I recently discovered that my daughters love French toast. One would think this would not be news since I’ve known them both pretty well for fifteen years. The thing is, from the time they were very small, they have kept me on my toes with their ever-changing tastebuds, never wanting me to get too comfortable. As soon as I would figure out that they both loved the freeze-dried fruit packs or bunny crackers enough for me to keep buying big boxes at Costco, they would both lose interest and leave me with a guilty pile of uneaten snacks. It’s safe to say that one or both of them expressed a dislike of French toast at some point, so I avoided it. I enjoy the path of least resistance as often as I can.
I wasn’t usually the breakfast chef anyway; Bob’s homemade pancakes were always the first choice on the griddle. I will get that often-requested recipe posted soon!
French Toast was always on the menu at the Treehouse for Saturday and Sunday brunch. I deciphered this recipe from my brother Billy’s notes he so diligently wrote for the cookbook on a recent visit to Bend. It’s similar to the combination of eggs, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla that I usually put together, but his is heavier on the cinnamon, while I favor more vanilla.
We used the grandma’s roll recipe at the Treehouse, shaped into loaves, but let’s pretend for a moment that you’re not going to do that. A thick-sliced French bread, brioche, or rustic Italian bread works beautifully. I would stay away from anything too thinly sliced or dense; you want it to soak up as much custard as possible without falling apart. If you do bake your own bread, wait until it is at least a day old.
(about 2 – 3 servings – double or triple as needed)
4 – 6 thick slices of bread, depending on size
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1/2 cup half & half (optional, sub with 2% or whole milk if you don’t have it on hand)
1/2 cup 2% or whole milk
butter for the griddle
pure maple syrup ~ fresh berries ~ powdered sugar (optional)
Preheat a griddle or skillet on medium heat. I love my cast iron griddle for this.
Whisk together eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt in a large mixing bowl.
Pour in the half & half and milk; stir until well combined.
Dip the bread, no more than two pieces at a time, into the custard mixture, soaking it thoroughly. Repeat this process with the remaining bread after you place the soaked bread on the griddle.
Working quickly, spread the butter on the griddle to coat it. (I like to leave it on the butter knife to spread it on the griddle, or you can use a spatula.) It should sizzle, but it shouldn’t burn and smoke, so adjust the temperature of the stove up or down before you place the soaked bread on the griddle.
Cook the French toast for about 3 minutes on each side. The outside should be golden brown, and the inside should expand and be semi-firm to the touch once the custard is cooked through.
Serve hot with your favorite accompaniments. I like my French toast with fresh strawberries. Chef Billy hates strawberries; he’s really weird that way. A little sprinkled powdered sugar and pure maple syrup is really all you need.
“I went to a restaurant that serves “breakfast at any time” so I ordered French toast during the Renaissance.” Steven Wright – comedian