Updated: Mar 1
The sound of sizzling butter when it hits a hot skillet; the fragrant whiff of sweetness coming from sugar and spices; thick, sizzling slices of egg batter dipped bread frying up to a golden brown. Yes, friends, you’re about to kick your senses into overdrive and launch to the yum stratosphere because this can only mean one thing: We're cooking up some French Toast!
My first taste of French Toast came as a dessert. In Spanish and Latin American cultures French Toast --- better known as Torrijas --- are typically served as a dessert. There are quite a few variations of Torrijas recipes out there, most which call for making an egg batter that includes sherry or some other type of sweet red wine. Perhaps a bit much if like me you want to enjoy it as a breakfast entree served often throughout the week. So I take a less is more approach with this recipe as the only ‘alcohol’ that’s called for is technically a small amount of vanilla extract, which adds a subtle depth of warmth without the potential for a buzz when you're done. And we'll let the main ingredient, bread, take center plate as the true star of this recipe, which we’ll get more into in the next section. Whether you choose to welcome a new day with French toast for breakfast or ending it with dessert, I hope you enjoy this delectable recipe.
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Half and Half - 1 cup
Eggs - 4 large
Brown Sugar - 1 tablespoon
Cinnamon - 1 tablespoon (if you prefer a stronger, slightly spicier flavor, I recommend using Saigon cinnamon)
Nutmeg - 1/8 teaspoon
Vanilla Extract – 1 teaspoon
Unsalted Butter - 4 tablespoons
Plain & Cinnamon Raisin Brioche Bread – 6 slices of each flavor cut into approximately 3/4 inch slices. To add a taste twist, I combined two flavors of brioche bread, plain and cinnamon raisin, as the latter gives it an additional hint of sweetness without making the overall dish cloyingly sweet. Brioche bread is a sweet, light yeast bread of French origin that maintains its texture well once dipped in the egg batter and fried. You'll find that regular sliced (sandwich) bread tends to yield soggy French toast, and while some recipes call for pre-toasting regular bread slices before dipping them in egg batter to reduce sogginess, using brioche bread bypasses this extra step, minimizes cleanup and results in a deliciously toasted texture.
Optional ingredients used as toppings:
Maple syrup – Pancake syrup ---the artificial stuff--- just won’t do this recipe justice. So treat yourself to real maple syrup. A little of it goes a long way and will give your palate a deeper deliciousness experience.
Seasonal berries – To add a pop of subtle berry flavor, toss in a handful of fresh blueberries and/or strawberries when at the height of its season --- typically from the beginning of March through the end of August --- but frozen is also a great alternative for year round enjoyment.
The following items are common kitchen utensils you likely have in your cupboards. If you've read some of my other posts, you'll notice most of these items frequently appear as they can be used in an array of cooking and baking recipes. With proper care, the items I list below will make your life easier in the kitchen and will last you many years --- and recipes --- to come.
1. 1-cup capacity measuring cup - I have at least half a dozen Pyrex measuring cups ranging from 1-4 cup capacity as keeps me organized when measuring out liquids. For this recipe we'll use them to contain eggs as they pour out easily from them into mixing bowls. I have to say, I’m amazed at how sturdy these cups are as on more than one occasion I've nudged one from countertop to kitchen floor and it remained completely intact.
2. Whisk - to combine the ingredients for the egg batter.
3. Measuring spoons - the spoon pictured on the left is magnetized in the center and comes in a set of six sizes so all of your spoons are nestled together, thereby minimizing the likelihood of randomly missing measuring spoons: yes, I’m guilty of that from many sets ago. You'll also like the dual sides which allows you to accurately measure dry and liquid ingredients. The measuring spoon pictured on the right is especially great if you’re limited on kitchen storage space as you can slide the adjuster from teaspoon to tablespoon. Both types of spoons have flat bottoms, so your ingredients will keep from tipping over when rested on a flat surface.
4. Mixing bowl – this is another Pyrex item I keep a few of stocked in my kitchen. They’re durable, useful and available in sizes ranging from 1 to 2.5 quarts. I used the 1.5 quart sized bowl for this recipe. Cleanup will be a breeze as these are also dishwasher safe.
5. Standard dinner size fork to aid with flipping and transferring your toast slices.
6 & 7. Cooling rack and baking sheet – since you’re making several French toast slices, I suggest keep your slices warm while cooking your remaining slices by preheating your oven to 200℉ and transferring your cooked slices to a cooling rack over a baking sheet and place the sheet inside the oven. You'll also be able to make great use of these two items to bake and cool cookies... check out my post for browned butter chocolate chip cookies here for some bakespiration.
8 & 9. Non-stick skillet and turner – The skillet you see in the picture is 12 inches in diameter, which is ample enough to cook 4 large slices of bread at one time. Like me you'll especially love that this particular skillet is oven safe for up to 500 degrees and also dishwasher safe. Less time cleaning means more time you get to enjoy savoring every bite of this scrumptious dish. A standard sized turner will easily allow you to flip your French toast slices and transfer from skillet to plate.
1. Pour 1 cup of half and half into the mixing bowl.
2. Add 4 eggs to the bowl.
3. Add 1 tablespoon each of cinnamon and brown sugar and 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg.
4. Pour 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract into the mixing bowl.
5. Whisk all ingredients from steps 1-4 until thoroughly combined.
6. Set burner to medium heat and preheat skillet. Add 4 tablespoons of butter and
allow it to completely melt.
7. Dip bread slices one at a time in egg batter, slide each bread slice against the inner rim of the mixing bowl to wipe off excess batter and gently place bread slices in the hot buttered skillet.
8. Cook bread slices on medium heat for 3 minutes (or until golden brown).
9. Carefully flip bread slices and cook for 3 more minutes (or until golden brown). You might be tempted to turn up the heat, but keeping it on medium will result in more evenly cooked French toast.
10. Remove cooked bread slices and set on a baking sheet lined with a cooling rack. Repeat steps 5-10 if cooking additional bread slices; otherwise, serve with syrup and optional berries.
Thank you for reading this post and let me know how much you enjoyed it by dropping a comment below. Have a sweet day! ~Xina