Cinnamon and Vanilla French Toast

heart french toast maria provenzano

 I love breakfast!  When I think of a special day like a birthday, anniversary, holiday, or any celebration I think the best way to begin the day is with a spectacular breakfast that starts the day on a really good note.  When I was perfecting my french toast recipe I realized I had actually cut out any processed sugars.  This French Toast is rich and flavorful, but not overly sweet.  The sweetness comes from a little honey in the milk mixture that you dip the bread in, and the other touch of sweetness is from the natural maple syrup and fresh fruit.  I love fresh fruit on my french toast because it adds that acidic brightness to the dish.  The layers of flavor come from the earthy spice of the cinnamon, and gourmet floral taste of the vanilla.  This is actually a very simple dish with minimal ingredients.  As long as you are using good ingredients you can do no wrong.  French Toast was invented originally as a recipe to use up the stale bread around the house, and that is why French Toast is better when it is made with stale bread.  With that being said, I sometimes crave French Toast and run out to buy bread for it which is, of course, not stale.  You have a couple options… you can either dry it out in the oven by placing the sliced bread onto a baking sheet and letting it get dried out in a hot oven, OR you can attempt it with the fresh bread.  If you attempt with the fresh bread just make sure to allow it to soak for at least an hour.  In my experience this works well, BUT the last part of this is to have really sturdy bread.  You cannot use good ol’ pre-sliced white bread from a package that is super soft and flimsy.  You HAVE to use good, sturdy, thick bread that is well made.  I like whole wheat with seeds, raisons, and oats.  Other options are sourdough, Texas toast, whole wheat… any really well-made bread that you generally have to slice it on your own.  Pour over some real maple syrup and this Cinnamon and Vanilla French Toast makes a beautiful breakfast for a special morning.

heart french toast

heart french toast

 Cinnamon and Vanilla French Toast 

1 cup whole milk; room temperature

1/2 cup cream; room temperature

4 large eggs; room temperature

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract or 1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon

Instructions

 *Combine the milk, cream, and eggs in a large shallow dish; I like using a casserole dish

*Whisk in the vanilla, cinnamon, and salt

*Place your slices of bread into the the milk mixture

*Allow to soak for at least an hour in the fridge

*If you are using fresh bread you may need to soak it longer; stale bread works well because it will absorb the milk mixture better, but either way works… I highly suggest letting these soak for the full hour or longer

*Heat a skillet over medium/high heat

*Melt a good amount of butter on the skillet so that it is evenly coated

*Place a few slices of the soaked bread onto the skillet

*Once it’s browned on one side then flip to the other side and cook until browned

*Add more butter to the skillet and repeat with all of the slices of bread

*Use a heart-shaped cookie cutter if you want to make heart-shaped french toast

Strawberry Hearts

1-2 pints fresh strawberries

*Remove the stem of the strawberries

*Cut the strawberries in half

*Using a paring knife to cut a “V” shape at the top of the strawberry to make the strawberry look like a heart

*Use the paring knife to soften any side to make a heart shape

 *Either place them onto the french toast or stick them with the skewers to make strawberry kabob bouquets!

heart french toast

heart french toast

heart french toast 14

heart french toast 11

heart french toast

heart french toast 9

french toast 1

heart french toast

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