I love the french bread that you buy at the grocery store in the bakery section. You know, those big, warm, loaves that call your name as you walk by and smell them when they are fresh? They are pure baked heaven if you are a bread lover, which we both are.
What I don’t like is when, after only a matter of days, the bread gets hard and nearly impossible to chew. It’s so disappointing to spend the money and then have something inedible in just a few days. There are several different things that you can do with this day’s old loaf of dry, hard bread, and I have found a way to turn it into a yummy breakfast treat.
My all-time favorite breakfast food, besides coffee, is french toast. Wait! Coffee isn’t a food, is it? Well then, french toast is my all-time favorite! I love the thick slices of bread soaked in egg with cinnamon and covered in maple syrup. Mmmmmmm, I can taste it as I type.
Despite my being home full time right now, I do not jump up before the sun is shining and whip up a lovely breakfast for my husband. I know, I know, how dare I not be June Cleaver. Now, I must justify myself by saying my husband gets up at 4 a.m., and there is just no way I’m getting up that early unless I am either going fishing or going diving and if that were the case, I still wouldn’t cook breakfast. A girl has to have standards.
Sorry, I get off topic sometimes. Let’s get back to our original topic, french toast. The key to a perfect french toast is the bread. The bread has to be reasonably dense to stand up to the egg, soaking it gets. If you try and use plain old sandwich bread, you’ll end up with a soggy, paper-thin, not so great result that nobody wants to eat. That being said, days old french bread is perfect for a decadent french toast. The density of the bread after a few days stands up beautifully to the egg soak and the maple syrup that will inevitably follow.
In my effort to always improve upon even the most basic of foods, I searched my pantry looking for something that I could use to dress up this breakfast favorite. That’s when I spotted it, a huge bag of walnuts! Any good baker will always have a supply of either walnuts or pecans, or both, in her pantry. This was the perfect addition to take it to the next level.
French toast in itself is not difficult to make. Bread, egg, fry, cover in syrup, consume. Pretty straightforward, but when you are slicing the bread, be sure you do not cut it too thick, or the egg will not penetrate the bread, and you’ll end up with a tough crust after frying it. To avoid those pitfalls, I always try and keep my slices 1/2″ thick. I have found that this is the perfect thickness, and it cooks beautifully.
Now, back to those walnuts that I found in the pantry. Chopped nuts cooked in a little butter, and some of the maple syrup is truly decadent. It adds a crunchy sweetness to the toast that takes it to a whole new level of yumminess if that is even a word. You can certainly dust powder sugar over the toast instead of, or in addition to, the syrup to make it extra decadent.
So next time that days old loaf of french bread is staring you down remember this. In life, we have to make lemons out of lemonade or french toast out of french bread. Either way, it’ll be delicious.
French Bread French Toast
This recipe is for one serving depending on your appetite
4 slices days old french bread
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
3 Tbsp. butter
Preheat oven to 175 and place an ovenproof dish inside to warm.
Melt 2 Tbsp. butter in a skillet over medium heat. Whisk eggs in a shallow bowl and mix in cinnamon thoroughly. Soak slices of bread in egg wash, ensuring both sides are thoroughly soaked. Place slices in heated skillet and cook each side until brown and egg is thoroughly cooked. Place finished slices on the dish in the oven to keep warm.
Place the remaining 1 Tbsp. of butter in a skillet and melt. Add chopped walnuts to skillet and toss. Stir for a few minutes, cooking until they are slightly soft, making sure they don’t burn. Add 2 Tbsp. of maple syrup and stir quickly, it only takes a minute or two.
Remove toast from oven and plate, top with maple syrup or powdered sugar and the nuts.