French toast is my favorite. It's hard to believe I haven't made this in about 2 years, but it's not for lack of desire, oh trust me. French toast is one of those easy peasy brunch dishes that can be whipped up with a cup of strong hot coffee and a hangover, thus, making it the most useful recipe to keep in your back pocket for exactly one of those times. There are few things, though, that I strongly believe elevates regular French toast into the BEST French toast. Don't compromise on these things and I promise you'll never go back to soggy, unflavorful French toast ever again.
First, the bread. It should be Challah bread or Brioche. Something sweet, porous, maybe even a day old. French toast is basically bread, so it should be a good loaf.
Speaking of bread, slice it thick. Almost an inch. No one likes thin, flimsy French toast, but if you go too thick, the egg mixture won't penetrate the whole thing.
Next the egg mixture. You'll need:
- Four extra large eggs. 3 of these you can crack right into the pan. One will be yolk only.
- 1/2 cup half and half
- 1 tsp cinnamon (or more to taste)
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar. This will give it a nice caramel-y taste.
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- pinch of table salt
- pats of butter, for the pan
The half and half makes the mixture thick, almost like a custard. The extra egg yolk helps with that, too!
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees fahrenheit. Set up a cooling rack inside a jelly roll pan. Since the slices of French toast are thick, we are going to quickly brown them, and then finish them in the oven. This ensures that they all come out warm and cooked through the middle.
In a large shallow dish, whisk the eggs, half and half, cinnamon, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt together. Dip the bread slices in the dish, coating each side. Flip them over a couple of times so that the mixture penetrates the entire slice. Let those sit while the pan heats up to medium-high heat.
Place a pat of butter in your non-stick pan. Once it browns a bit, fry up the French toast slices, just until each side is brown and toasty. Place them on the cooling rack as they come out of the pan.
Once they're all done, place the pan in the middle rack for about 10 minutes. Take the time to set up the table, refill your coffee, or warm up some maple syrup.
Serve up with maple syrup and powdered sugar. I like mine with orange zest, but that is obviously optional. Strong coffee, fresh fruit, and bacon is not.