This post has been brought to you by a 2 hour flight delay on the runway in Miami. Yes, I completely recognize that there are far worse things in the world to deal with, and after all, I’m on my way to beach vacation in Vieques. But after a 6 hour red-eye flight from Seattle, and perhaps the bigger issue – no breakfast – I was definitely a bit hangry this morning. Ok, end rant.
So, what do you do to pass the time while you’re starving on a parked airplane? Well, if you’re me, you immediately scan for power outlets. Bingo! Two right below my seat. With my laptop in tow, wifi hotspot, and endless charging cables, I know exactly what I’ll be doing. I have an amazing brunch recipe that I just have to share with you all…Challah French Toast!
I’m so excited to post this Challah French Toast recipe on The Simple Fare, because it’s a brunch dish that’s near and dear to my heart. Every Christmas morning, my family enjoys homemade blueberry coffeecake while opening presents. A few hours later, my parents and I prepare our traditional holiday brunch featuring baked ham with my Dad’s famous honey mustard sauce, fresh fruit with Devonshire cream, and a platter full of golden French toast. Let’s just say we took our cooking seriously especially during the holidays, and this year was no exception.
As much as we love our traditions, we’re also open to mix things up. This year, instead of coffeecake, my Mom and I made homemade cinnamon rolls. For the French toast, we swapped our usual French bread with a loaf of challah. It turned out *so* well that this recipe is probably a keeper for many years to come.
The sweet, fluffy slices of challah soaked up the rich vanilla and egg custard perfectly and the slices cooked up evenly. With French bread, sometimes the crust would stay a bit too tough while the inside would get soggy. Most recipes call for a dusting of powdered sugar, but because the challah is already quite sweet, I skipped that. Instead, I sprinkled cinnamon on top of the toast while it cooked, and drizzled some leftover persimmon puree from my Persimmon-Bourbon Hot Toddies.
Also, this recipe takes a little over an hour from start to finish, even including the time for the bread to soak up the custard. Because the challah bread is already quite soft, it doesn’t need to sit in the custard for too long – roughly 45 minutes should do, flipping the bread over about half way through. Cooking it is a breeze, and I highly recommend using an large griddle so you can make up to 8 slices at once. I currently own this electric griddle and love it; it also comes in handy if you want to make homemade English muffins! If you don’t have one, no worries. You can use a large skillet; just keep a cookie sheet in your oven (set to 200 degrees F) and add the cooked slices to it as you make them.
I’m not convinced that writing this post on an empty stomach was a wise idea but fortunately, we’re about to take off! I hope you give this recipe and try and share this delicious French toast with your family and friends – it may even become part of your own holiday tradition too. Enjoy!
- 1 loaf challah, cut into ¾ inch slices (yields 8-10 slices)
- 4 eggs
- ½ cup milk
- ½ cup half and half
- 2 tablespoons Grand Marnier
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- Cinnamon for dusting
- Place bread slices in a single layer in two-9x13 baking dishes (if you don't have 2 large baking dishes, make one batch at a time and reuse dish).
- In a blender, mix eggs, milk, half and half, Grand Marnier, sugar, vanilla, and salt until well combined.
- Pour half of the custard in each baking dish, over the bread slices. (If you only have 1 dish, you can save half, and repeat after making the first batch.)
- Cover the dish and refrigerate. After 25 minutes, flip the bread slices over and let soak for another 20 minutes.
- On medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon butter on a griddle, or large skillet. Add bread slices and cook until golden, about 4 minutes per side. Lightly dust with cinnamon before flipping bread. Repeat with remaining bread slices.
- Serve warm.