I can’t even begin to tell you how good this is! I love breakfast! My husband uses it as bribery so he can golf… he will promise to take me out to a really nice breakfast when he gets back or before he leaves. The problem is that it works. I’m such a sucker… but I digress. I love going to breakfast and I love making breakfast. My homemade granola is something we usually have around so I had an epiphany that it would make French toast so much better because it would add crunch as well as the aromatics that are part of the granola. I love French toast, but it can get soggy and boring. In an effort to make the most wonderful French toast in the world I knew that I needed a lot of things going on with it… crunch from the granola, freshness from the roasted strawberries, warmth from the cinnamon, brightness from the orange zest/juice, richness from the custard, and sturdy flavorful bread to hold everything up. Top it off with real maple syrup and it is basically the best morning ever (as long as there is coffee involved as well).
Here’s what you need:
2 cups strawberries, tops removed and quartered
6-8 slices of hearty whole wheat (see note*)
1 1/2 cups 2% milk, half and half, or dairy-free milk of choice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla
the zest of an orange (roughly 1-2 tablespoons)
the juice of half an orange
1 1/2 cups granola (Here’s my homemade recipe that I recommend using)
butter and/or oil for skillet (about 5 tablespoons) if using oil I like coconut
Maple Syrup for serving
*Note* You really want to have a sturdy dense bread in order for the French toast to hold up. If the bread you have is too flimsy it will fall apart. If you can’t find a good whole wheat bread you can use sourdough, brioche, challah..etc… It is good if it is a day old, but I have used fresh bread and it has tuned out great as well.
If you live in the Los Angeles or Santa Monica area I HIGHLY recommend Huckleberry’s Whole Wheat Loaf. Not only do I LOVE everything they have at that restaurant, but they make some ridiculous bread that you can buy and take home.
How to make it:
*Heat the oven to 375 degrees.
*Cut the strawberries and place on a parchment or aluminum foil lined baking sheet.
*Drizzle with a little bit of olive oil and toss to coat.
*Bake for 15-20 minutes or until soft, juicy, and aromatic.
*Pour into a bowl and set aside until ready for plating
*First you want to pulverize the granola in a food processor. If you do not have a food processor you can put the granola in a sealed ziplock bag and use a rolling pin (or something of that nature) and smash the granola until it breaks into small pieces… a good way to get out a little pent-up energy 🙂 Place on a large plate or large flat bowl.
*Combine the eggs, milk, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, orange zest, and orange juice in a large bowl and whisk together. They will combine better if they are more room temperature.
*Heat a skillet to medium heat and melt about two tablespoons of butter and/or oil.
*Dip a slice of bread into the milk mixture, then dip it into the granola (if your bread isn’t browning the way you would like your granola pieces may be too big… you can fix this by doing a second dip into the milk mixture after the bread is dipped into the granola).
*Place on the skillet and cook until golden brown and flip to cook the other side.
*Repeat with other slices
*These are best served right away, but you can keep them warm in a 200 degree oven on a baking sheet until ready.
*Place one or two pieces of the granola crusted french toast on a plate and spoon the roasted strawberries over it being very generous. Then pour over as much maple syrup as you like!