Fancy French Toast for a fast breakfast
My family loves a big breakfast on the weekend, but I don't especially love making one. I've already got my mind on lunch and dinner plans, and the last thing I want is to make and then clean up a big mess first thing in the morning. So, I have learned a few simple tricks to make a good breakfast that seems special but is really simple.
Trick number one: Perfect eggs.
My husband isn't really into egg casserole-type dishes, but he loves a good egg over easy. Problem is, they're not really always that easy to get right. I've found that the safest way to make an over-easy egg is to not go over at all. Instead, I baste. I cook the egg in a mixture of hot oil and butter (to avoid over-browning) over medium heat, and I scoop the cooking grease out of the pan and baste the top of the egg with it. Pouring over and over, then adding a lid at the end of the cooking will produce the runny yolk you desire without risking breaking it in a tortured flipping procedure.
Trick number two: French toast.
My kid loves pancakes, and I often break down and make them for him, but that requires a kind of lengthy and messy process, especially since we tend to really only like them from scratch. Instead, I often toss together a piece or two of French toast for everyone, which is much simpler, and frankly, just as delicious in my never-to-be-humble opinion. French toast is a nice palette for toppings as well. You can go crazy with jams, jellies, sugars, syrups, chocolate, peanut butter — you name it, it's good on French toast.
Now, for best results, start with day-old French bread. Even better, if you have the foresight, is to cut thick slices of French bread the night before and leave them out to dry overnight. (I almost never do this, as that kind of planning is not in my wheelhouse.) In a pinch, any old bread will do.
I like to jazz it up a little, so I keep a little raspberry extract on hand. Or, you could use orange, or whatever else you like. I just like to say "framboise" and I like raspberry preserves, so I usually go with that flavor. The lovely thing about it is the ingredients are things that most of us always have on hand, so there's no pressure to plan for this.
Framboise French Toast
4 thick slices French bread or challah
1 teaspoon raspberry extract
2/3 cup milk
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter (or cooking oil)
Fresh berries (if you have them)
Toppings such as preserves, maple syrup, powdered sugar, or chocolate syrup
Whisk the eggs, milk, cinnamon,and extract together.
Heat the butter or cooking oil in a skillet, and dunk each piece of bread in the mixture, allowing it to soak up the liquid a bit.
Then just fry each piece of bread on both sides over medium heat until lightly brown. Serve immediately with whatever lovely toppings your heart desires. (Breakfast food tends to get cold fast.)
We like a pat of butter, a dusting of powdered sugar, AND a little maple syrup. Or, just a smear of raspberry jam.
It seems deluxe, but you can whip it up in two minutes and not make a big sloppy mess about it. Eggs are also quick to cook, so you can have a nice plate of eggs and fancy French toast on the table in no time, and then go back to doing what you really want to do on Saturday morning. For me, that's laying on the couch watching reruns of Duck Dynasty.