We tried to make another batch of homemade pan de sals a few days ago, with horrible results. This is a seemingly never-ending quest for a simple but delicious pan de sal recipe, with a nice crust and decent crumb. Not the pillowy soft pan de sals they sell in most bakeries today. I think a huge part of the problem is the flour, but maybe a home oven just isn’t hot enough either. At any rate, we had 20+ “bulbous hockey pucks” the following day and decided to try and make some biscocho.
Before getting to the biscocho itself, let me first tell you about the flavored sugars we always have around in the pantry. We keep two bottles filled with sugar and in one of them, I put all used vanilla bean pods and as time goes by, it yields vanilla flavored sugar. In the other bottle, I mix sugar and grated cinnamon, and leave a whole cinnamon stick in the bottle to make sure no one confuses it with the vanilla sugar. Cinnamon sugar has a fantastic smell as well. Having these sugars around is really handy for flavoring french toast, breakfast toast, cookies, etc.
To make the biscocho, we took the day old and rather hard pan de sal and sliced them into biscotti like pieces. Place the sliced bread on cookie sheets (preferably pans with sides, as some butter tends to drip onto the oven floor) and brush slice of bread with melted butter on both sides. Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon or vanilla sugar (also on both sides) and place in a hot oven (375F) until “sizzling” and starting to lightly brown. Flip slices over and bake for a few more minutes.
Let the slices cool and you should have nice crisp, buttery and slightly sweet biscocho. We actually put a little too much butter on many of the slices and the resulting biscocho were a bit oily. Be careful to just brush the slices quickly so you don’t overdo it. And maybe sprinkling slices with sugar before brushing butter would make more of the sugar stick to the bread. The biscocho we made looked great, and most folks in the household seemed to like them, devouring several apiece. At least the pan de sals didn’t go to waste… Now if only I could have some carbohydrates…. :(