A few weeks ago I wrote about Hokkaido’s sublimely soft Milk Bread, but that loaf of bread isn’t just good for sandwiches and morning toast. It’s also rather perfect for the Japanese Brick Toast.
Have you ever heard of a Brick Toast, aka a Japanese Toast Box? It’s this really neat invention where a super thick cut of bread (half a loaf really) is hollowed out into a box and then toasted in the oven until warm and crunchy. Sometimes the toast box is just brushed with butter, sometimes with a cinnamon sugar mixture ala French toast. Of course, the inside of the bread does not go to waste because you use it as the “stuffing”, alongside some fruits and some honey or maple syrup.
And if that idea hasn’t sparked your appetite yet, I also want to mention that an ice cream topping is absolutely required. Just like eating warm apple pie with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream, this is a lovely combination of warm toasted bread with cool sweet ice cream and fruit. If you let the ice cream melt a little, it will drip drip drip down into the stuffing and turn it into a sweet-cold-hot-crunchy mega dessert!
This is a deconstructed ice cream sandwich of sorts, with actual bread instead of cookies providing a “house” for the ice cream and add-ons. Some people might be new to the idea of eating ice cream with bread, but here in the Philippines we’ve been doing that forever so we haven’t been missing out on such an awesome thing.
But seriously, ice cream with warm bread (specifically pan de sal for me!) is like one of the best things ever. I remember bingeing on those things as a kid whenever I had extra allowance to spare.
The Japanese Brick Toast is indulgent and carb-loaded, true, but come on, isn’t that why we have friends? So we can share the calories with them?! In fact, it would be a lovely idea to call the besties for a Brick Toast making and eating session.
With that thought, allow me to walk you through the process of making this. It’s really quite simple and it starts with some unsliced bread. I recommend using the Hokkaido Milk Bread recipe I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. I purposefully set some of that bread aside for this Brick Toast, but most of it was already eaten so if you’re wondering why this is so small then that’s your answer! 😛
How big a loaf you want to use for this is entirely up to you, but for me I used a portion of bread that’s about 3 inches high. You want to cut out a square in the middle of the bread, but be careful not to slice all the way down. To cleanly get that center out, you want to lie the bread down on its side and cut a slit about an inch from the bottom. Again, do not go all the way through!
Now you can easily pull out that middle portion of the bread and be left with a hollowed out “bread box”. Yay!
Slice up the soft portion of the bread you just pulled out. The size is up to you once again, but slice them into cubes. Since this version is rather simple, we’re just going to brush everything up with some melted butter. Brush the cubes, and then brush all the sides of your toast box too. (I have an extra slice of bread there I decided to just brush along.)
Set the buttered pieces of bread onto a lined baking sheet, then toast for about 10 minutes, until golden and crunchy. They already look so yummy after this step!
Now we get to the “construction” part. For this we just need some sweetener like honey or maple syrup, fruits, and then the ice cream plus toppings later on. You’ll also need your toasted cubes.
Some people would mix up their filling and then throw everything in together, but I wanted to layer mine, so I started out with a drizzle of honey at the bottom. Then I placed some bread cubes on top of that.
Next, I added some banana slices. That makes one layer. Then I just repeat it all over again, drizzling the honey on top of the bananas, placing the toasted bread cubes inside, and then topping with more bananas.
I do this layering thing until I reach the top of the toast box. Then again, you don’t have to do this layering thing. As I mentioned, other people just kind of randomly toss in a mix of bread cubes and fruit, then drizzle the honey all over the place.
It’s time to top with ice cream! I gave my Brick Toast one last drizzle of honey after this, and then added some broken pieces of dark chocolate. The ingredients I used to create this are the very basic– stuff I happened to find in my fridge. You can switch it up of course, using mixed berries or mangoes. And you can totally go crazy with the toppings.
There are a handful of restaurants in Manila that have put these Brick Toasts on people’s radars already. Usually you will see whipped cream and some other treats like Pocky sticks and KitKat’s decorating the tops of the toasts, along with the ice cream. But the beauty of making these at home is that all the components of the Brick Toast will be entirely up to you! Make it as awesome as you want!
The Brick Toast is best eaten freshly constructed. You want the bread to still be pretty warm when you devour it with the ice cream. OH SO GOOD.
For a shortcut toast sans the box, I recommend using super thick slices of bread. You can make just one honey and fruit layer, then top with ice cream. Just freestyle! You can do it for the extra portions of bread you might have, like I did.
And because I only had a single layer here, I topped it with a more indulgent sort of ice cream. Who here likes Rocky Road? 🙂
Carbs and sugar is always a scary combo. I’ve witnessed how some people lose their self-control when faced with these types of yummy food! Personally, I could never finish one whole Brick Toast on my own, but that’s another thing about these beauties– you can share them with someone you love. Enjoy! 🙂
Makes 2 toast boxes, can serve 2 to 6
- 1 loaf unsliced milk or sandwich bread, bought or homemade
- 1/3 cup unsalted butter, melted
- Sliced fruit of choice (I used bananas)
- Honey or maple syrup
- Ice cream flavour of choice (I used matcha ice cream)
- Wafer sticks or small cookies, to decorate
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a baking tray with parchment paper.
- 2. Slice the loaf of bread in half. Using a sharp knife, cut out a square a little less than 1-inch from the four edges of the bread. Be careful not to slice all the way down, maintaining an inch-thick layer at the bottom.
- 3. Lie the block of bread down on its side and cut a slit in the bread an inch from the bottom. Again, don't go all the way through. Stand the bread back up so the bottom crust is on the work table and the soft inner part of the bread is facing you. Pull out the cut out cube of soft bread. Now your bread should look like a small empty square container.
- 4. Slice the removed portion of the bread into cubes and line on one side of the baking sheet. Brush with some melted butter. Brush the inside of the bread box container with butter as well, making sure that all sides are buttered. Place on the baking sheet. Toast the breads in the oven for 8 to 12 minutes, or until golden brown.
- 5. Once toasted, remove from oven and let cool for a couple of minutes. Start assembling the brick toast by drizzling some honey on the bottom of the toast box. Place a layer of the toasted cubes on top of the honey, then layer with slices of fruit. Drizzle with more honey and repeat the layering process until the toast box is filled all the way to the top (or the small cubes of toast have been used up). Alternatively, you can mix together the fruit and toasted bread cubes, stuff them back into the toast box, then drizzle with lots of honey.
- 6. Add scoops of ice cream, drizzle with more honey, then additional decorations as you wish. Serve immediately!