sweetfrenchtoast » for a modern handmade life

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  • HOWDY.

    Thanks for stopping by sweetfrenchtoast!

    I'm Sabrina, and I love to make pretty things, visit inspiring places, eat really good food, and take lots of photos along the way. Though I live with my husband in Atlanta, GA, I consider the world my home, and I can't wait to see more of it.

handmade: the wiksten tank

Wiksten tank

I love my Wiksten tank so much. It was one of the first articles of clothing I made, and it was thrilling to wind up with such a nicely finished piece! The Wiksten tank introduced me to French seams as well as proper printing scaling, because I think I got the scaling all wrong when I printed the pdf and it’s is a little larger than I’d like. This was also the first time I made and used bias binding.

The fabric for this tank was thrifted from a sundress I bought at Salvation Army. It’s lovely—lightweight with delightful drape. And I adore the print. I’ve worn this tank with everything from shorts and flip flops to jeans and a blazer, and it’s simply perfect.

My fellow sewists, have you made the Wiksten tank? If not, I highly recommend it!

February 14, 2013 - 7:34 pm

Diane @ Vintage Zest - I haven’t made it, but it’s totally cute! I saw the picture and totally fell in love with the print. It looks like you could totally dress it up but still be comfy! It’s funny because I never thought of comfort while dressing until I started to shop with my guy. Men are just uber-practical like that. Great job!

February 14, 2013 - 11:03 pm

sabrina - Thanks, Diane! And you’re right — men are so practical! I must admit I’m a lot like a man in that way. I love being comfy all the time! As soon as I get home for the evening, I’m usually wearing yoga pants and a hoodie within 10 minutes. :)

March 1, 2013 - 2:06 pm

Tiffany - That’s so cute!

pizza class at piola

RH and I, along with some good friends and a couple of their friends, recently took a pizza class at Piola, a new-to-us pizza restaurant in midtown Atlanta. When we arrived, we weren’t quite sure what to expect, as the restaurant itself is very small and definitely has that chain restaurant vibe.

One of the Piola employees gave us a rundown of their approach to pizza in his very cute Italian accent. Then we donned aprons and spent time with the chef—who didn’t speak any English—in groups of four. He used his very best charades skills and showed us what to do, step by step. Once we’d selected our toppings, the chef placed them in the oven, and two minutes later, we each had a pizza!

Piola in Atlanta

pizza class at Piola

pizza class at Piola

pizza class at Piola

pizza class at Piola

We were all quite impressed. The pizza was very good! In fact, I think the pizza was far better than the restaurant’s appearances made me think it would be. This was definitely a lesson in not judging a book by its cover. I suppose I’m used to finding great food at far ends of the spectrum: rundown holes in the wall or upscale, chef-driven restaurants. I was pleasantly surprised with my experience at Piola, and I would definitely go back for a pie!

Have you had an experience like this before—where you judged a book by its cover and were pleasantly surprised?

double dark chocolate sea salt cookies

double dark chocolate sea salt cookies

These double dark chocolate sea salt cookies are a spin on one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes. They are rich, not too sweet, and perfect with a glass of cold milk.

I hear nothing but good things every time I bake them. I took a platter of these cookies to a Super Bowl party last night, and they were a hit! When people refer to your cookies as “crack,” you know you’re onto something.

I think the most important ingredients in this recipe are the flour and the chocolate, with the chocolate being THE single most important ingredient. I always use Valrhona 70% Guanaja Fèves, or chocolate disks, which you can find at Whole Foods. If you’re in a hurry, you can pulse them in the food processor to roughly chop them. I usually chop them by hand. Don’t worry if some chunks are still a little large. My favorite flour for baking is King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour. If you’ve never tried it, it’s worth a shot. I did, and I never went back to my old flour!

chopped Valrhona dark chocolate and eggs

Double Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Cookies
inspired by Dora’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookies on Allrecipes.com

Makes 2 dozen

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon hot water
heaping 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 cup Hershey’s Special Dark Chocolate cocoa powder
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup roughly chopped Valrhona dark chocolate

Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).

With an electric mixer, cream together the butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until the mixture is smooth. Beat in the egg, and then stir in the vanilla. Dissolve the baking soda in the hot water, and then mix this into the batter along with the sea salt and cocoa powder. Stir in the flour and chopped chocolate. Roll into one-inch balls and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet before sprinkling with sea salt. (I actually line my cookie sheet with both a Silpat and parchment paper with excellent results.) Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven. Let cool completely before eating.

While these double dark chocolate sea salt cookies are good warm, they are even better—richer and more flavorful—after they are completely cool! This makes them the perfect cookie to bake and take to the office or to a party.

You can also freeze the one-inch dough balls in an airtight container lined with wax paper. When you’re ready to bake, simply let them sit at room temperature for 10-15 minutes before baking. Craving chocolate? Simply take a dough ball out of the freezer, let it sit, pop it in the oven, and enjoy!

double dark chocolate sea salt cookies

If you make these cookies, I’d love to hear from you! I’m happy to answer any questions you have too. Simply leave me a comment below.

February 4, 2013 - 9:36 pm

Diane @ Vintage Zest - These look amazing! I am definitely going to pin the recipe and make it the next time I have space in the freezer. Even though I like baking, I’m not a fan of cleaning, so I usually double a recipe and freeze half. I can’t wait!

February 5, 2013 - 7:52 am

sabrina - Diane, freezing a bunch of these will bring you chocolate goodness for quite some time! Let me know how you like them when you make them. :)

February 15, 2013 - 1:50 pm

Cynthia - Tried this Receipes, didn’t find dark cocao power, and dark choco, only find 51% callerbaut. Result: lit brown. It is definitely not what I am going after. Still it never a waste, they are perfect for my daughter’s school on valentine’s day. I made heart shaped cookies. Will go to specially store today and get some real dark choco for my next batch.

February 15, 2013 - 3:05 pm

sabrina - Cynthia, heart-shaped cookies sound very sweet! Definitely try the dark chocolate cocoa powder and chopped dark chocolate for a more complex chocolate flavor. You could probably also use a bittersweet chocolate (something in the 60%+ range) with success.

February 18, 2013 - 11:38 pm

Cynthia - Tried 71% chocolate and 100% pure cocoa powder. Still don’t get the dark colour I am hoping for. It looks brown. Do not understand why.

February 26, 2013 - 9:30 pm

sabrina - Hi, Cynthia! I’m sorry to hear you’re having difficulty getting the results you’re hoping for. The cookies are brown when I make them too (like in the pictures). Are yours coming out lighter brown? Do they taste good? :)

March 30, 2013 - 6:26 pm

A Mud Season Pick Me Up | Marley Cakes - [...] This recipe is adapted from Sweet French Toast [...]

October 21, 2013 - 7:44 pm

Marie Turner - I just made these cookies this past weekend for a special cookie gift. They were so easy and delicious! I made a few substitutions (chocolate chips for the chocolate) and added in some chopped hazelnuts. Thanks for the great recipe- I’m writing a post about it on my blog!

October 21, 2013 - 8:02 pm

Sabrina - Marie, I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thanks for stopping by to say so. I’m looking forward to checking out your blog post! :)

January 31, 2016 - 1:52 pm

Jesse - If you want to up the stakes, use Valrhona cocoa powder too (order it online), it’s way better than the Hershey’s!

carry me back to kauai

You know how sometimes you daydream about escaping to a beautiful, faraway place? Well, about 80% of the time I have that daydream, it’s about escaping to Kauai. (The other 20% is about Paris.)

Here are a few photos from the trip RH and I took to Kauai in December. We had a wonderful time. I can’t wait to go back!

sunrise over Lydgate Park on Kauai

Hanalei Pier on Kauai

Allerton Gardens on Kauai

Hanalei Valley on Kauai

Kamoa Ukeleles on Kauai

Vicky

Kalalau Lookout on Kauai

Polihale Beach on Kauai

sunset in Poipu on Kauai

Rocky and Sabrina in Poipu

Where do you dream of escaping to?