If it’s Sunday, it must be breakfast. The best part about the weekends is that I actually have time to make a real, honest-to-goodness breakfast for my family. This weekend was a rare treat – we actually had time for breakfast on Saturday and Sunday! I know, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but beyond a cup of yogurt and an occasional hard-boiled egg, who has time in the morning? A weekday breakfast is usually wolfed down at my desk while checking emails and formulating a plan of attack for the tasks at hand. So the weekends are special, with a real breakfast enjoyed at a leisurely pace, basking in the company of my loving family.
We love French Toast. Why else would I have 23 different recipes dedicated to French Toast? Interestingly enough, French Toast isn’t even French. The earliest recorded recipe to survive is written in Lain, somewhere around the 4th or 5th century. There is no mention of egg, the bread is simply soaked in milk and then pan-fried. It would be more accurate to call this breakfast favorite “Roman Toast” than French. By the 15th century, it was commonly called “Pain perdu” – which is French for “lost bread”. Making French Toast was a convenient way to reclaim stale bread by soaking it in a mixture of eggs and milk, frying it and serving it for breakfast. For a while, there were two recipes for French Toast – which recipe was used was an indication of the status of the household. One called for stale bread to be dipped in a mixture of milk and egg, the other called for white bread (the most expensive in its day), with the crusts removed. Throwing out any part of a slice of bread, however stale, would never have occurred to the poor. In any case, it wasn’t known as “French” until around the 17th century, when it became popular in England and the name was brought to America.
The most common recipes for French Toast use milk, eggs, vanilla and cinnamon. In this version, I omit the vanilla, replacing it with Sunny D (this gives it just a hint of sweet orange flavoring) and add nutmeg. I like the nutty sweetness that nutmeg brings to the mix.
Super Easy Cinnamon French Toast
10 Slices Bread (I like the Italian sliced bread found in the grocery bread aisle)
2/3 Cup Milk
2 1/2 Teaspoons Cinnamon
1 Dash of Nutmeg
3 Tablespoons Sunny D Orange Juice
Cut bread to create 20 triangles. Staler bread is best. It will stand up to the batter without becoming soggy and toasts nicely.
In a deep mixing bowl, whip eggs, milk, cinnamon and nutmeg on low speed. Don’t let the eggs get too frothy. You’re looking for a smooth, silky batter.
Pour batter into a shallow dish large enough to allow bread slices to be dipped. Add Sunny D (not “real” orange juice – smooth-style Sunny D will impart a hint of sweet orange flavoring without the citrus acid that might curdle the milk).
Heat a large griddle to about 325 degrees. Oil griddle with margarine, just enough to lightly coat griddle.
While continuing to whisk batter, dip bread slices one at a time into the mixture to coat both sides. (Continually whisking will keep the cinnamon blended for even distribution for all the bread slices, otherwise the cinnamon may float to the top and there won’t be any left after only a few slices of bread have been dipped.)
Place dipped slices onto the griddle and cook until golden, about 3-5 minutes. Flip bread to “toast” other side. While the toast is still on the griddle, lightly butter each slice. This will allow the butter to melt quickly and the bread will soak in all that wonderful buttery flavor. If necessary, cook the toast in batches so as to not over-crowd the griddle.
Plate on individual plates, pour on the syrup and enjoy! This is wonderful with fresh fruit and maple sausage.
Note: For an “adult” breakfast, replace the Sunny D with Grand Marnier. It’s wonderful!