Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Handle with Care

Just like a pack of cigarettes, or a bottle of wine this blog entry comes with a warning label. It is the highly volatile combination of children + high levels of sugar. It surely delights, but it can backfire, resulting in sugar highs followed by sugar lows, meltdowns, tears and grumpy parents. Let me backtrack by saying Jim and I are those parents, you know the ones, fruit is the snack, we make most everything from the ground up, very rarely anything processed (everyone has a home for Kraft mac-ncheese) and nothing that has been specifically marketed to children.

I don’t know what possessed Jim but one day he came home with a box of Cap’n Crunch. I opened the cabinet and it was like a snake lurking in there. Jim doesn’t buy sugar and he doesn’t buy premium cereal products. And he seemed pretty pleased with himself. Now, I must confess, as a child I was allowed to eat whatever cereal I wanted and the Cap’n was at the top of the list; Cap’n Crunch Berries, Fruity Pebbles, Cocoa Pebbles, Sugar Smacks, you name it, if it was sugar laden and sure rip a layer of skin off of the roof of your mouth I ate it.

Jim offered the kids bowls of the Cap’n, no fools, they seized the opportunity. After that the Cap’n hung around in the cabinet for a bit and not because of lack of interest. One day Cap’n Crunch French toast popped in to my head . There is a restaurant in my motherland of Baltimore that makes such a dish; I’ve never been to this restaurant but I have seen this dish profiled on the FoodNetwork. I cobbled together my version by poking around the internet. Let me say the Cap’n Crunch French toast was beyond a hit with the kids, I mean it was like the freaking Superbowl of breakfast dishes. However, it did have the aforementioned side effects and after about 2 hours of the ups and downs everyone was sent to their rooms for a time out. Jim then threw out the remainder of the box. It was like handing a junkie their first hit. The kids continually ask for it and talk about it if it were the family pet, our response ‘NO! Maybe in like another 5 years.’

Well, with my god-kids here for the week I thought I might try it again. Every year they come and we manage to squeeze in some oozy, gooey, sugary something. I asked Jim ‘What do you think of the Cap’n Crunch French toast?’ His response ‘No. No and no! That’s on you. I’m going to work.’ Uh-huh. So consider the warning label, they’ll love you for it but they might make you pay. So I warned the kids, we can have it but any crazy sugar influenced behavior and the Cap’n will never grace our range top again. They heeded the warning seriously. As my own editorial comment I’ll add that I don’t care for sweets, I could live my whole life without a doughnut, but the Cap’n in French toast form, well, he’s alright.

Cap'n Crunch French Toast - Serves 6

1 cup cream

1/4 cup sugar

3 extra large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

6 slices of bread

4 cups Cap’n Crunch


Whipped Cream

1 cup cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

Combine the first 4 ingredients together in a bowl. Using a large zip lock bag smash the cereal, I use the backside of a metal measuring cup. Put the cereal in another large bowl or casserole. Preheat the oven to 200 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Heat a skillet to medium and add the butter. Dip the bread in to the batter for about 1 minute, let the excess drip off and coat both sides in the cereal. Place in skillet and cook on both sides until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes per side. Remove and place on baking sheet in oven to keep warm. Repeat. Whip together the cream and vanilla to desired consistency. Serve the toast with the whipped cream and maple syrup.

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