The kids are finally starting school next week after a two week delay. Usually, I dread the start of school – dragging grumpy teenagers out of bed to get ready for school is nothing I look forward to. However, after the events of the last two weeks when Hurricane Harvey unleashed so much rain on Houston that it’s being called a 1,000-year flood event and left a previously unfathomable amount of destruction in its wake, I am appreciating anything resembling normal life right now (and I’m not even having to cope with a flooded home). It will be good for us to get back to a more predictable routine.
Part of our morning routine is getting everyone off to school and work with a good breakfast. Given that it’s a weekday and no one is fully awake, it has to be a breakfast that is no fuss and that everyone enjoys. It’s no wonder this particular recipe has become my favorite french toast recipe. It has a slightly custardy texture with a bit of sweetness and is a breeze to whip up.
I don’t recommend this recipe if you’re making French toast for a large crowd though. For large gatherings, I would recommend making a baked French toast like this one. However, for a family of four or fewer, this classic French toast recipe is perfect. You can get all the bread soaked and cooked in a short time, allowing you to sit and join your family at the breakfast table.
A lot of french toast recipes call for a really thick slice of bread. I prefer a thinner slice, especially in this recipe, where the the bread is soaking for only a few minutes. Otherwise, the centers don’t get soaked through and get dried out when cooked. Not to mention, it’s hard to get thick French toast to cook all the way through while still maintaining a beautiful golden brown exterior. You either end up with raw interiors or burnt exteriors. Not good. Thus, I prefer to cut 1/2-inch thick slices. They soak up just enough batter and puff up beautifully when they’re cooked.
Although brioche or challah is my bread of choice for French toast, I have also made this recipe with sour dough bread and it was also delicious.
You can choose how you want to top your French toast. Everyone in my family tops theirs differently. My oldest daughter likes it plain. My husband prefers cinnamon sugar. I like a little maple syrup. My youngest daughter goes all the way with cinnamon sugar AND maple syrup. As long as it gets her out of bed in time for school, I won’t protest.
- 2 large eggs
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for frying
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 1/4 cup cream
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon table salt
- 8 slices brioche loaf bread or 4-5 slices challah bread (cut 1/2 inch thick)
- Powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, or maple syrup for serving
- In a shallow baking dish, lightly beat eggs together. Whisk in butter, milk, cream and vanilla; mix together until combined. Add sugar, flour, and salt; continue whisking until mixture is fairly smooth. Set aside.
- Heat a heavy non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until hot (To test it, flick a little water into the pan. The water should skitter across the surface.) Swirl a little butter in the hot pan to evenly coat the pan.
- Meanwhile, soak 2-3 bread slices in the egg mixture and let soak for 60 seconds. Turn and let soak for 60 seconds more. Carefully lift the soaked bread slices from the batter, letting any excess drip back into the baking dish, and transfer to the hot pan. Cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn the slices over and cook until browned on the other side, about 2 minutes more. Transfer the French toast to a warmed platter. Repeat with the remaining batter and bread slices, adding butter to the pan as needed.
- Serve with your choice of toppings – powdered sugar, cinnamon sugar, or maple syrup.
Recipe adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.