I’d like to propose a toast to toast. It can do so many miraculous things: drizzled with olive oil and topped with tomatoes, it becomes bruschetta; brushed with butter and topped with eggs, it’s an open-faced breakfast sandwich. And then there’s the matter of French toast; where you dunk the bread in custard, fry it up in butter and serve it hot with good maple syrup. The only thing that could make that better is if you double the toast quotient by toasting the bread before making it French. And the only thing that could make THAT better is if you make the toast cinnamon toast.
This idea comes to us, as most great ideas do, from Smitten Kitchen. Well, at least the first half. You start by making cinnamon toast by brushing good bread with butter, sprinkling it with sugar and cinnamon and toasting it in the oven.
Just that step alone will make your house or apartment smell good and there’s an argument to be made that you could stop right there and enjoy some good old fashioned cinnamon toast with your breakfast. But why stop there? The next step is my own riff on Deb’s method. Deb, anticipating a crowd, has you bake the Cinnamon Toast French Toast in the oven like a bread pudding. Since I was only cooking for me and Craig, I decided to make Cinnamon Toast French Toast the good old-fashioned way.
That is to say, after dunking it in an improvised custard of eggs, whole milk, sugar, a little more cinnamon and a splash of vanilla, I fried it up in butter as you do with most French toast. What happens is because it’s toast before it’s French toast, the bread soaks up even more of the custard because it’s even more resilient. You end up with a crisper exterior and creamier interior.
To gild the lily, I sprinkled more of the cinnamon sugar mixture on at the end in the spirit of cinnamon doughnuts. The resulting French toast has all of the crunch and richness of regular French toast, only more comforting because of the cinnamon factor. It’s a great way to start your weekend which means you should make this tomorrow. We can toast our toasts together.
Recipe: Cinnamon Toast French Toast
Summary: Inspired by Smitten Kitchen.
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- For 2 people, 4 thick slices of good bread
- 2 Tablespoons melted butter + 2 Tablespoons regular butter
- 3 large eggs
- A pinch of salt
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat the oven to 450. Mix together the sugar and cinnamon, brush the bread with the melted butter, place it on a cookie sheet and sprinkle some of the cinnamon/sugar mixture on top. You should see the bread sparkle before you put it in the oven. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes until the bread is dark around the edges and fragrant.
- Meanwhile, make your custard by beating your eggs together in a baking dish wide enough for you to dip the bread. Add a spoonful of the cinnamon/sugar mixture, a pinch of salt and slowly incorporate the milk and vanilla extract.
- To finish, divide the 2 Tablespoons regular butter between two non stick skillets and heat them both on high. As the butter melts and gets foamy, dip the cinnamon toast two pieces at a time into the custard mixture, allowing it to soak up as much as possible without falling apart. When the foam subsides, add the cinnamon toast to the hot skillets and fry, monitoring the heat, for about 2 minutes on each side until it’s deeply caramelized and cooked.
- To serve, sprinkle with a little more of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Offer it up with some good maple syrup and bacon to round things out.
Preparation time: 25 minute(s)
Cooking time: 5 minute(s)
Number of servings (yield): 2