Hi Friends! While going through my overstuffed files of food pictures I found a few shots that reminded me of some delicious breakfasts I’ve made in recent months. The delicious dish I want to share with you now is two fold. The first component involves making some bread. Some amazing cardamom bread! This recipe was featured in Vegetarian Times not too long ago, and has become an absolute favorite in our home! Plus the dough tastes like marshmallows. You really cannot beat that! The second portion is a simple french toast recipe with some modifications, which, when combined with the cardamom bread, create Chai French Toast!! Serve with a big mug of homemade chai!
First step first, Cardamom Bread!
2 cups almond milk, plus more for brushing loaf top
2 TBSP ground flaxseed (flaxseed meal)
1/3 cup agave nectar or organic brown rice syrup
1/3 cup canola oil
1 TBSP active dry yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp whole cardamom seeds, coarsely ground with a mortar and pestle (I strongly urge you to toast your cardamom seeds by placing them in a dry pan over medium low heat and moving pretty constantly until they smell amazing, then take ‘em off the heat and let your seeds cool, brings out sooo much flavor and makes your home smell more amazing!)
5 1/4 cups unbleached white flour
2 TBSP demerara sugar, for sprinkling (natural brown sugar, usually large crystals)
Stir together almond milk, flaxseed, agave nectar, oil, yeast, salt, and cardamom in large nonreactive bowl with lid. Add flour, and mix thoroughly with wooden spoon. Cover with lid or plastic wrap, and let stand 2 1/2 hours at room temperature. Transfer to refrigerator, and let rest overnight.
Coat baking sheet with cooking spray, or line with parchment paper. Remove half of dough from refrigerator; reserve remaining dough for second loaf. (Dough will keep in refrigerator up to 5 days.) Divide dough into 3 equal pieces, and gently roll each piece into 18-inch-long rope on floured work surface. Place dough ropes side by side spaced 2 inches apart on prepared baking sheet. Pinch ends together on one side, and tuck under. Loosely braid dough ropes, then pinch tail ends together. Cover braided loaf loosely with kitchen towel or plastic wrap, and let rest 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375°F. Brush top of braided loaf with almond milk, and sprinkle generously with sugar. Bake 30 to 45 minutes, or until golden brown.
Okay, so once this fabulous bread is baked, cooled, tasted, enjoyed and a few slices are left, let those set out to “stale up a bit”. While that’s happening let’s move onto the second portion of the most amazing breakfast ever – the french toasting!! So I have a couple variations of recipes here, I’ve used both, and honestly prefer the second, but I felt it was only fair to give you a couple french toast options to play with!
French Toast Recipe the First
3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
1 TBSP evaporated cane juice
1/4 tsp cinnamon (for the purposes of Chair French toast, try a teaspoon of cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg)
pinch of salt
1 cup nondairy milk
Whisk until frothy, place in a shallow dish (I use a clean pie plate), and coat your cardamom bread slices on both sides until good and “battered”. I use a castiron skillet with a light spray of high smoke point organic canola spray and cook on each side until golden. Usually about 2 minutes per side.
French Toast Recipe the Second
1 1/2 cups nondairy milk
2 TBSP flour
1 TBSP nutritional yeast
1 tsp sweetener (I’ve used agave, brown rice syrup, maple syrup)
1 tsp cinnamon (for this recipe try a couple teaspoons of cinnamon and one of nutmeg)
Whisk until frothy (I prefer this french toast batter because how frothy and thick the batter does get, makes the french toast almost more “authentic”). Place in a shallow dish, like a trusty pie plate, coat your bread slices and fry those suckers up!
And now you have Chai French Toast! Seriously, such a good breakfast you must share it! Host a brunch or make your sweetie feel special!
Now, I mentioned having this with a big mug of homemade chai. So here’s a quick homemade chai recipe! I mentioned toasting the cardamom seeds above for the cardamom bread, I find that toasted seeds work best for my chai, as well. For a big batch that makes two huge steaming mugs of chai tea I use five cups of filtered water, a couple cinnamon sticks, a tablespoon of slightly crushed (with my mortar pestle) toasted cardamom seeds, a couple pinches of black peppercorns – also slightly crushed, a few cardamom pods, a few whole cloves, and most importantly some fresh ginger root – peeled and diced – although we have been too lazy and just left peeled chunks in our brew before. I get this lovely bunch of spices simmering in the water for a good 12 or more minutes. Once that part is done, I lower the heat, then I add a little under 1/4 cup vegan cane sugar (like 3 TBSPs) and 1 1/3 cup nondairy milk and bring back to a simmer. Once that’s been stirred and back up to simmering I remove from heat and add 6 bags of good organic black tea. I tend to steep my tea for 5 – 6 minutes. Remove the bags and add a dash of vanilla extract. I then drape my trusty cheesecloth over the mugs and use a ladle to ladle the chai goodness into our oversized mugs. You can also you a wire mesh sieve, or even some muslin tea bags if you can rig it! So good and super adaptable!
Alright, enough reading – get cooking!