Wednesday, February 3, 2010

French Toast

My mom's recipe for French toast is the absolute best I've ever had. I've tried many versions at restaurants and diner, and even hotels, but none can compare. I think the secret is my mom's heavy handed uses of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cardamom. They give the toast a spicy kick, while still keeping it the dense comfort food that everyone knows and loves. To me, other French toast just tastes completely bland in comparison. When you just have egg and bread, all you really get to taste is the maple syrup. Whats the point of cooking when you end with something bland and uninteresting? However, this recipe is definitely none of those things. The spicy warmth that the cinnamon imbues in the bread is perfect for cold winter mornings. If there's one thing that can lure me out of my warm bread in the morning, its knowing that I have some french toast marinating in the fridge ready to be cooked. Yum!
That is another thing that makes french toast so great- you can get all the ingredients together the night before, and it will actually improve the flavor by letting the spices soak into the bread. I always end up taking longer then intended in the morning (Many days I prefer a little extra sleep to cooking for an extra 10 minutes), and so putting it together the night before allows me to have my cake french toast, and eat it too!
1 Loaf of Bread (Challah works the best, but whole grain or potato bread works great too! Its best if the bread is at least one day old)
4 Eggs
Dash of salt
2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Nutmeg
Dash of Cardamom
1 cup half and half
About a half a stick of butter (or margarine), depending on how much you want to use to grease the pan.
(Optional: you can add milk to the mixture if you want to make a larger amount)
Crack the eggs and combine them with the half and half, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and salt. (If you like, you can put this together the night before, as long as you keep it refrigerated and covered).
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. If you like you can pour the mixture into a shallower container- a casserole dish, pie pan, or large tupperware container would work fine.
Take two pieces of bread (or one at a time if you prefer), and place them into the egg mixture. Leave them in for about 30 seconds on each side- the bread will absorb the mixture quickly.
Put a pan (preferably nonstick, and large enough to accommodate two slices of bread) over medium-low heat. When ready to cook, place a bit of butter in the pan and roll it around until the pan is well coated.
2 at a time, place the wet bread slices into the pan and leave them there for about 2 to 3 minutes per side. (They should reach a golden brown color). After 2 to 3 minutes, take them out and place them on a rack or sheet in the oven, for about 8 minutes.
Then . . . take them out and enjoy!
This is my favorite breakfast in the world, and I am sure it will become your after you try it!