Of the syrup breakfasts – pancakes, waffles, and french toast – I’m pretty much a pancake and waffle girl. I mean, I like good french toast, but not some limp, soggy version made with white sandwich bread dipped in an egg, cinnamon, milk mixture – eww! The key to good french toast is using a heartier bread. Some of my favorites are italian bread, sour dough, or challah. It just holds up so much nicer and doesn’t get soggy at all – very important for me! =) Don’t skip drying the slices out in the 200 degree oven. It really makes a difference – I promise. Also, buttermilk adds some tangy flavor and when you sprinkle each side with a ground almond and brown sugar mixture you end up with a delicious nutty, caramelized crust. This was definitely the best french toast I’ve ever made…or ate ;). Enjoy!

Almond-Crusted Buttermilk French Toast
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
4 large slices Italian bread, hearty white sandwich bread or good-quality challah
3/4 cup fat-free buttermilk, warmed slightly
1 egg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp butter, melted
dash salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Process almonds and brown sugar in food processor until coarsely ground, 12 to 15 one-second pulses.
2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees. Place bread on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Bake bread until almost dry throughout (center should remain slightly moist), about 16 minutes, flipping slices halfway through cooking. Remove bread from rack and let cool 5 minutes. Return baking sheet with wire rack to oven and reduce temperature to 200 degrees.
3. Whisk buttermilk, egg, cinnamon, melted butter, salt, and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Transfer mixture to 8 inch square baking pan.
4. Soak bread in milk mixture until saturated but not falling apart, 20 seconds per side. Using firm slotted spatula, pick up bread slice and allow excess milk mixture to drip off; repeat with remaining slices. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon nut mixture over one side of each slice of soaked bread.
5. Heat 12-inch non-stick skillet over medium-low heat. Use slotted spatula to transfer 2 slices soaked bread to skillet, nut-mixture side down first, and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and continue to cook until second side is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes longer. (If toast is cooking too quickly, reduce temperature slightly.) Transfer to baking sheet in oven. Repeat cooking with remaining bread, 2 pieces at a time. Serve warm, passing maple syrup separately.
*loosely adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

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Categories: Breakfast

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