How To Make French Toast

I love breakfast! I love breakfast for breakfast! I love breakfast for lunch! I love breakfast for dinner! And I love breakfast for midnight snacks! (I feel that was nearing Dr. Seus-like…only without the rhymes.) Omelets, crèpes, waffles (topped with chocolate of course), pancakes (though I like waffles more), German Pancakes, muffins, and any other “breakfast food” brings a smile to my tummy no matter the time of day. While I must confess, I’m most commonly a waffle type of gal, today I want to address French Toast.

Now, what do you think of when you think of French Toast? I’ve asked a number of individuals, and it seems the common answer is the traditional dip some bread in a milky eggy mixture and fry it on a pan. This is also the type of French Toast my husband thinks of.  I, however, think of Crème Brulee French Toast Casserole.  This heaven in a dish—learned from my mother and sister Sarah—is absolutely to die for. It is far from healthy, and therefore far from gross!

Creme Brulee French Toast Casserole
1/2 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup
Bread, cubed, to cover butter mixture
5 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half (healthier if use milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt

Melt butter, brown sugar and corn syrup in saucepan. Pour into a 9 x 13-inch glass baking dish. Arrange bread pieces on top. Beat together eggs, half-and-half, vanilla and salt. Pour egg mixture over the top of the bread. Cover and chill overnight in the refrigerator. The next morning, bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Susie Powers, "Worldwide Ward Cookbook”

I have successfully made the afore mentioned French Toast thanks to my upbringing, but I confess I have never made traditional French Toast (laugh if you must...though I'll have you know I have made German Pancakes, crèpes, Orange Julius, waffles, and much more). Funny enough, on a number of occasions my husband has mentioned how much he loves classic French Toast… I quote, “Have you ever had just regular French Toast? Mmmm. That’s my favorite breakfast.” I got the hint.

It’s not that we didn’t eat classic French Toast in my youth, it’s just that it was not as common nor was it my favorite breakfast. Thus I never learned to make French Toast. On Sunday, however, I woke an hour or so before my husband and thought I’d surprise him with his favorite breakfast: Classic French Toast. Oh…my…goodness! Good thing I woke an hour or so before him because it definitely took the entire time! Ha. I should be embarrassed, only it’s really too funny a story to feel shame!

First: I recalled watching my parents make this breakfast a time or two, and I thought I could easily mimic it. I pulled down a bowl, cracked some eggs in it, added a swig of milk. I then cut 2 thick slices from the loaf of bread we had made the night before and dunked them in the mixture. Money.  Crème Brulee French Toast Casserole requires that you let a similar mixture soak into the bread over night; thinking about this, I thought hmm…I should probably let these soak a bit. Terrible idea. 15 minutes later I came back to discover soggy pieces of bread floating around in the mixture.

Take two. I fished out the soggy pieces then cut two more slices of bread. This time I quickly doused them in the mixture and flung them on the skillet.  Not soggy this time! 10 minutes later I stared confused as to why the French Toast had still not browned in the least. Apparently, you have to turn the pan on in order for the French Toast to cook (Haha—oops. Hey—it was early…ish). Alas, the pan was heating and the French Toast cooking. Unfortunately, I turned it up a bit too high—that and I had forgotten to spray or butter the pan—thus when I went to flip the French Toast I was left with a sticky, eggy, burnt mess.

Take three. I was beginning to doubt so alas I decided to look up French Toast on (a brilliant site). I was close—egg and milk; but this recipe recommended I add nutmeg, cinnamon, and vanilla to the mixture. I liked this idea. I cut two more thick pieces of my witling away loaf of bread, dunked them in, started cooking, and started smelling something terrible…the French Toast smelled horrific? I was bewildered (ok, not that bewildered as I was kind of on a roll). I sniffed closer; disgusting! It smelled like gross body odor. I next sniffed the eggy miture; disgusting. It smelled even worse of gross body odor. Pretty sure French Toast was not supposed to have such a foul stench.  I looked to the spices I had put in: nutmeg, cinnamon…oh wait. By cinnamon I had accidentally added cumin! Sigh. The nasty smell was quickly spreading throughout the apartment. I acted fast; I wanted Bryan to wake to the smell of goodness, not nastiness; I immediately started spraying air freshener.

Take four...five…and six: burnt, burnt, and finally after 10 pieces of terribleness I successfully browned two picturesque pieces of French Toast! The heavens then parted and a choir of angels started singing. Literally. I was in shock! I made two more just to prove to myself I could make it (14 total pieces of bread)! Then at long last I woke Bryan with a plate of beautiful golden-brown French Toast with a “that was a lot harder than it looks…” I then relayed the comical story of the French Toast, explaining why we had but a small amount of bread remaining. Too funny!

And for anyone desirous of a fantastic Orange Julius recipe I highly recommend this:

Orange Julius
6 oz frozen OJ concentrate
1 cup water
1 cup milk
½ cup sugar—or a little less than ½ cup splenda
Blend all together.  Once blended, slowly blend in 8-9 ice cubes.

Tis to die for!

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