Easy French Toast

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There are three kinds of people in this world: pancake people, waffle people, and people who like French toast. I’d put myself in the middle category: I’m a waffle person. I like the texture of waffles, I like the little holes that catch the syrup, and I love the way they smell when they’re being cooked.

But I don’t own a waffle iron so I only get waffles when I eat out; which leaves only two options for Sunday morning breakfast: pancakes or French toast. And for some reason, until last week, it was only ever pancakes–buttermilk pancakes, strawberry pancakes–but just pancakes, never anything else. “Why don’t you make French toast?” Craig asked last Sunday when we both said we didn’t want pancakes; I scratched my head and couldn’t come up with a good reason not to. “Ok,” I said. “Let’s have French toast.”

The thing about French toast is that, more likely than not, you have all the ingredients you need already on hand: milk, eggs, sugar, butter, bread. And all you’re doing when you make it is frying bread in butter–bread that’s been soaked in a custardy mixture. Sure, you can vary the bread–for a truly decadent French toast use challah or brioche: that’s what most restaurants do–but simple, plain white sandwich bread will work fine. I used a recipe from “The Joy of Cooking” that was incredibly basic but, also, incredibly satisfying; it yields a French toast with a crunchy exterior, a creamy interior and a subtle hint of vanilla. You’re going to love it.

Easy French Toast

from “The Joy of Cooking” by Irma Rombauer

Yields 8 slices (which feeds 2 ravenous people)

Ingredients

2/3 cup milk or half-and-half

4 eggs

2 Tablespoons sugar or maple syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla or 1 Tablespoon rum (I used vanilla)

1/4 teaspoon salt

8 slices white sandwich bread

Butter as needed

Ok, get ready this is complicated:

(1) Whisk everything together, except the bread and butter, in a shallow pan (I used a pie plate)–make sure to whisk good, though, you want all the eggs broken up and homogeneous;

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(2) Heat a skillet on medium/high heat, add 1 Tbs of butter, and as it foams up take a piece of bread, dip it on one side in the mixture, dip it on the other side, wipe off the excess egg, and drop it in the skillet; take one more piece of bread and do the same and then let that bread fry—leaving it alone for 30 seconds or so, adjusting the heat so it doesn’t cook too fast.

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Use a spatula, eventually, and take a peak–if it’s golden brown and crusty where it’s cooking, it’s time to flip it over. Cook it on the other side and then put it on a plate. I had the oven at 200 and put the plate with the finished French toast in the oven so I could fry up everything and have it all hot at the same time.

(3) Sift confectioner’s sugar over the top and serve with maple syrup. Watch last night’s Saturday Night Live on Tivo and celebrate the comedy of Kristin Wiig.

That’s what I call a great Sunday morning.

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