Amazing Monte Cristo Sandwiches

Monte Cristo Sandwiches. A cross between a sandwich and french toast. I decided to make them for dinner tonight, and was disappointed that most recipes I found just had you dip the sandwich in egg or egg+milk…that wasn’t sufficient for me…A real, true, delicious Monte Cristo has been battered, then fried. It should taste like carnie food, imo. I found this recipe, which I used as my jumping off point, and created a family-pleasing sandwich that is equally as delicious with or without jelly (I like mine with).

According to what I have found online (*cough* wikipedia), the Monte Cristo should be ham and cheese (though many recipes add turkey). It seems that traditionally, Gruyere or Swiss is used. Personally, I’m not a fan of swiss. Tonight, I used provolone, because it’s one of my favs and I don’t typically have Gruyere on hand. Many recipes claim that currant jelly on the side is most proper, though I find no historical claim for this. We used strawberry. You can use mayo or mustard on these sandwiches, if you desire. I left mine dry, because my kids are all picky and I was making them all the same. The amount of ham, cheese and bread you use will depend on the size of your bread. I used one sliced loaf of grocery store french bread, the slices were pretty small, and it made 11 smaller sandwiches, enough for almost everyone in my family to have two.

Whatever you use in your components, it’s a delicious tasty treat and a fun change for dinner…or breakfast.

Easy and Delicious Monte Cristo Sandwiches. The perfect recipe!

Easy and Delicious Monte Cristo Sandwiches. My Favorite!

MONTE CRISTO SANDWICHES

Makes 4-6 servings

SANDWICHES:

14-20 slices of french bread
7-10 large slices of uncured deli ham
4-6 slices of gruyere, swiss or provolone cheese, sliced in half
mayo or  mustard as desired

BATTER:

2 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

oil for deep frying (I use a combo of coconut oil and olive or palm oil)
powdered sugar
jam, jelly or preserves in any flavor

 

Form your sandwiches. Each sandwich, depending on the size of your bread, will use 1-2 slices of ham and a half-slice of cheese. Attempt to keep the meat and cheese inside the borders of your bread. If you want to, you can cut the crust off your bread, this helps the batter stick to the sides.

Make the batter: Whisk together the eggs and milk in a wide shallow container (you will use this for sandwich dipping). In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet mixture and whisk until smooth.

Heat your oil over medium-high in a deep pan until a small piece of bread dropped in starts to bubble immediately. After your first batch, you may want to turn the heat down to medium. Use enough oil that the oil comes up at least half-way up the side of each sandwich.

Flatten each sandwich with your hand, and one by one, dip into the batter, turning it over and fully covering the sides. Using tongs, hold the sandwich over the batter for a few seconds to let any excess drip off, then place in your prepared pan. Fry 1-3 at a time, depending on the size of your pan. Flip each over once it is golden brown on one side and cook the other side. Remove each sandwich to a plate covered in paper towels. When all are fried, place in a single layer on a plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with jelly on the side, if desired.

 

REAL FOOD ALERT:

Use uncured ham. There are some great brands in the deli aisle of the grocery store, like Hormel’s Natural Choice, and many gorcery stores have their own brands of “natural foods’ which include uncured meats. you can also find uncured ham at many deli counters. I know that Boars Head has one available.

Check your french bread for additives. Make your own if you have time. Here’s my recipe.

Use a natural jam or jelly to avoid corn syrup.

FOOD ALLERGY ALERT:

This isn’t a very allergy-friendly recipe. Wheat, gluten, dairy, eggs. You can get around dairy by subbing for the milk and not adding cheese. I haven’t tried this recipe with GF bread and flour, so if you do, let me know your results!

Easy and Delicious Monte Cristo Sandwiches. My Favorite!

Cheesy Soft Pretzel Bites

My kids’ schools do a fundraiser several times a year that involves Schwan’s foods. They bring home the catalog, and a portion of the sales goes to the school. I’m not a fan of this fundraiser. First, because they make $0 until the total sales have reached a certain amount, and then it’s only 10% up to a fairly high level. I’d rather donate money directly to the school. Second, because half of the stuff in the catalog is processed crud (albeit, tasty processed crud, from what I hear).

Knowing that we wouldn’t be buying anything from the catalog, my middle schooler came home, handed me the catalog and said “Here, mom, I’ve circled everything I want you to make.” I love that kid. He knows me so well. Most of the items were things I already make, like Shepherd’s Pie, Stroganoff and Pizza. But, a couple gave me some good ideas. Last week I was making soft pretzels for my kiddos and their friends during a minecraft marathon, and I remembered two items that they had in the catalog: mozzarella bites and cheese stuffed pretzels. I combined the two and made my traditional soft pretzel dough, wrapping them around pieces of string cheese. They were awesome, and a huge hit with the group of boys hanging around at my house that day.

CHEESY SOFT PRETZEL BITES

4 tsp active dry yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups warm water (about 110 degrees F or 45 degrees C)
4-5 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp salt
6 sticks of string cheese
1/8 cup baking soda
1 cup hot water
coarse sea salt (optional)
1/4 cup melted salted butter

In a mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tsp sugar in 1 1/4 cups warm water. Let sit 10 minutes, until frothy. Add remaining sugar, 3 cups of flour and salt. Mix until a dough starts to form. Add additional flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until dough easily forms a ball. (If using your mixer, the dough will come together and not stick to the sides of the bowl, but it may still stick to the bottom, that’s fine). Knead about 7 minutes by hand or 4-5 minutes by mixer, until dough is elastic. Cover bowl and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. When dough has risen, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Cut dough into 4 equal pieces. Roll each piece into an 8×8 square and cut each square into 9 parts.  Cut each stick of string cheese into 6 pieces. Place one piece onto each small square. Fold over and press edges to seal. Cover a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper. In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 cup hot water. Dip each pretzel bite in the baking soda water and place on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt if desired. Bake for 7-8 minutes, until golden brown. When they come out of the oven, brush the tops with melted butter.

REAL food alert: check the ingredients in the string cheese. Some have additives.

FREEZER alert: you can freeze these. To reheat, place a few on a plate and microwave for 30 seconds.

printable version