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The Best French Toast I've Ever Made

Serves 4-6     adjust servings

I truly thought I did not like French Toast. (It's so...eggy?) But all that has changed now. I've found the secret methods to the BEST French toast of your life. I will show you how to make this easy recipe that uses all egg yolks, super thick brioche or challah bread, with caramelized edges for a magical sugary crunch. It is the ONLY way I will eat French toast from now on!

Ingredients

  • 1 large loaf challah or brioche bread, or 8-10 thick sliced white bread (see instructions)
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream* or half & half
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of nutmeg, optional
  • extra granulated sugar, for caramelizing
  • butter, for frying
  • vegetable oil, for frying

Garnish ideas

  • maple syrup
  • sifted powdered sugar
  • strawberries, blueberries, raspberries

Instructions

  1. Choose your bread. If you like very thick french toast (you should try it at least once!), find a local bakery and get yourself a loaf of challah or brioche bread (buy a day-old loaf if they have it.) I don't like using French bread or the regular loaves you find in the deli at the grocery store; the crusts turn out too chewy. You want a nice soft edge. If you can't get to a bakery, head to the grocery store and buy the thickest and softest white bread you can find. (3/4 inch or thicker.) Texas toast is great. I like to use the Artesano brand of bread; they sell a pre-sliced brioche loaf that is pretty legit. But their white bread is also nice and soft. See photos.
  2. Slice your bread with a serrated knife if you are working with a whole loaf. See photos. I like my slices to be about 1 and 1/4 inch thick, which feels a little ridiculous, but trust me. You can even go up to 2 inches if you're feeling wild. Don't slice thinner than 3/4 inch.
  3. Set your bread aside, spread out so that it gets a little dried out. Day old bread is great for French toast. In France, they call this dish "Lost Bread" because it's what you make when you have dried out bread to use up. (I experimented with toasting the bread first, but thought it dried out the finished product too much.)
  4. Make the egg mixture. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl,* whisk together 3 egg yolks, 1 and 1/2 cups heavy cream* or half & half, 1/4 cup granulated sugar, 1 tablespoon vanilla, 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, and a pinch of nutmeg, if you like. Whisk until it is completely smooth and the cinnamon is well incorporated.
  5. Pour the mixture into a shallow dish like a pie plate, or an 8x8 inch pan. Place a slice of bread in the mixture and let it sit there for 10 to 20 seconds. How long you soak it depends on how thick your bread is. It should be soft when you touch it, but still hold itself together. Flip the bread and soak the other side. You can start cooking the French toast right away, or you can place the soaked bread on a baking sheet or plate while you finish soaking all of them.
  6. Cook the French toast: Heat an electric griddle or large 12 inch skillet over medium low heat. When it is hot, add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (or any oil with a high smoke point.) Swirl it around until the pan is coated. Place the French toast on the pan with 1 to 2 inches in between each slice of bread. Cook on medium low heat for 3-5 minutes. The timing depends on your oven or griddle, so stick around and keep an eye on it.
  7. Caramelize. When the bottom of the first side is LIGHT brown (we are going to cook this side twice), sprinkle about a half tablespoon granulated sugar on the top (raw) side of the bread. Flip the toast, sugar side down, and fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes. (Be sure to swirl the pan so oil re-coats it, or add more butter/oil if necessary). Then, sprinkle another half tablespoon of sugar on the cooked side, and flip it over again so that it lightly caramelizes the first side.
  8. Keep your toast warm. Preheat your oven to the "keep warm" setting, about 170 degrees F. As you finish frying the toast, transfer each one to a wire cooling rack set over a baking sheet. Keep toast warm in the oven until ready to serve.
  9. I honestly don't even put maple syrup on caramelized French toast. I feel like it doesn't really need it, plus it makes the caramel edge not as crunchy. I like to eat it plain, or with a little jam. But maple syrup is really delicious if you are in the mood! A sprinkle of powdered sugar and a berry garnish never hurt either.
  10. Keep leftovers stored covered in the fridge. It will keep for 3-5 days. You can reheat leftovers in the microwave or the toaster. Or heat your oven to 350 and heat the toast all together on a wire rack set over a baking sheet, until the toast is warmed, about 5-10 minutes.

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