Apricot-Stuffed French Toast

I love breakfast foods, and I usually plan a “breakfast for dinner” meal at least once every few weeks. Last night, I decided to make one of my favorite breakfast recipes – Apricot-Stuffed French Toast from the December 2006 issue of Everyday Food.

This recipe isn’t posted on the Everyday Food Web site, so here’s what you’ll need:

1 loaf Italian bread (about 4 inches in diameter), cut into 8 1-inch-thick slices
3 tablespoons apricot jam
1/4 cup (2 oz.) reduced-fat cream cheese, room temperature
2 large eggs
1/2 cup low-fat (1% milk)
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 – 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Maple syrup, for serving (optional)

I started by cutting my Italian bread into the 8 1-inch-thick slices. Then, I cut a horizontal slit in the middle of each slice of bread to form a pocket. (Make sure you don’t cut all the way through from one side to the next – start and end about a half inch in.) I stirred together the jam and cream cheese in a small bowl and put 1 tablespoon of the mixture into each pocket. I actually used black cherry jam (Dr. O’s request) instead of apricot jam, so my mixture is kind of purple.

apricot_stuffed_french_toast1.jpg

I whisked together the eggs, milk and cinnamon in a shallow bowl. Next, I heated 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-low heat on my Calphalon griddle, though any nonstick skillet will do.

Each slice of bread needs 5 seconds in the egg mixture on each side. You could soak multiple slices at once and turn them at once, if you want. I usually just do one at a time – a 5-second soak on one side, a 5-second soak on the other side, and onto the griddle. I cooked the French toast about 4 minutes on each side until it was golden brown. I served this with a little syrup, sausages, and fruit.

apricot_stuffed_french_toast2.jpg

This recipe is so quick and amazingly tasty. The bread is thick but soft, and cooking the toast in butter makes the outside of the bread just barely crispy. Mmmmm.

TIPS: If you plan to make all 8 slices, you’ll probably have to cook the French toast in two batches. Two batches would take about 25 minutes from start to finish; one batch only takes about 15 minutes. My griddle fits 6 slices (2 for me, 4 for Dr. O), so sometimes I just skip the last 2.

Make sure you let your pan or griddle heat up well; I’d recommend waiting about 5 minutes between turning on the heat and starting to cook. I used to be really impatient when it came to heating my pans, so I’d always end up with one golden brown side (the second side cooked) and one that looked like it hadn’t touched the pan (the first side). My French toast and grilled cheeses are much prettier now. 🙂

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