Almond-Vanilla French Toast

Weekends grant us the time we need and desire to unwind from busy weeks. A weekend morning seems to demand a special kind of breakfast that supports an equally special mentality. It is our time to truly slow down and appreciate what we have around us. We have the leisure to sleep in late, while away hours in cozy jammies reading and chatting, roll lazily out of bed, and take our sweet, unhurried time to prepare the extraordinary kind of feast reserved for an indulgent, carefree morning.

I took advantage of this luxury last Saturday, when I had nowhere to be and no obligations to uphold. I had purchased a loaf of wonderful egg challah a few days prior, and I knew from that moment exactly how I would appropriate its rich, eggy sweetness in the weekend to come. As I soaked the pillowy bread into the custardy french toast batter, I held dear this time that allowed me not only the freedom  to create a sumptuous meal that I would share with my household, but also granted my loved ones and me the moments we would cherish in all their tenderness and simplicity.

The secret to well-prepared french toast is to really saturate the bread and to cook the toast at low heat for a long time. This allows all the eggs in the batter to cook fully through, so your finished product is a crispy, golden brown exterior and a creamy, custard interior. If you find you are reverting to your anxious, rushed weekday self and feel the urge to cook the french toast faster at a higher heat, just take some deep breaths. Appreciate the time you have to not be hyper-productive for once. Otherwise, you will end up with soggy, burnt bread, and that is the opposite of what our weekend morning is calling for.

This recipe is truly indulgent. The almond flavor in this french toast lends itself to a more complex and refined adult palate, and the high quantity of eggs in the batter deliver a consistency that will have you convinced that what you’re consuming is not french toast, but rather a fine crème brûlée. I’ve never been a fan of maple; I know, it’s sacrilege, you say. Instead, I like to make an easy sort of compote by mixing some fruit preserves of choice with water until it takes on a syrup consistency. I top my french toast with this fruit syrup, some fresh raspberries, and a dollop of mascarpone. Et voila! A truly decadent breakfast worthy of the most extravagant weekend morning. Now, scoot those cute little bunny slippers into the kitchen and get toastin’!

Almond-Vanilla French Toast

Ingredients:
Challah Bread – sliced 1/2 in thick
6 eggs
2 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup half n half
1/2 cup sugar
butter, butter, butter

Directions:
In a large, flat-bottomed mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, half n half, sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and almond extract

Prepare the blackberry syrup by mixing about 1/4 cup blackberry jam with water until jam reaches syrupy consistency.

Crush raspberries with a potato masher. Add a sprinkle of lemon juice to maintain freshness.

Dip the challah slices in the egg mixture to soak. About 30 seconds on each side. Heat a flat pan or griddle on medium-low. Melt 1 tbsn of butter until it gets foamy in the pan. Lay flat the soaked challah slices in the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides.

Spread mascarpone on french toast. Top with crushed raspberries. Dress with blackberry syrup.

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