Darcie Bakes //

Baking from scratch… because good things take time.

Challah French Toast.


French toast is one of those breakfast foods that I rarely eat. Obviously, it’s delicious. I tend to eat pancakes and waffles more often; French toast is a breakfast that’s been relegated to that “fancy schmancy breakfast” category in my brain. And that’s kind of silly, is it not? After all, French toast is basically just egg-fried bread.

{Several weeks back, I made the challah French toast for a “friendsgivingmas” feast. I had it plus homemade breakfast pizza, bacon, hot cocoa spiked with Bailey’s, and some delicious Califia Farms orange juice [my current favorite orange juice by far]. Yum!}
French toast, does however, require specific breads to be delicious. My usual go-to, store bought (gasp!) bread is a simple, whole wheat/whole grain (sometimes a honey oat wheat) bread, and that would not translate well to French toast. If I’m going to make French toast, then at least some preparation and forethought has to be involved. I guess that’s why I don’t eat it very often. As a single person, I can’t exactly have an entire loaf of Texas toast bread or challah or brioche laying around… Because I would eat it all on its own before even getting around to using it for the dang French toast!


But every now and then, I get a fierce craving for some homemade challah (recipe coming soon!). I absolutely love making and eating challah. My current go-to recipe makes two loaves, so after I’ve pawned a bunch of it off on other people, I always end up having extra challah. It should be considered a cardinal sin to waste something as delicious as challah, and it just so happens that stale challah is perfect for making French toast! Challah is already an egg-based bread, so it just makes sense that frying it up in an egg-based mixture will bring it back to life.

{Aerial views of food are my favorite.}

The recipe for this challah French toast is basically my original recipe (although I’m sure the same recipe exists somewhere out there), but it is adapted from the infamous Ina Garten. I made it for a “Friendsgivingmas” [my roommate made up that word, haha] feast a few weeks ago, and it was a hit! It should go without saying that starting with something already delicious [aka challah] and repurposing it with a few ingredients will make it that much more delicious.

This challah French toast is still soft and moist on the inside, but it’s got that perfect, golden brown crunch on the outside. With the orange zest, vanilla bean paste, and cinnamon, it’s spiced and flavorful in just the best way possible. I especially love the French toast with fresh blueberries and strawberries, a slight dusting of powdered sugar, and a dash of real maple syrup. Now that’s a fancy-ass breakfast [or Friendsgivingmas dinner] that’s worth splurging on every now and then. 😀

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Challah French Toast.

Yield: A lot. Haha. This will easily serve six people. It tends to reheat well as leftovers, too. In fact, I was nuking leftovers at work the next day.

– 7 large eggs
– 1 cup half-and-half
– 1/2 cup 2% (or whole) milk {Note: You can sub all half-and-half or all milk. I just prefer that the fat content is at least 2% or higher.}
– 1 tsp. grated orange zest
– 1 tsp. vanilla bean paste (or sub pure vanilla extract)
– 1 TBSP. good-quality honey
– 1/2 tsp. salt
– 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
– 1 large loaf challah or brioche bread {Note: I used my homemade challah that was beginning to go stale. I will be posting the recipe for this soon, but you can opt for store bought challah. I won’t judge you too harshly if you choose to go this route. 😉 }
– Unsalted butter and vegetable oil for frying
– Optional toppings: berries (strawberries and blueberries pair wonderfully with this!), powdered sugar, and real maple syrup.

1. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees F.

2. In a large, shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half/milk, orange zest, vanilla, and honey. Whisk the cinnamon and salt in a separate small bowl, then add it into the liquid mixture.

3. Slice the challah into about 3/4-inch thick slices. Soak as many slices in the liquid mixture as possible for about 2-3 minutes, turning once.

4. Heat one tablespoon of butter and one tablespoon of oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add several soaked bread slices at a time, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, or until the slices are nicely browned on both sides.

5. Place the cooked bread on a cookie sheet and keep it warm in the preheated oven until ready to serve. Continue frying the bread as aforementioned in step four until it’s all fried up. You’ll need to add more butter/oil as time goes on to continue frying. Serve hot with fresh fruit, fruit preserves, powdered sugar, and/or real maple syrup.

+ Recipe adapted from Ina Garten, via The Food Network.

{A closeup. I love how the berries look with the bread.}

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