That's a pretty big claim. I can think of a hundred different ways to make a crazy-delicious French Toast. But this one is my absolute favorite. It is simple but incorporates a special little twist in the choice of bread.
Although I have some yummy casserole versions of French Toast, I prefer the more traditional griddle-top method so I use a stove top griddle. The reversible double burner version by Le Creuset is fantastic. I just ordered one to replace my "faux" aluminum one. Do yourself a favor and get a quality cast iron grill pan. There is a big difference in the way it cooks. The more dense metal may be heavier, but that causes even cooking of your food and nice heat retention for good searing. We carry these griddles at both locations of The Chopping Block.
Let's talk about the bread. Some of my favorites for French Toast are challah, brioche or good old Texas toast. But in this recipe, I use a cinnamon swirl loaf coated with a nice white fondant type icing. I found a loaf like this at the bakery near my house and also at Whole Foods and Mariano's. It is a very dense, heavy bread swirled with cinnamon. When cooked on the griddle top, the icing slowly melts off and forms a delightful carameley glaze!
- 1 loaf of cinnamon swirl iced bakery loaf sliced thick
For the custard:
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Zest from half an orange
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 tablespoons agave syrup or brown sugar
- Pinch of salt
Combine all of the custard ingredients together in a large, wide bowl using a whisk to completely blend the mix evenly.
Prepare the griddle by placing it on the stove over two burners with the flat side up. Turn the burners to high and let the grill get hot. Turn the grill down to low and apply a small amount of canola oil to the griddle and use a silicon brush to spread the oil evenly over the surface. Dunk 1 or 2 pieces of bread at a time, holding them submerged for 30 seconds or so, until you can feel the bread has absorbed a good amount of the custard. Place the bread on the griddle and repeat. By the time you fill the griddle, the first couple of pieces should be getting close. Turn them when they are a deep golden brown, after approximately 5 minutes.
As you flip them, wait about a minute between each row to keep the cooking time even. Cook on the second side an additional 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.
The key is to keep your griddle at a nice low temperature so your toast stays golden brown and has time to cook through.
These have a nice glaze already on them from the icing, but I go ahead and pour some pure maple syrup and place a pat of butter on top, and I am in breakfast paradise!
If you love making breakfast or brunch foods like I do, you should check out our Spring Forward: Brunch! cooking class on Sunday March 12 at the Merchandise Mart for seasonal breakfast ideas. Or stop in to visit and ask anyone on our staff about how awesome our Le Creuset cast iron griddle/grill combos are!