Sunday, May 15, 2011

A French Toast Breakfast for Mother's Day

Last week for Mother's Day, Lara and I did what we usually do for Mother's Day and bought my mom some new plants for her yard. This year we bought her some heritage raspberry bushes she had been wanting. I can't wait to try some home grown raspberries, just imagine the possibilities! But we also wanted to do something else extra special this year, so our thoughts went to the kitchen (of course!). We decided to surprise her with a delicious breakfast on Saturday morning. Lara got the idea after seeing Martha Stewart's ideas on the Today Show for a Mother's Day breakfast in bed. But, since we wanted to go for a run, and my mom wanted to go to the YMCA in the morning, breakfast in the bed was out. However, mom going to the Y in the morning was the perfect opportunity to prepare one of her favorite breakfasts to surprise her with when she came home. The dish: French Toast!

We made the French toast extra special with fresh strawberries and bananas and a mascarpone cream filling. We also went out to the best (in my opinion) bakery in Grand Rapids, Nantucket Baking Company, and bought the most delicious loaf of brioche, because when making French toast why not go all the way and buy the richest, most buttery and tender loaf of bread you can find?! This bread did not disappoint, it made the best French toast I have ever had. It's a good thing I don't live any closer to the bakery or I would probably gain 50 pounds!

Try this French toast, it will not disappoint. Even if all you have is squishy Wonder bread it will be delicious. But if you feel like splurging on something a little extra special, go to your favorite bakery and buy the richest bread you can find, you won't regret it.

All I can say is Yum!!

The brioche, I love the shape

The bread and custard, 
ready to dip

A little cream makes everything better

Lara and the griddle, getting excited to eat!

Nice and toasty

Almost done

Adding the cream between the slices

and finishing off with fruit

Mom, all ready to eat

I think she likes it!

Digging in

I couldn't resist another picture, it was too good

Finishing with coffee on a nice and full stomach


Very happy :)
Love you mom!!!

Note: For the cream filling, I have no idea of how much of anything we threw together. I know there was mascarpone cheese, plain yogurt and powdered sugar, probably a pinch of salt and some vanilla. It really doesn't matter as long as it tastes good. Cream cheese would be just as good for the filling, I just got lucky and there was some mascarpone in the fridge, a very uncommon phenomenon. We just put the filling between two slices of the toast, I wanted to cut slits in the bread and fill it that way but it didn't work with this bread, but no worries, that didn't negatively affect the taste in any way.

French Toast
from The Complete America's Test Kitchen TV Show Cookbook
Note: For best results, choose a good challah or a firm sandwich bread. To prevent the butter from clumping during mixing, warm the milk in a microwave or small saucepan until warm to the touch (about 80 degrees). The French toast can be cooked all at once on an electric griddle, but may take an extra 2 to 3 minutes per side. Set the griddle temperature to 350 degrees and use the entire amount of butter for cooking. Serve with warm maple syrup.

  • 8 large slices high quality white sandwich bread or challah 
  • 1 1/2 c whole milk, warmed 
  • 3 large egg yolks 
  • 3 Tbs light brown sugar 
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 2 Tbs butter, melted, plus 2 Tbs for cooking 
  • 1/4 tsp table salt 
  • 1 Tbs vanilla extract 
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 300 degrees. Place the bread on a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet. Bake the bread until almost dry throughout (the center should remain slightly moist), about 16 minutes, flipping the slices halfway through cooking. Remove the bread from the rack and let cool 5 minutes. Return the baking sheet with the wire rack to the oven and reduce the temperature to 200 degrees.

Whisk the milk, egg yolks, sugar, cinnamon, 2 tablespoons melted butter, salt and vanilla in a large bowl until well blended. Transfer the mixture to a 13 by 9-inch baking pan.

Soak the bread in the milk mixture until saturated but not falling apart, 20 seconds per side. Using a firm slotted spatula, pick up a bread slice and allow the excess milk mixture to drip off; repeat with remaining slices. Place the soaked bread on another baking sheet or platter.

Heat 1/2 tablespoon butter in a 12-inch skillet over medium-low heat. When the foaming subsides, use a slotted spatula to transfer 2 slices of the soaked bread to the skillet and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until the second side is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes longer. (If the toast is cooking too quickly, reduce the temperature slightly.) Transfer to the baking sheet in the oven. Wipe out the skillet with paper towels. Repeat cooking with remaining bread, 2 pieces at a time, adding 1/2 tablespoon of butter for each batch. Serve warm.  


  1. I can just taste it by looking at it!:) What a nice treat to your mom! btw, we tried your pancake mix and loooove it even without the malted milk powder! I don't know where to find them though.:(

  2. Thanks! I'm glad you liked the pancake mix, it is delicious. Keep up the search for the malted milk powder!

  3. What perfect toasting on your french toast! Usually I flip mine too early the first round, then I burn the second round, and the third ones are usually better! I also love to read your blog and see all the great pictures!

  4. Thanks Allison! I'm glad you enjoy looking at the pictures, I enjoy putting them up.