Andy picked this one out. I told him I was making a list of delicious new recipes to try this week during spring break and asked if he had any requests. He went on tastespotting all by himself, which he never does, and chose this. This morning was our last chance for exciting breakfast foods and this french toast was a perfect way to end spring break.
I first had challah bread in the Williams College dining hall. At which point I wondered how I had lived so long without it. I found out today, however, that Andy had never even tried it, so I’m not the only one who’s been deprived. It’s one of my favorite kinds of bread, which is not surprising since it’s made with lots of eggs. I have a theory that more eggs makes everything better.
I changed this recipe a little. First I cut it in half to make it more appropriate for just the two of us. Embarrassingly, I forgot to cut the cinnamon in half as well (it’s not like I teach math or anything. . . ) and on top of that, since I like cinnamon so much, I rounded up. So instead of the 1 teaspoon I should have used, I ended up with three times that. Luckily, as I mentioned, I like cinnamon, so I thought it was perfect, and Andy didn’t notice. I also added some cloves and vanilla because that’s what I was in the mood for this morning. It turned out well. Andy liked his best with syrup so I might try it that way next time. I thought it was plenty sweet on its own though.
This would be great for Easter brunch. It’s a special treat that’s really easy to prepare but looks (and tastes) like you worked hard. I might even have to invite some people over so I can make it again.
- 2 Tbsp butter, melted
- 1/4 cup light brown sugar
- 1/2 loaf challah, cut into 1″ slices
- 4 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup skim milk
- 3 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp cloves
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Pour the melted butter into the bottom of a 9 x 9 glass pan. Sprinkle on the brown sugar and then arrange the challah slices over the top of the sugar to make one solid flat layer.
Mix all the other ingredients together and then pour evenly over the bread. I mixed everything in a large measuring cup so it would be easy to pour, then I tilted my pan back and forth a few times to get all the corners covered evenly.
At this point the original recipe says you should let it stand for 3-12 hours, but as I believe I’ve mentioned before, I’m impatient all the time and I don’t plan ahead. I let it sit for as long as it takes to pre-heat my oven. By then the liquid was absorbed into the bread so I figured that was good enough. Plus I was hungry.
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. Serve with or without maple syrup.