Hubs and I have a love/hate relationship when it comes to cooking.
In the past couple of months, it’s definitely been more love than hate. He’s been super helpful – only adding advice when asked. He’s had great suggestions when I’ve asked. He’s showed me shortcuts when asked. (Do you see a pattern here?)
As long as I’m seeking assistance, we get along great. It’s only when I’m not, and he does anyways, then I get annoyed.
Let’s just say our good streak ended rather abruptly the other night.
It started with the recipe. This delectable recipe originally came from a lovely Bed and Breakfast we stayed at on our first anniversary. They owners were kind enough to share the recipe with us, and we’ve been enjoying a fancy, delicious breakfast occasionally through the last ten or so years (with Hubs making it, of course). I decided I wanted to try making it because it sounded very good – and it’d been a long time since we’d last enjoyed it.
The only copy of the recipe I could find was in Hubs’ database of recipes. (Yes, he has a database. Of recipes. He calls it a computerized cookbook. Whatever.) Anyways, I found the recipe, checked the ingredients list, and picked up the only ingredient we were missing – vanilla pudding mix.
(I know what you’re thinking, but seriously, this is one of the secret ingredients that makes it amazing. And no, you won’t get the exact recipe with all the secret ingredients. Mostly because I screwed up that part royally – and had to ad-lib. But we’ll get there.)
Anyways, the recipe forgot to mention that it should not be instant pudding mix. Guess what I picked up? Anyone?
I may have gotten upset at Hubs. He may have gotten defensive about his database – supposedly it’s not perfect. We may have had a slightly heated discussion while he attempted to help me fix my caramel mix.
But I’m digressing a little early here. Let’s start with the recipe. Just keep in mind I had to seriously adapt it from their original, so I don’t feel bad about sharing it for everyone to see. And I used my version of the caramel sauce – because I had to.
Creme Brulee Baked French Toast, adapted from Cricketwood Country B&B
1/2 c butter
1 c brown sugar
2 T maple syrup
1/2 t vanilla
2 T half n half
2 1/2 c half-and-half
2 t vanilla
1/2 – 1 t orange zest (to your taste)
1/4 t salt
In small sauce pan, melt butter over med-low heat. Whisk in sugar, syrup, 1/2 t vanilla, and 2 T half n half. Whisk into smooth caramel sauce, about 5-10 min. Pour into bottom of 13 x 9 x 2 inch baking dish. Cut bread into 1 inch thick slices. Layer bread in one layer on top of caramel sauce. In bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, vanilla, zest, and salt. Pour evenly over bread. Cover and chill in refrigerator overnight up to 1 day. Remove from fridge 45 minutes prior to baking. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cover with lightly with foil and bake for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another 15 minutes or until edges are golden. Serve immediately.
Well, let’s go back to that original caramel sauce. This is what it looked like:
Not very smooth, huh? And Hubs kept trying to tell me to keep stirring and it would all just come together. This was before he realized I had used instant mix. And actually, the more I stirred, the more butter leached out of the sugar. It was pretty darn frustrating. (Especially with the extra advice I was getting.)
I eventually scrapped that mix and moved on to a new one. This is where Hubs and I had a better moment. He helped me figure out how to keep the caramel sauce a little soft by adding the syrup. Round two turned out much better.
How can you put bread in wrong, you ask? Well, I guess there are too many open spaces, not covered with bread. Don’t you see them all? I mean, there are huge gaps. How could I have done this? (Noting the sarcasm, I hope.) Anyways, fine, I added more bread.
Then I added the custard sauce – and that was wrong, too. My bread supposedly did not suck up enough of the custard sauce, so I got to add more bread. If you can’t tell, I was getting a little frustrated with the love of my life.
The good news was, I was done until the next morning. So I didn’t have to hear any more recommendations. And he slept in – so I did the rest without him (not that it was hard, but I’m sure there would’ve been something I could’ve done better.)
Anyways the morning went smoothly – though it is quite a while from removal from the fridge to actually eating. So be sure to take that into consideration when you make this.
But look at the results. Golden brown and crispy on top, creamy-spongy sweet in the middle, caramel-y thick goodness on the bottom. It’s making me hungry just looking at it now. But this is one of those recipes you can’t make too often. I only guarantee it calorie-free on special occasions. Otherwise, it’s not the healthiest meal on the planet. 😉
And so was a little sparring with Hubs.
Next time, though, I am definitely cooking when he is not around.
It’s just safer for our marriage.