Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Back to Basics: Classic French Toast

A few months ago, we went though quite the ordeal with Caroline, but emerged on the other side with some absolutely fantastic news:  She's outgrown her egg allergy!!  After the skin tests and blood draws showed her to have a borderline allergy, the allergist issued her an "egg challenge."  And yes, I had trouble not saying "Challenge - accepted."  Basically they fed her one scrambled egg over the course of 3 hours and monitored her reaction.  Or in this case, the lack there of.  I know it sounds a little ridiculous, but I definitely shed a few tears of joy at the news.  Especially when  she even got a little teary-eyed as she told me how happy it made her to be able to eat eggs, cookies, cakes, and pie.  To celebrate, I took her to the Whole Foods bakery and let her pick out anything she wanted from the dessert case.  She went with a fruit tart filled with pastry cream, and it was definitely enjoyed.  Along with scrambled eggs the next morning for breakfast.

I've become so wired to only prepare dinners without eggs, that I feel like a whole new world has been opened up to me.  Not only can I now make things that use eggs as binders, emulsifiers, etc, but breakfast for dinner has quickly become a dinner that we keep in heavy rotation.  Frittatas, scrambled eggs, waffles, pancakes, and French toast are all pretty popular with both kids.  French toast especially. Caroline quickly declared that it's her new favorite food, and Smith loves it as well.  I of course love my French toast drenched in maple syrup, but both of my kids have been eating it sans syrup, and they don't seem to mind at all.  It's plenty flavorful on it's own.

I know it may seem a little silly to share a recipe for something that is so basic and simple, but this recipe really deserves to be shared.  This is basically the ultimate French toast.  The outside gets a nice crispy, buttery crust, with just the slightest hint of sweetness.  The inside still remains light and fluffy - no soggy, limp French toast here!

I've made this several times in the past month or so, and I foresee it being made even more as time goes on.  I like to make a few extra pieces, then cut them into "sticks" and reheating them briefly in the oven the next morning.

Best French Toast
adapted from The New Best Recipe
makes 4 to 5 slices

The flour in the soaking custard is what helps it form such a great crust.  Also, using challah or brioche bread makes it feel that much more indulgent.  I like to add a bit of orange zest to the custard as well, but it's definitely optional - I never make a special trip to the store or anything if I don't have one lying around.  

  • 1 large egg
  • 2 Tbs unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup milk (any fat percentage is fine)
  • 2 tsp  vanilla extract
  • 2 Tbs brown sugar
  • 1-2 tsp grated orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 4-5 slices day-old challah or brioche bread, sliced 1-inch thick
  • unsalted butter, for cooking the French toast
Heat a large skillet  over medium heat for 5 minutes (preferably cast-iron, but nonstick will work as well).  

Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs and butter in a shallow dish or pie plate.  Whisk in the milk, vanilla, brown sugar, orange zest, cinnamon, flour, and salt.  Whisk until smooth.

Soak the bread for about 30-40 seconds per side, being careful not to oversaturate the bread (in other words, no need to dunk it and press it down into the custard).

Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the hot skillet, swirling to cover the whole pan.  Transfer the bread 2-3 slices at a time to the skillet.  Cook until golden-brown, about 1-2 minutes on the first side, then 1 minute on the second.  Continue with the remaining bread, adding 1 tablespoon of butter to the skillet for each new batch.  Serve immediately.


Joanne said...

Oh yay!! I'm so so so happy for you and for Caroline!! I know how much stress this must take off you that she's not going to eat some by accident and get sick. And it makes your life in the kitchen so much easier! Phew!

Unknown said...

Yay! How exciting! I know first hand how wonderful it is to outgrow allergies. Enjoy your new egg-filled world :)

Amy said...

I'm not sure I have ever heard of putting flour in the egg mixture, definitely going to have to try it out!

Emily @ She Makes and Bakes said...

Yay!!! I'm so happy that she outgrew her allergy! How great that you guys have so many more options now...and that she can eat baked goods!

Unknown said...

Josie, I love seeing little Caroline's smile. How fun for her to be able to have any of the treats in front of her this Christmas!

Caitlin said...

Yay for Caroline, and just in time for holiday goodies!

P.S. Stole your idea for her cooking birthday party for my daughter this year, it was a huge hit- thanks!

Shawnda said...

Look at that happy smile! Yay for eggs!

Jessica @ Sunny Side Up said...

I don't think your enthusiasm is silly at all! This is wonderful news and really opens up a whole new world for Caroline! Her response was adorable! My French toast recipe has always been very, very basic, and totally thrown together. I want to give this one a try!

Stephanie said...

I don't think I've ever followed a "recipe" for french toast so I love that you've posted one! I'm pretty sure that my french toast could use some help! Thanks.

Angie's Recipes said...

These French toasts are PERFECT!

Annie said...

I love this!

ErinsFoodFiles said...

Such good news! YAY!

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