How to Make the Best Cinnamon Toast

The classic comfort food gets a crackly, caramelized upgrade from Raquel Pelzel, the author of the bread lover's compendium Toast: The Cookbook.
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Photo By: Heather Ramsdell ©Food Network 2016

Photo By: Heather Ramsdell ©Food Network 2016

Photo By: Heather Ramsdell ©Food Network 2016

Photo By: Heather Ramsdell ©Food Network 2016

Photo By: Heather Ramsdell ©Food Network 2016

Photo By: Heather Ramsdell ©Food Network 2016

Photo By: Heather Ramsdell ©Food Network 2016

Sugar Love

"Toast is one of the first things every person learns how to make — especially cinnamon sugar toast," says cookbook author Raquel Pelzel. "It's the elemental toast." Omitting it from her book was unthinkable. But coming up with a recipe was harder than she thought. "I asked myself, 'How do I make cinnamon sugar toast better than it already is? Because it's already pretty perfect.'" The answer: cinnamon simple syrup. The sweet liquid helps caramelize the outside and creates a custardy interior. Pelzel stopped by Food Network Kitchen to show us how she makes the ultimate version of this childhood favorite.

 

Photography by Heather Ramsdell

Get the Recipe: Best Cinnamon Toast

Butter Up

"I like to toast buttered bread," says Pelzel, slathering both sides of each slice before applying it to heat. Instead of using a toaster, she prefers to pan-fry bread or brown it under the broiler or on a grill. "I like the inconsistency of the char," she explains.

Brush with Syrup

To amp up the flavor, Pelzel uses cinnamon simple syrup in addition to the usual cinnamon sugar. She simmers cinnamon sticks with sugar and water for about 5 minutes, lets the mixture cool and then brushes it on one side of each piece of toast. "Don't oversaturate or you'll risk sogging out," she warns. Leftover syrup is excellent in cocktails and homemade chai.

Dip It

Pelzel presses the sticky, syrupy side of her toast onto a plate of cinnamon sugar, making sure to coat the bread thoroughly.

Prepare to Pan-Fry

For the second round of cooking, Pelzel adds a generous 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter to a large skillet. "You're looking for the sizzle," she says.

Under Pressure

After she adds the toast sugared-side down to the skillet, Pelzel tops it with a plate. "I want to weigh it down so you get an even caramelization across the surface of the bread," she says. She turns down the heat: "Lower and slower is the way to go so you don't burn the sugar."

The Perfect Texture

"The toast is done when it's nice and cooked across the surface," says Pelzel. "It's browned in spots — you want the sugar to melt and crackle!"

White Out

Serve the toast with some reserved cinnamon sugar and a dusting of confectioners' sugar. Pro trick: Use a fine-mesh strainer to sift the sugar directly over the dish.

Ready to Make Your Own?

Check out Pelzel's full recipe for Best Cinnamon Toast. If you want to try something savory, her Cheesy Pepperoni Butter Toast with homemade pepperoni butter is a winner.  

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