I never knew what a masterpiece that French toast could be until Jeremy and I tried a variation of Alton Brown’s recipe a few years ago. It’s delightfully custardy instead of simply eggy – and all-around delicious. I always used a lot of excited words and multiple exclamation points every time I ate it. =)
Then Jeremy and I went to California last December. He had a conference in Anaheim and then we spent a few extra days in the Los Angeles area. One morning we ate breakfast at this tiny-but-super-popular place called The Griddle Cafe.
I ordered cinnamon streusel pancakes (they call them Recess Time pancakes) and we were amazed at the sheer size of them! They were literally as big as the full-size plate they were resting on.
But, um, this is what my to-go box looked like…
I made barely a dent in them…because Jeremy ordered Mom’s French Toast. Both of ours were delicious (and huge! We could have definitely shared one order of either), but I found my fork returning to his plate several times over.
That stuff was even better than our French toast at home! What kind of bewitching bread was this?? It was then that I knew that using regular ole wheat sandwich bread definitely wasn’t what Alton had in mind…
So imagine my delight when I randomly found a loaf of Brioche bread at an area Wal-mart bakery a few months ago! Because, y’all, that was one of Alton Brown’s suggestions: “country bread, Brioche, or challah” – and he’s so, so, SO right. French toast brilliance! Brioche is incredible by itself, but add some vanilla and cinnamon-spiked custardy goodness and you’ll hardly even need any syrup. I was in love. (P.S. The other side of 35 is not the best time to go falling in love with anything that doesn’t involve nutritious things like kale and other leafy greens. So eat your kale and other leafy greens…and then splurge on this French toast!)
When I wanted to make it again, to take pictures to share with you, dear readers (it had nothing to do with the fact that I was craving Brioche French toast)….there were no Brioche loaves to be found! There were fluffy Brioche hamburger buns – and yes, that also sounds like a good idea – but nothing to make French toast with. Until Jeremy happened upon a loaf of sliced Hawaiian bread…
I considered it. I was disappointed about the lack of Brioche, but then realized that our readers might not be able to find Brioche either. And really, how could Hawaiian bread make bad French toast? I was pretty sure it wasn’t possible.
I was right. Whew! Sliced Hawaiian bread is so very similar to using sliced Brioche. So snatch up whatever you can find at your local bakery and head home with the knowledge that you’ll be a winner either way.
P.S. If you can’t find Brioche OR sliced Hawaiian bread, regular ole sandwich bread will suffice. You’ll just need more syrup. 😉
Now let’s talk ingredients and technique. You’ll be glad to know that this is an easy recipe. Of course, Toaster Streudel would be easier, but you didn’t come here to read about those, did you? 😉
If you’re making French toast for several people and don’t want the first batch to get cold while you cook the second batch, preheat your oven to 375 F. Be heating a tablespoon of butter on medium low in a non-stick pan on your stovetop.
You can dip each side of your bread into the egg mixture and let the excess drip off before cooking. But sometimes your bread might be so soft and delicate that it starts wanting to fall apart. So play it by ear. Sometimes we spread the sliced bread out in a pan and slowly pour the custard mixture over it. And I totally don’t mind the bread soaking up more liquid that, so there you go. 😉 Just be warned that you may only get 4 pieces of French toast that way – that’s perfect for us, though. Or you can do a quicker dip and have enough for 8 slices.
Cook each side for 3-5 minutes. If your bread soaked up a lot of the egg mixture, make sure it’s cooked all the way through. You can gently press it in the middle with the corner of your spatula to check.
Top with your favorite French toast toppings! A little syrup is just fine with me, but you can also add a dusting of powdered sugar, a dollop of whipped cream, or some berries. Enjoy!
- 1 cup half and half
- 3 large eggs
- 2 Tbsp. honey, warmed in microwave for 20 seconds
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- generous sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)
- 4-8 slices of Hawaiian bread, Brioche loaf, or your favorite sandwich bread
- 1-2 Tbsp. butter
- Heat the honey slightly in the microwave.
- Whisk together the half and half, eggs, salt, cinnamon, and honey in a medium bowl.
- Melt the butter in a shallow non-stick pan on medium low.
- You can do a quick dip of each piece of bread on both sides OR
- Arrange the bread in a flat, single layer and pour the egg custard mixture slowly over the top.
- After the butter is melted, place the soaked bread slices in the pan.
- Cook each side for 3-5 minutes or until browned and cooked through.
- Top with syrup and enjoy!
- Additional toppings could include a dusting of powdered sugar, a dollop of whipped cream, and/or berries. =)
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