffed french toasts.  I am also not a fan of soggy french toasts, I still want the bread to have a little chew (al dente, if you will) so I do not soak mine for very long - but do so, if that is your preference.  

You may have noticed the name...TRIPLE bourbon french toast.  First of all, you are welcome.  Second, let me explain how you acquire the yummy items that can take this french toast to the next level.  One Louisville find that Brandi introduced us to was the http://bourbonbarrelfoods.com/ bourbon barrel foods company where they encourage to ‘eat your bourbon’.  Yes, please.  They specialize in producing a variety of foods that have been aged in used bourbon barrels so that a wonderfully smoky, warm, oaky flavor infuses all of their amazing products.  I grabbed as many as I could fit in my suitcase and since then they have become staples in my cooking - their vanilla (which I use in this recipe), their bourbon smoked sugars and spices and soy and worcestershire sauces are better than any you have had before.  I almost cried when I ran out of my bourbon vanilla the first time but luckily for me, my local liquor store http://www.redstoneliquors.com/ carries  their products or you can order online.  You don’t have to use these products but if you can they will add a deeper and more pronounced flavor than what you can buy at the regular old grocery store and truly make this a triple bourbon french toast.  If this is your first foray into baking with bourbon, welcome...your life is about to change!

Ingredients:

8 thin (but not too thin so they fall apart) slices Challah bread - either day old or lightly toasted

For egg dip:
¼ cup bourbon
2 tsp. Bourbon Madacasgar vanilla extract ( find it at http://bourbonbarrelfoods.com/shop/bourbon-madagascar-vanilla-extract/)
½ cup milk
¼ cup heavy cream
2 large eggs
½ tsp. cinnamon
10 scrapes of fresh nutmeg
⅛ tsp. allspice
¼ tsp. kosher salt
¼ cup brown sugar
½ tsp. orange zest

For filling:
½ cup whipped cream cheese (if you want it sweeter, mix with 1 tsp. powdered sugar)
½ cup good peach jam (or fresh peaches if in season - but add a little sugar to them)

For coating:
1 ½ cups finely chopped pecans (use your food processor to save time!)

Bourbon whipped cream:
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp. Powdered sugar (or to taste, more or less depending on how sweet you like it)
1 tsp. Bourbon (optional)
1 tsp. orange zest (optional)

Toppings:
Local maple syrup
http://bourbonbarrelfoods.com/shop/bourbon-vanilla-sugar/
Powdered sugar
Mint sprig

Directions:
Prepare the Challah bread first.  Make sure it is either a little hard or lightly toasted.
Turn on your electric griddle to 350. (Or just warm up a skillet on your stove top).
Mix all egg dip ingredients together in a large bowl.  Use a large bowl so that you can dip the sandwiches in there.
Place the pecan coating in a shallow dish
Choose 4 pieces of bread.  Coat each piece with your whipped cream cheese (mixed with powdered sugar, if desired) and your peach jam.  Match each piece with filling to a piece without filling and slight smash together to make a sandwich.
Take each sandwich a dip it in your egg batter.  I do not like soggy french toast so I do not leave it dipped for too long...perhaps 10 seconds on each side.  Shake any excess off the sandwich.
Coat the sandwich in the pecan pieces on all sides and lightly push the pecans down.  
Put each coated sandwich (there should be 4 total) on your electric griddle and toast for about 5-7 minutes.
When one side is lightly brown (you should be able to smell the pecans browning), flip it over to the other side and place a piece of aluminum foil over the sandwich.  This will help melt the jam and cream cheese better.
While your sandwiches are toasting, make your Bourbon whipped cream.  Put all ingredients into a mixer, Vitamix or mix by hand.  Test for sweetness and add more powdered sugar for more sweetness or more heavy cream for less.
When sandwiches are done on both sides, remove to a plate.
Top with your bourbon whipped cream, maple syrup and bourbon vanilla sugar.  Don’t forget a mint sprig if you are trying to be fancy...
Eat immediately!

So this post encompasses not only a few foods I constantly crave, but it reminds me of a wonderfully fun trip with some fabulous friends.  This rich and decadent french toast was inspired by a girl’s weekend last summer I enjoyed with two of my sorority sisters.

I don’t know how I got fortunate enough to have such wonderful, caring friends throughout all phases of my life but two of those friends I made in college were Becca and Brandi.  We were sorority sisters at THE Ohio State University and believe me, we had fun together.  At times, maybe too much fun (but that is another not really appropriate blog post).  But like many relationships, we grew apart as our lives diverged in various parts of the country.  Luckily though, we were reunited on Facebook and last summer after discussing our mutual love of all things bourbon, decided to plan a girls’ weekend in Louisville.  Fortunately, Brandi is a hometown Louisville girl and planned an incredible weekend for all us.  Our time in Louisville was magical - it was like we just picked up where we had left off 15 years earlier.  Brandi showed us her town and it’s incredible food scene and we drank bourbon.  A lot of bourbon.  Really an appalling amount of bourbon chased by bourbon balls until we could eat and drink no more.  We visited a half dozen places on the bourbon trail, ate some amazing dinners and laughed like we were still in college.  Since that visit, I have added cooking with bourbon into my repertoire so I present you with my triple bourbon peach pecan french toast sandwiches.

Breakfast.  I agree with Ron Swanson to ‘bring me all the bacon and eggs you have’ but I also crave sweets at breakfast time.  If J.J.’s waffles aren’t available, I will gladly take these easy but impressive french toast sandwiches.  And if you have not tried the trinity that is bourbon, pecans and peaches, this is your opportunity.  I love stuffed french toasts - I have a s’mores one that will definitely be making a blog appearance sometime, a peanut butter and jelly toast and of course, strawberries and nutella.  I adore stuffed, squishy, gooey, dripplingly warm french toast.  But I hate stuffing french toast.  I can never cut the bread correctly and the filling is always spilling out, so I figured one day to just make sandwiches and it was a breakthrough.  It is so much more simple - just spread your fillings on one slice and put it together with a matching slice.  So, so easy.  You can use this technique (and I do) with any of your favorite stuffed french toasts.  I am also not a fan of soggy french toasts, I still want the bread to have a little chew (al dente, if you will) so I do not soak mine for very long - but do so, if that is your preference.  

You may have noticed the name...TRIPLE bourbon french toast.  First of all, you are welcome.  Second, let me explain how you acquire the yummy items that can take this french toast to the next level.  One Louisville find that Brandi introduced us to was the http://bourbonbarrelfoods.com/ bourbon barrel foods company where they encourage to ‘eat your bourbon’.  Yes, please.  They specialize in producing a variety of foods that have been aged in used bourbon barrels so that a wonderfully smoky, warm, oaky flavor infuses all of their amazing products.  I grabbed as many as I could fit in my suitcase and since then they have become staples in my cooking - their vanilla (which I use in this recipe), their bourbon smoked sugars and spices and soy and worcestershire sauces are better than any you have had before.  I almost cried when I ran out of my bourbon vanilla the first time but luckily for me, my local liquor store http://www.redstoneliquors.com/ carries  their products or you can order online.  You don’t have to use these products but if you can they will add a deeper and more pronounced flavor than what you can buy at the regular old grocery store and truly make this a triple bourbon french toast.  If this is your first foray into baking with bourbon, welcome...your life is about to change!

 

Brown sugar, balsamic & brown butter strawberry pie

Brown sugar, balsamic & brown butter strawberry pie

Concord, Massachusetts

Concord, Massachusetts