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Mother’s Crunchy French Toast

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Serves 4

  • by Lisa Schroeder, Danielle Centoni from Mother's Best

If I had to pick our one signature breakfast dish, this would be it. French toast goes by the name pain perdu in France, which translates as “lost bread.” It’s a recipe created to save stale bread from being “lost” to the garbage by soaking it in eggs and milk to get it moist and tender again and then frying it up. Although you can certainly use whatever stale bread slices you have lingering in the fridge (except something strong-flavored like rye), fresh challah provides a wonderful richness. A roll in cornflakes adds a wonderful, addictive crunch.

  • 4 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup half-and-half
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 2 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • Pinch ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 4 cups cornflakes
  • 1 loaf egg (challah) bread, sliced into six 1-inch-thick slices
  • 9 Tbs. (1 stick plus 1 Tbs.) unsalted butter (divided), preferably clarified
  • Confectioners’ sugar, for serving (optional)
  • Softened butter, for serving
  • Maple syrup, for serving

If your pan isn't big enough to cook all the French toast at the same time, heat the oven to 200°F. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, half-and-half, cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg, and vanilla.

Place the cornflakes in another large bowl and crush with your hands until the pieces are small (but not like breadcrumbs) and somewhat uniform in size. Place a rimmed baking sheet nearby to hold the prepared bread.

Dip a slice of bread into the cream mixture, immersing both sides (saturate it, but do not let it fall apart).

Dip the slice into the cornflakes on both sides, pressing to adhere the flakes; set aside on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining slices.

Place a griddle or wide (preferably 14-inch) sauté pan over medium heat for several minutes. If using an electric griddle, set the heat to 350°F.

Sprinkle the griddle with a few drops of water; they should bounce around before evaporating. If they sizzle away quickly, the heat is too high. If they just sit there and slowly steam, the heat is too low. When the griddle is properly heated, add 1 Tbs. clarified butter for each piece of French toast and tilt to coat the pan.

Add the prepared bread in an even layer. Cook until golden on one side, about 4 minutes. Lift each piece with a spatula and put 1/2 Tbs. butter in its spot. Flip the toast onto the butter to cook the other side, about 4 minutes more. Repeat with the remaining slices of bread. Serve immediately or keep warm in the oven until all the French toast is cooked.

Cut each piece of bread in half diagonally to make triangles. Arrange 3 triangles like shingles on serving plates, sprinkle with confectioners'  sugar, if desired, and serve with softened butter and maple syrup.

Photo: Ellen Silverman

I don't really think this is a 5 star recipe, but somebody needs to balance out the two one-star reviewers who seem to have completely missed the instructions on when to apply the crushed cornflakes. It says: " Dip the slice into the cornflakes on both sides, pressing to adhere the flakes; set aside on the baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining slices." The larger problem is the incredible amount of fat in this bomb. Heavy cream + half and half + a stick of butter for 6 slices of French toast? Yikes. This sounds like a breakfast served by Klaus von Bulow to his wife.

I am guessing that you would place the toast into the platter of crushed corn flakes after the dipping into the egg mixture. I also read the directions repeatly and found no directions. Someone did not proof this recipe. No rating is best. Diana from Oregon

and we do what with the cornflakes, other than crush them and put them in a bowl? i have not made this recipe, but i have read through this recipe twice and do not see any direction that tells how or when to apply the cornflakes to the bread slices.

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