Before I show you THE right way to make cinnamon toast, I’m going to review a few different approaches so that we can do a compare/contrast at the end of this post. We’re going to crack the lid off of this if it’s the last thing we do!
Butter a slice of bread.
Combine sugar and cinnamon in a bowl…
Stir it to combine.
Sprinkle the cinnamon/sugar mixture on top of the butter, then pop it in the oven: 10 minutes at 350, then finish it off under the broiler (I’ll give you my reasons for this method later.)
Butter a slice of bread, then pop it in a 350 degree oven for ten minutes. Then turn on the broiler and let it go for a minute or two until it’s golden.
Then as soon as you remove it from the oven…
Sprinkle on the cinnamon sugar mixture.
So as you’ve probably figured out, the difference between Approach #1 and Approach #2is this: putting the cinnamon sugar on before you put the toast in the oven results in a topping that’s slightly caramelized and crisp. But when you sprinkle on the cinnamon/sugar on after the fact, it remains loose on the surface (see above photo), partly soaking into the buttery bread. Both are pretty good, but I most definitely would prefer Approach #1.
But let me show you Approach #3—otherwise known as THE ABSOLUTELY WRONG WAY to make cinnamon toast.
Please never make cinnamon toast like this.
Please. I’m asking nicely here.
Okay, this isn’t it. This doesn’t even belong in this post. Sorry.
APPROACH #3: The WRONG Way
This is it. If you wanted to make the worst cinnamon toast on earth, you would put a piece of bread in the toaster and remove it when it’s…toasted.
Then you would—gulp—spread softened butter on the warm toast.
This is so wrong.
Then you’d sprinkle on the cinnamon/sugar.
Terrible! No dimension at all! The butter hasn’t had a chance to soak into the bread. No caramelizing. Nothin’.
Awful! Just plain awful.
Now. Would you like to see the RIGHT way to make cinnamon toast?
Are you sure you’re emotionally ready?
Very well, then.
APPROACH 4: The RIGHT Way
Start with softened butter. I used two sticks. You can halve it if you’re a sensible person.
Smush it with a fork…
Then pour in a whole buncha sugar. About a half cup for every stick of butter (at least.)
But it’s okay, folks! Sugar is good for you!
Okay, so sugar isn’t good for you. But really, it is. But actually, it isn’t. But it is in my dreams. But it isn’t in my reality.
So I choose not to live in reality.
Then comes the cinnamon! About 2 to 3 teaspoons, depending on your tastes.
Then comes the magic ingredient: Vanilla! It doesn’t have to be Mexican vanilla—this was a gift from someone at one of my book tour stops (thank you!); any old vanilla extract will do.
But if you don’t use Mexican vanilla extract, you’ll regret it the rest of your life.
Oh, c’mon. I’m just joshin’ you.
But you really will regret it.
(Man, am I in a mood today. Sorry.)
Add a good 2 to 3 teaspoons. Vanilla in cinnamon-sugar applications is so, so, so, so divine.
Smush it all together until it’s one creamy bowlful of sin.
That’s when you know it’s right.
Not that sin is right. It isn’t. Sin is wrong. Sin is very, very wrong.
But this is just a little bitty sin, and it’s not hurting anyone but you.
Unless you serve the cinnamon toast to others.
But listen. We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. Sound good?
This is the bread I’m using. Amen.
Spread a good tablespoon of the mixture on each piece of bread.
I like to take it all the way to the edges. This’ll prevent exposed bread from burning under the broiler later.
Cinnamon toast is a serious business, people.
Make as many pieces as you want
Now, here’s what you do: put the coated bread on a cookie sheet and place it into a 350 degree oven for about ten minutes. Here’s why: we want to melt the mixture and bake the bread just a tad. If we were to simply stick the pan under the broiler, the mixture would melt and bubble very quickly but the bread might get a tad soggy since it would be so quick. So we’ll get it started in the heated oven.
After ten minutes, crank on the broiler and finish off the toast for a few minutes. Watch it carefully, though! Burned cinnamon toast will ruin your life!
Mmmm. You don’t know it yet, but this is really something special.
Just look at that. The top is crispy and crunchy…
But the bottom is slightly soft.
To bump things up a couple of notches, you can use other breads—thick French bread slices are yummy, as are more grainy homemade breads. Just keep in mind that if the bread slice is thicker, you’ll want to spread on a little more butter/cinnamon mixture.
THE FINAL ANALYSIS
We’ve now taken four different approaches for cinnamon toast. Clockwise from upper left: Approach 2, Approach 4, Approach 3, Approach 1. (I would have been them in order, but I rarely do things the logical way.)
Approach #1 would actually be my SECOND choice for cinnamon toast. It has the same crispy/crunchy top as Approach #4. The only difference is that by mixing all the topping ingredients into a spread (as we did for Approach #4), we can add vanilla, which really adds a depth of flavor. (You can also add a little bit of grated nutmeg!) But Approach #1 is yummy.
I actually like how the cinnamon sugar caramelizes apart from the butter. It’s kind of a nice little bonus feature.
Approach #2: For this one, we broiled the butter-smeared bread…then sprinkled on the cinnamon sugar after the fact.
VERDICT: Okay, this isn’t bad. Broiling the toast with the butter lets the butter soak into the bread and just deepens the overall flavor. It’s definitely missing the crispy caramelization…
And then there’s this one. Approach #Gross.
Toasted the bread in the toaster. Then buttered it. Then sprinkled on the cinnamon sugar.
Yuck! Terrible! Dry! Boring
And that’s the last opinion you’ll ever hear from me.
Recipe: Cinnamon Toast – The RIGHT Way
Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 15 Minutes | Difficulty: Easy | Servings: 8
- 16 slices Bread (whole Wheat Is Great!)
- 2 sticks Salted Butter, Softened
- 1 cup Sugar (more To Taste)
- 3 teaspoons Ground Cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract (more To Taste)
- 1/8 teaspoon Ground Nutmeg (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Smush softened butter with a fork. Dump in sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and nutmeg, if using. Stir to completely combine.
Spread on slices of bread, completely covering the surface all the way to the edges.
Place toast on a cookie sheet. Place cookies sheet into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Turn on the broiler and broil until golden brown and bubbling. Watch so it won’t burn!
Remove from oven and cut slices into halves diagonally.