Creamy Maple Pecan Stuffed French Toast

Despite having plenty of leftovers from Thanksgiving, I decided to whip up French toast for my younger brother. I’m trying out the Dukan diet (more on this to come in future post..very soon I’m sure) so I’m gobbling up the leftover turkey like nobody’s business. Meanwhile I had plenty of rejected stuffing challah that I didn’t want to go to waste.I also had 2 oz (about 1/4 of a package) of cream cheese and a handful of chopped pecans… and about a cup of whipping cream… and …ok I had a slew of ingredients I just didn’t want to go bad. Point is, it came out to this:

Creamy Maple Pecan Stuffed French Toast

This recipe yields one serving (although a pretty hefty serving). I’m including a breakdown of calories per ingredient as a result. You can make substitutions as you feel fit, to cut down on calories (i.e. using skim milk instead of half & half, and sugar-free maple syrup substitute, splenda instead of sugar – you get the idea).

Deliciousness.

Creamy Maple Pecan Stuffed French Toast

Bread:

Two medium-thick slices of Challah bread

1 egg

3 tablespoons half-and-half

1/4 teaspoon EACH: vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup

1 tablespoon butter

Filling:

1/4 pack cream cheese softened (about 2 oz, can use a little more or less depending on how much filling you’d like)

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon powdered sugar

Topping:

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

3 tablespoons maple syrup

3 tablespoons chopped pecans

Bread: Beat the egg, half & half, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and maple syrup together until everything is well incorporated. Soak the two slices of challah bread thoroughly in the mixture on both sides and leave in bowl for about 30 minutes to let the mixture soak through.

Meanwhile make the filling.

Filling: Mix softened cream cheese and maple syrup together. Beat together until well incorporated and creamy. Mix in cinnamon and powdered sugar and set aside.

Place skillet on medium heat and melt 1 tablespoon of butter. Fry the pieces of french toast until browned on each side. Transfer the two pieces n a clean plate and spread the cream cheese mixture on each piece. Put the pieces together. Start making the topping.

Topping: Turn the stovetop heat on low and place the chopped pecans into any leftover butter in skillet. Mix the nuts in skillet for about 5 second and add the maple syrup. Turn off heat (the mixture should be warm since skillet is still hot from french toast). Sift the powdered sugar over the french toast and then top with the warm maple-pecan mixture.

If you’d like to make the whipped cream:

1 cup whipping cream

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

3 tablespoons confectioners sugar

1 tablespoon maple syrup (I’m really into using maple syrup this fall!)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat all ingredients together with mixer until mixture is light and fluffy. Serve on top/side of french toast!

Enjoy!

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Here we go

A few people suggested that I start blogging about my baking.

Baking, in my brief life history, spans back to my childhood. I had the privilege of being raised by my grandmother. We all know mothers bake cookies once in a while and like spoiling us with home cooked meals. Well, grandmothers are naturally mother x 2. We didn’t just bake – we BAKED. Religiously baked everything.

I grew up in a small town in Ukraine so self sustainability was natural course of action (all fruits and veggies came from the garden, get the milk from the neighbor, make your own cheese, visit the chicken coup in the morning and stock up on eggs, etc.). I really didn’t understand the beauty of this well oiled machine until now, living in New York City, where every 5th person you pass on the street obsesses over ‘natural’ and ‘organic’ and ‘healthy’. Interestingly enough, I’m not buying into that trend. I guess it’s not so interesting. To be organic in the city is EXPENSIVE and time-consuming. I grew up organic because it was cheap and easy.

Now that we have the background, on to the skinny part. We all heard of the ‘French Women Don’t get Fat’ book. Here’s a secret: most non-American culture women don’t get fat. I learned about fresh air and chores and moderation. I remember my grandmother and I often cooked up a feast that spanned several days of cooking and baking. Yet everyone around was fairly fit and healthy. We worked in the garden, in the orchard, tended to animals, and toiled in the kitchen, hand-washing all utensils and working surfaces. Tending to animals, gardening and up-keeping the orchard is naturally impossible in the city. What is possible is simple and organic way of cooking (granted, with non-‘organic’ products sometimes since I’m short on money!), baking and living.

That last tidbit of information is to warn you that you won’t often find me scrimping on procedures to save time. I don’t like using mixes for baking or cooking and I will make everything from scratch when I can. It’s worth it thought. The most important thing I learned is when I revel in my cooking and spend time on it, I eat less afterwards as a result. I satiated all my senses in the procedure. I fully understand Trader Joe’s frozen meals are cheap, easy, and natural but when you heat it up in 10 minutes and scarf it down in the next 10, you’ll have another 4-5 hours to sit around and nibble on hundreds of additional calories. When you immerse yourself in a 1 hour cooking experience, you’ll WANT to enjoy it slowly. So, put down that can of spam and ENJOY the cooking – or, baking in my case.

LESSON: Pay attention to your cooking. You’ll learn that your meal consists of several ingredients, and as a result you’ll be satiated with the portion of your meal more than from a pre-made meal. As a bonus,  you can input the measurements for each ingredient into a calorie counter to get the total accurate calories per meal.