Monday, March 12, 2012

the secret to great french toast

I love weekends, primarily for two routines that have been recently reintroduced to my life: 1) coffee in the sunshine - made possible due to my frequent trips to LA; and 2) making breakfast - the pleasure of doing this for and with the man in my life (who is the reason for my frequent trips to LA).

It was coincidental that the second part of my weekend love led me to discover the secret to great french toast. It can be boiled down to two words: challah bread. I wanted to make french toast, but there was no bread in the house. So I set out on foot to see what I could find. Noah's Bagels had the answer. Two glorious mornings of coffee and sunshine and french toast have me convinced that challah bread is a new must-have component of this weekend morning ritual.

Saturday morning was the inception of the version pictured. On Sunday, I opted for a baked version, topped with homemade blueberry syrup and candied walnuts. One caveat: I didn't write down notes as I was cooking as I normally do, so the recipes that follow are based on memory, but should get you well on your way to some amazing french toast.

Challah French Toast (variation 1: standard)
Serves 2

4-5 1" slices of fresh challah
3 eggs
a generous splash of milk (about 1/4 cup)
about 1 tsp of pure vanilla extract
about 1 tsp of cinnamon

Heat skillet over medium heat (melt a tablespoon of butter in it if you want). Whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon in a large bowl. Dredge challah slices one by one in egg mixture (both sides) then put directly into hot pan. While the first side is cooking, you can sprinkle some more cinnamon on the exposed side if you want. Once the first side is golden, flip each slice. Cook on second side until golden. Serve hot with your favorite french toast toppings (we enjoyed ours with a little more butter, pure maple syrup, and toasted walnuts).

Challah French Toast (variation 2: baked)
Serves 2

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Add another egg (to total 4) and an additional 1/4 cup milk (to total 1/2 cup) to the mixture described in variation 1. Whisk well. Butter a glass baking dish and arrange challah slices in the dish. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread. Bake for 40 minutes.

If you're feeling fancy, chop up some walnuts (1/4 cup) and mix with 2 Tbsp. melted butter and 2 Tbsp. brown sugar. Top your baking french toast with this halfway through the baking time. 

For easy blueberry syrup, put 2 handfuls of blueberries, 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup maple syrup in a pot over medium high heat and cook until you have a beautiful dark violet syrup (let some of the blueberries retain their shape).


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