Welcome to COOKING 2018! We are excited to share this summer’s delicious recipes with you. On our first day of cooking we made French Toast 2.0 based on a recipe from Cook’s Illustrated magazine. One of the things that’s always bothered me about French Toast is how it can get soggy in the middle. This recipe eliminates that problem by toasting the bread lightly in the oven before dipping and cooking it. Here is our recipe:

Camp Merri-Mac French Toast 2.0
8 slices thick-sliced bread, lightly toasted
1 cup milk, slightly warmed
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 large eggs
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
Additional butter/margarine for cooking
Syrup, fresh fruit, powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees
Place bread slices in a single layer on wire rack over baking sheet
Bake bread 10 minutes, turning over after 5
Add butter to milk and warm slightly in microwave
Stir until melted and set on counter to cool
In medium size mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt
Add milk and butter, continuing to whisk
Add bread and let sit until slices are soaked but not falling apart
Melt butter/margarine on griddle
Place soaked bread on griddle, cook until golden brown, turn and repeat
Serve with syrup and fresh fruit, dust with powdered sugar

I’m a late convert to the brownie bandwagon, but a few years ago, at the request of my campers and children, I finally perfected a brownie recipe, which we have been using at camp ever since. Now, we’re just getting bold—we’re topping our brownies with every manner of delicious extras. Some of our toppings this session included salted caramel sauce and crushed pretzels, chocolate chip cookie dough—these are sometimes called Brookies, and marshmallows and graham crackers—making s’mores brownies. Delicious! Here is our recipe:

Camp Merri-Mac Brownies
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) butter
5 ounces of semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate (about ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips)
½ cup sugar
½ cup brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla (or 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 teaspoon strong coffee)
2 eggs
¾ cups flour
2 Tablespoons cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chip

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Line with parchment paper and spray again with cooking spray. Sprinkle with flour and spread flour over bottom and sides of pan.
Over low heat (or in double boiler) melt stick of butter and 5 ounces of chocolate (or about ¾ cup semi-sweet of chocolate chips). Set aside to cool.
In one bowl, whisk together white sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and eggs.
In another bowl, sift flour and cocoa powder. Add salt and stir.
Mix wet ingredients (sugars, vanilla, eggs) and dry ingredients (flour, cocoa, salt).
Slowly pour in cooled chocolate mixture, stirring as you pour.
Gently fold in ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips.
Pour brownie mixture into buttered and floured pan, spreading batter evenly.
Bake at 425 degrees for 20 minutes.

NOTE: We put a double batch of these in a large rimmed baking sheet. They made a great, thin brownie and this also reduced the cooking time. Try frosting them or topping them with marshmallows and graham crackers for s’more brownies.

Pizza! Everyone loves it, especially when they can make their own. This year, campers made their own pizza dough, then shaped it the way they wanted it, and added their own toppings. This young lady’s pizza was the star! Here is our recipe:

Camp Merri-Mac Pizza 2.0
2/3 cup warm water
I tablespoon yeast
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 450 or 475 degrees, if baking indoors. Preheat grill, if grilling outside.
Mix water and yeast. Let rest about 5 minutes.
Add salt, sugar and olive oil and blend well.
Add flour and mix to combine. Place into lightly oiled bowl. Let rest about 5 minutes.
Line pizza pan with parchment and sprinkle lightly with corn meal, if baking indoors.
Divide dough into 6 pieces. Flatten dough to about ¼ inch thickness. Lightly oil top.
Let rest for about 2 minutes.
Place oil side down on pizza pan or grill.
If baking in oven, bake dough 5 minutes. Remove from oven and top with pizza sauce, toppings and cheeses. Bake 7-10 additional minutes.
If grilling, grill dough 3-5 minutes or until browned on the bottom. Remove from grill and flip over. Top grilled side with pizza sauce, toppings and cheeses. Return to grill for an additional 5-7 minutes.