Friday, June 28, 2013

Sunday Best

It's no secret that brunch is one of my favorite weekend activities. A lazy morning, lots of food, good coffee...what's not to love?

A friend and I were talking recently and the topic of French toast came up. French toast? Ohhh, French toast...that long forgotten breakfast food that I feel I haven't made in years. And that's when I knew exactly what would be on my table come Sunday morning.

Here's a funny story about French toast: when I was growing up, it always kind of grossed me out. Soggy, eggy bread? Gross. Then my mom started making baked French toast, and let me tell you, that stuff will rock your world. Same prep is involved, just a different cooking method. There's also some flexibility with ingredients, allowing for a tiny bit healthier recipe (such as eggs vs. egg whites or milk vs. half and half/cream). As with many of my recipes, measurements here are eyeballed. Determine the amount of bread you're using first, then measure out the eggs and milk to give yourself enough liquid to dip each side of all the bread slices.

What you need:

Bread of choice (I used fresh Ciabatta from my Saturday Trader Joe's trip)
Eggs (or egg whites)
Milk, half and half or cream
Melted butter (optional - about 1 or 2 tbs)
Spices (I like cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger)

What you do:
-Slice your bread into about 1" thick pieces (I used 5 slices)
-Crack your eggs (or pour eggs whites from a carton) into a dish large enough to dip your bread slices
-Pour in your milk, half and half or cream (this should be maybe 1/3 the amount of egg/egg whites)
-Pour in your melted butter (if using - let cool so it doesn't harden when you pour it into the cold egg/milk mixture)
-Add your spices, then whisk all of the ingredients together
-Prepare a baking dish by greasing it with butter or cooking spray
-Dip each side of each piece of bread into the mixture so that it is saturated, then place it in the baking dish
-Bake uncovered at 350ยบ for about 30 minutes (longer if you want your French toast crispier and less soggy), turning the pieces of bread over once during baking.

Top off your warm, baked French toast with fresh berries, banana slices, syrup, butter, or a dusting a powdered sugar. Or even more fun, if having brunch with family or friends, make a French toast bar laying out all the possible toppings and let your guests create their own perfect French toast. Enjoy!

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