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Grown-up cinnamon toast

When I was a child, I absolutely hated walks. My family are a big hiking family, so it didn’t quite suit my parents to find themselves facing a screaming, bawling girl howling at a Yorkshire slope like she was too scary to be cast in The Exorcist. Luckily for me, my father found an answer that wasn’t an actual anti-demonic ritual, and that answer was cinnamon toast.

With the promise of my father's cinnamon toast by a cottage fireside after a bath, I could just about haul myself begrudgingly into my walking shoes and up the gravel path to the dreaded climb. I’d probably still whinge and be a pain in the hillside, but for cinnamon toast, I’d do it.

In 2022, as a twenty-something who’s lived in the capital for six years and desperately misses windswept walks uphill in the pouring rain, I don’t need the toast. But one November Friday, after a 9 degree swim in a lido on a cold morning and a fair amount of bread to use, I thought back to that fireside toast and realised I had everything I needed for it.

Until, that is, I discovered I was out of cinnamon. So this is a much more grown-up, chic and totally unintentional cinnamon toast that features very little cinnamon, but tastes like Christmas in a slice.

The cloves give it an adult warmth that I probably wouldn’t have gone for as a child, but now? Absolutely delicious. The vanilla adds a little dessert-like hug and the sophisticated sprinkle of sea salt on top turns this into the classiest of mid-afternoon delicacies.

I think it’s important to bake the toast before you stick the grill on. Yes, you want the sugared butter to caramelise, but you also don’t want soggy bread underneath.

Excellent with a cup of tea.

Serves 1 cold person.

  • 25g butter, softened

  • 1 slice of bread

  • 1tbsp sugar

  • 1tsp mixed spice

  • 1tsp ground cloves

  • Good grating of nutmeg

  • 1 tsp vanilla paste

  • Sprinkling of sea salt

1. Beat all ingredients except for the bread and salt together, to form a paste.

2. Heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius.

3. Butter the slice of bread with the paste, and sprinkle with sea salt.

4. Bake for 5/10 minutes or until the edges of the bread are crisping.

5. Then grill for 5 minutes.

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