Today is Bastille Day in France, a national holiday to commemorate the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille in 1789. I wanted to acknowledge the day with some sort of dessert, but since French pastry chefs are the best in the world, I did not even dare try a seriously French dessert. Instead, I baked French Toast Cookies.
The Bastille was not only a prison but also a symbol of King Louis the 16th’s power, and its taking by the lower classes marked the beginning of the French Revolution. Though many of us here in the States are not familiar with Bastille Day, all are likely familiar with the queen who sat at Louis the 16th’s side, Marie Antoinette, and her infamous quote: “Let them eat cake!”
Cake today refers to sweet, floury goodness coated with frosting and eaten for dessert. In Marie Antoinette’s time, cake referred to the floury paste bakers “caked” onto the insides of baking pans. Bakers would scrape the cake from the pans and leave it outside their bakeries for beggars at the end of the day.
Whether or not the queen actually said, “Let them eat cake!” in response to the widespread starvation throughout the lower classes of France has been called into serious question. If she did, she was likely saying the poor could eat the bread scraps reserved for beggars, not indulge in dessert.
There are no pastries, cakes, or breads on the blog today, just wonderfully soft, sweet French Toast Cookies. Cinnamon and imitation maple flavor provided the flavor, and I glazed the cookies with a mixture of maple syrup and confectioners’ sugar. The glaze gets gooey as the cookies sit, so be prepared for a caramel-like texture if not consumed shortly after baking.
I dusted the tops of the cookies with more confectioners’ sugar to break up the brown color scheme. You could also sift together some cinnamon with the confectioners’ sugar to top the cookies.
The best part about baking these cookies was the aroma they put throughout my home. You have heard of comfort food, right? Well, this was a comfort aroma.
By the way, if you don’t believe me about the French Pastry Chefs, watch Kings of Pastry sometime. The film is a documentary about the Meilleurs Ouvriers de France, which is basically the pastry chef Olympics. It’s amazing, but then again, I love desserts!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
- ¾ cup brown sugar, packed
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 – 3.4 ounce package vanilla instant pudding mix
- 2 teaspoons imitation maple flavor
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon in a medium size bowl and set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugars in large mixing bowl.
- Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition.
- Beat in the pudding mix and maple flavor until well incorporated.
- Drop by rounded tablespoons on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 12-15 minutes.
- When cool, glaze with a mixture of maple syrup and confectioners’ sugar or dust with confectioners’ sugar.