Impress yourself and your friends by serving this easy, decadent, yet healthy breakfast. This recipe, though, is made with fresh fruit, almond butter, whole grain bread, and toasted walnuts for a warm, gooey morning treat.
Berries pack a solid antioxidant punch. The small, yet mighty berry may well protect you from heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, macular degeneration, and more.
Ridiculously easy to make, beautiful on the plate, and healthy yet scrumptious to eat, your guests will definitely be asking for this recipe on their way out your door.
- 4 pieces whole grain or whole wheat bread
- 1 Teaspoon salt
- 2 bananas, sliced thinly long-ways
- 1 Teaspoon cinnamon
- 4 large strawberries, sliced thinly
- 1/2 Cup fresh blueberries
- 1 Cup nonfat or soy milk
- 1 Teaspoon almond extract
- 2 eggs
- 4 Tablespoons almond butter
- Zest of 1 large orange
- Zest of 1 large lemon
- 1/2 Cup chopped walnuts, toasted
- Dusting of powdered sugar (optional)
- Canola oil spray
Savory stuffed French toast
I admit it. I’ve had a lifelong love affair with French toast.
When I was a kid, there was a simple magic to it: The way the soaked bread would puff in the pan, the toast crisping to a rich, golden brown in the hot fat. Fresh out of the pan, the dish was topped with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, like a dusting of fresh snow. This was dessert for breakfast -- it almost felt wrong. With each bite, the crisp, almost brittle crust would give way to a tender, soft-as-a-pillow interior, subtle with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg and fragrant notes of vanilla.
As I started to cook for myself, it became a go-to recipe for its sheer ease and simplicity.
French toast remains a favorite breakfast choice. Done right, there’s an unpretentious beauty to this classic comfort food. But there is an art to French toast.
Sometimes there’s nothing as tempting as a plate of crisp, thick slices piled high on a plate with a sprinkling of sugar. But this is one dish that’s not limited to the classic presentation. Try soaking the toast overnight, then baking it as a casserole the next morning the toast will swell like a souffle in the oven as the scent of spiced custard fills the house. Or try stuffing the bread before frying, hiding a pocket of soft cheese, maybe chocolate or even a savory filling inside. This is one dish that’s not limited to the skillet, or even the breakfast plate.
Great French toast starts with the bread, but though almost any bread can be used in a French toast recipe, enriched breads with a loose structure, such as brioche or challah, are favorites. Still, whole-grain breads can give the toast an almost rustic appeal.
Slice the bread thick -- about an inch-- so there is still plenty of soft interior after the exterior of the bread crisps. Let the slices dry a little -- dry bread, like a dry sponge, will absorb the custard batter more readily.
With the custard, it’s all about the ratio of dairy to eggs. Recipes will vary -- a few eggs can be whisked with as little as a couple of tablespoons or as much as a cup of dairy. The more dairy, the lighter the custard less dairy means a heavier, richer custard with the egg more prominent. And though milk works fine in the custard base, nothing beats the richness and silky texture of cream.
Add other flavors to the custard with a light hand, so as not to interfere too much with the toppings. Vanilla or almond extract will add a little richness, citrus zest will brighten the flavors and a dash of liqueur will add extra personality. A little spice -- cinnamon, nutmeg -- is classic, and a pinch of star anise, cardamom or allspice might add an exotic note. Or try a little chile powder, paprika or garlic for a savory take on the dish.
Leave the bread in the custard long enough to get soaked through but not completely saturated, maybe a couple of minutes on each side, depending on the bread. Then gently fry the bread in a hot skillet lightly coated with fat. Butter is traditional (and nothing beats the flavor of a little browned butter), though it can burn if not watched closely. Clarified butter or a neutral oil also works well. For more robust flavor, go with a hardier fat, such as bacon grease.
And though a skillet or griddle is the most common, it is by no means the only way to cook French toast. Try cooking it in a waffle iron or even a panini press (great for stuffed French toast). If using a skillet, make sure it is heavy enough to evenly heat, and cover the toast as it’s frying so it cooks evenly.
French toast can also be baked. Bread slices are assembled in a baking dish with the custard poured over to soak. Baked like a casserole, the toast souffles in the oven, still crisp but much more like a bread pudding in texture.
Maybe the best thing about baked French toast is that virtually all the work is done ahead of time. Assemble the dish the night before to soak and refrigerate it. The next morning, remove the baking dish from the fridge as the oven heats so it can warm slightly (for even baking). Top the bread with whatever you want, then put it in the oven. In less than an hour, breakfast is ready. It’s a perfect dish when you have houseguests.
There must be a reason stuffed French toast seems to be showing up on more menus lately. Maybe because you can never have too much of a good thing. Slices of battered bread are sandwiched around a variety of fillings --jams, cream cheese, mascarpone -- before frying, then plated with a wide variety of sauces, glazes and toppings.
Methods vary, but the process is fairly simple: Use thinner slices of bread and batter them as you would for classic French toast (batter on one side only if you have a particularly moist filling). Then fill the sandwich. Use a thick jam or a fruit compote, try a flavored or herbed soft cheese or even a spread (Nutella, anyone?). Spoon the filling onto one side of the sandwich, leaving enough room around the edge so the filling does not spill out as the French toast cooks. Then gently fry over moderate heat, keeping the pan covered so the sandwich cooks evenly. Voila.
And the method works great with savory fillings. Take what you have in the refrigerator and improvise -- maybe a little caramelized onion, cheese, bacon and leftover dandelion greens. Served with a tart salad and a glass of wine, it makes a perfect meal to close the day.
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- Bread – best to use stale old bread. I use gluten free.
- Strawberries and banana – choose your favorite fruit or berries but this is the ultimate combo that is most affordable and easy to make. Don’t throw away the strawberry tops, read more about what you can do with them below in this post.
- Cream cheese – you can use both Philadelphia or Mascarpone cheese (I’ve used the last one in this recipe which is in my opinion best for sweet cream cheese french toast.)
- Cinnamon – adds a delicious flavor and darker color to plain bread slices. If you like using cinnamon I strongly encourage you to double the cinnamon in this recipe!
- Milk – Why do you put milk in french toast? To make a delicious and flavorful crust to a blunt bread slice, you’ll need ideally both eggs and milk. These are the essential two ingredients that make a perfect french toast recipe. You can also make dairy free french toast, please read the FAQ section below.
- Eggs – an essential ingredient for the french toast recipe. The eggs act as a ”binder” that helps to solidify and firm up the liquids in bread. It results in a crunchy golden crust and helps the ”sandwich” to keep it’s shape. Don’t like eggs? Read my FAQ section for instructions on how to make french toast without eggs.
Reviews ( 18 )
Has anybody substituted real eggs for the egg substitute?
I made the recipe exactly to specifications, using Sunmaid Raisin Cinnamon Swirl bread, with the exception that I topped it with turbinado sugar. Unfortunately, it was really awful. The texture was terribly mushy, I think, in part, because of the filling. It also had a bad aftertaste, possibly due to the egg substitute?? The outer edges seemed less distasteful because they were somewhat firmer. Might be better using a firmer/older bread, and possibly eliminating the filling. It also definitely needs something sweet as a topper - the turbinado sugar did add much needed sweetness and crunch. I would not make this again.
10 Stuffed French Toast Recipes for Your Best Breakfast Ever
Stuffed French toast just might be the greatest breakfast food ever created. Because, first, French toast. And, second, French toast in sandwich form filled with all kinds of crazy goodness. You can't beat it.
The best part is that making stuffed French toast is about as easy as making regular French toast. And, while you can just slap two pieces of bread together with something sandwiched in the middle, using the following technique pretty much guarantees you will be the stuffed French toast master.
Step 1: Cut the bread into thick slices.
Step 2: Start to slice down the center of each slice, but only go halfway.
Step 3: Pull your knife back toward you out of the bread, and when the tip of the knife enters the slice, angle it downward to create a pocket through to the bottom without cutting through.
Now that you know how to perfectly stuff French toast, these 10 recipes can get you started with some truly delectable flavor ideas.
1. Berry Creamy Cheese-Stuffed French Toast
French toast with berries and cream cheese? Le sigh.
2. Cream Cheese- and Banana-Stuffed French Toast
Simply slice bananas and use cream cheese frosting to create the sweetest, gooiest, cheesiest French toast you've ever eaten.
3. Banana Bread Stuffed French Toast
Why just stuff regular bread when you could stuff banana bread?
4. Peanut Butter-Stuffed French Toast
If PB&J were breakfast, but infinitely more delicious.
5. Cookie Butter French Toast Roll-Ups
This recipe makes eating stuffed French toast beyond easy as well as beyond delicious. Hello, cookie butter.
6. Cannoli Stuffed French Toast
Just say YES to cannoli for breakfast.
7. Bourbon Pecan Cream Cheese-Stuffed French Toast
As if French toast stuffed with pecans and cream cheese weren't good enough, then you add BOURBON.
8. Walnut-Stuffed French Toast
If you like your breakfast a little nutty, this one's for you.
9. Nutella-Stuffed French Toast
Of course you should stuff French toast with Nutella!
10. Jam-Stuffed French Toast
Homemade jam turns this French toast into something truly irresistible. Like, kryptonite-irresistible.
Jane Maynard is a food blogger at This Week for Dinner and Babble, a writer and designer, and a lover of all things chocolate.
- 8 0.75 inches slices French bread
- 1 recipe Cream Cheese Filling
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 cup milk
- 1 cup orange juice
- Maple syrup and/or fruit (optional)
Place half of the bread slices in a 3-quart baking dish. Spread with Cream Cheese Filling. Top with the remaining bread slices.
In a medium bowl combine eggs, milk, and orange juice. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread stacks, covering all of the tops. Cover with plastic wrap and chill for 2 to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with parchment paper or nonstick foil. Arrange bread stacks in the prepared baking pan. Bake, uncovered, for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden, turning once. If desired, serve with syrup and/or fruit.
Nutrition Facts (Baked Stuffed French Toast)
Strawberry-Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast
In a small bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and 1/2 teaspoon granulated sugar. Spread the cream cheese on half of the bread slices and top with 1 cup total strawberries. Top with the remaining 6 bread slices and press around the edges to seal.
Melt butter on a griddle over medium-low heat. Dip the sandwiches in the egg mixture for a few seconds on each side. Cook the sandwiches until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Serve with maple syrup, Strawberry Syrup, or confectioners’ sugar.
In a medium saucepan, combine 3 cups strawberries, 1 cup sugar, lemon juice and zest, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer until the strawberries are soft and the syrup is thickened and reduced by 1/3 to 1/2 in volume, 15 to 18 minutes.
Remove from the heat and let cool to room temperature before serving.
Cook’s Note: If a thinner syrup is desired, strain the hot syrup through a fine mesh strainer into a clean container and let cool.
Stuffed French Toast
Heat skillet or electric griddle to 325 to 350 degrees.
Cut french bread into 2-3 inch wide slices. Then, with a paring knife, go back and cut halfway into each slice, in the center, creating a ‘pocket’ that your fruit mixture can be stuffed into.
In a bowl, place the room temperature cream cheese and three tablespoons of fruit spread of your choice. (I used all organic blueberry spread in the picture.) Combine well.
In a separate bowl, break 2 eggs add cinnamon and milk and combine well.
Now, take fruit mixture and stuff into the ‘pockets’ of your french bread slices. Place on a baking sheet.
When done stuffing each piece of bread, completely coat each piece in egg mixture. Make sure all sides are covered. Do all pieces before starting to fry.
Put 2 tbsp (you can use less!) of butter into a hot skillet and melt completely. Add all of the bread to the skillet and cook roughly about 3-6 minutes on each side, until it reaches a nice golden brown. You want to make sure the cream cheese mixture heats through.
What Type of Bread is Best for French Toast
You can make French Toasts with pretty much any bread on hand. This includes baguette, challah, brioche, even sourdough or gluten-free bread! Use bread that you have left over, or that you let dry on purpose overnight. This way the slices won’t absorb too much egg and get soggy, but instead will turn out perfectly. Some other ideas include — thick slices from our White Country Bread, Easter Bread, or for a healthier option, our Honey Wheat Bread.
Step 6: Dip, Coat, Then Pan Fry
With all slices filled, it's time to batter, coat, then fry.
Use a large frying pan and turn on your stove-top element to med-low (on a scale of 1-10, we're talking a 3-4). Add some butter or oil when pan has reached temperature.
I set up a production line, as once you get messy it's easier to keep going:
stuffed bread pile > batter > cereal coat > frying pan
Repeat until pan is full.
The low heat will cook the batter and warm the filling. Flip toast after a few minutes or when golden brown. Depending on your filling, you may want to put finished toast in oven to finish it off and warm up the filling prior to serving.
Keep warm in oven at 135-150°C (275-300°F) for 5 minutes.
Salmonella sucks, make sure your slices are cooked.