Over the past few years, after I finally got over my aversion to bread pudding and bread pudding-esque foods, I’ve made a couple different versions of baked French toast. I’ve enjoyed them all but to me, there’s no comparison to fresh French toast made on a hot griddle sizzling with butter. The crispy browned edges and pools of melted butter and maple syrup floating on top get me every time.
My mom made eggnog French toast for a brunch she hosted five or six years ago and I fell head over heals for it. As in, hold-me-back-from-getting-a-fourth-slice. And I don’t know why I only remembered that version again back in November when eggnog showed up again on the shelves this year as opposed to years past but I knew I had to have it. I adapted a tried and true recipe for French toast because, surprise surprise, I’ve screwed up French toast before, so I know this recipe will work great for you guys as well. The eggnog, used in place of milk, lends a subtle flavor to this star breakfast and a little extra sprinkle of nutmeg in the eggnog-egg mixture boosts the feeling that it really is the holidays. We used sourdough bread but any other type of hearty white or wheat, challah, French, or Italian bread will work great too. The key to a great French toast is to make sure the bread is dry and this can be quickly achieved in a warm oven for 15 minutes. Overall, this one is a true winner that will be perfect for a festive Christmas morning breakfast.
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source: adapted from The Cook’s Illustrated Cookbook
- 8 large slices sourdough bread, sliced 1- to 1 1/2-inches thick
- 1 1/2 cups eggnog, warmed (see note)
- 2 large eggs
- 3 tbsp light brown sugar, packed
- 1/4 tsp table salt
- 1/2 tsn ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground nugmeg
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted, plus 2 tbsp for cooking
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Adjust an oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 250 degrees F. Place bread on a baking sheet and let it warm in the oven until the slices are almost dry throughout (centers should remain slightly moist), about 15 minutes, flipping slices halfway through. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and and let the bread cool for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk the warmed eggnog, eggs, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, 2 tablespoons melted butter, and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Pour the mixture to 13- by 9-inch baking pan. A pie dish will work too but you want to be able to soak as many pieces of bread at the same time as you can.
- Heat an electric griddle to 350 degrees F or a 12-inch skillet over medium low heat.
- Soak the bread in eggnog mixture until saturated but not falling apart, about 45 seconds per side. (Soak for 20 seconds if using thinner slices of bread). Using firm slotted spatula, pick up a bread slice and allow excess eggnog mixture to drip off; repeat with remaining slices.
- While the bread soaks, melt butter on the griddle or 1/2 tbsp butter in the skillet – you should be able to cook all of the bread at the same time on an electric griddle. When foaming subsides, use a slotted spatula or spoon to transfer the soaked slices to the griddle and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. If you use a skillet, wipe it out with paper towels then repeat with remaining butter and bread until all the bread has been cooked. Keep cooked French toast in a warm oven, if necessary. Serve warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar or drizzled with maple syrup.