French toast was one of the first breakfast items I learned to make, along with the very Asian insta-noodle soup with an egg dropped in. In our household, french toast is usually a simple affair: egg, cinnamon, brown sugar, and multigrain bread that is pan-fried and quickly devoured. But I’ve had my eye on two types of overnight marinades from our Best of Bridge cookbooks and felt it was about time to try something a bit more involved.
The first recipe, entitled French Toast Raphael, called for an intriguing marinade of maple and Cointreau, but required such large quantities of egg and baguette that we could have fed our entire floor. The second recipe, Midnight French Toast, enticed me with cream cheese, which is always welcome on my breakfast plate. However, I wasn’t excited about the rest of it. The bread is cut into cubes, crusts removed, slathered with egg batter and dollops of cream cheese, which is then dumped into a casserole dish and pulled out of the oven in a puffy mass of indistinguishable foodstuffs. Not exactly a visual delight.
Hoping that my home cookery skills were up to the challenge, I decided to extract the key elements of each recipe and create an eggy Cointreau-and-maple-syrup concoction doused over cream-cheese stuffed Italian bread. We invited neighbours Jonny and Jane over to be our guinea pigs. There was not a crumb left by the end of the meal, so I venture that this culinary experiment was a success.
Try it yourself and tell me what you think.
French Toast Hamilton
- 6 eggs
- 8 slices of white bread (we used Italian)
- 6 oz of cream cheese, thinly sliced
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon Cointreau, orange liqueur, or orange juice
- 1 orange and its zest
- The night before serving, prepare the french toast marinade. Stack bread like sandwiches and halve. Stuff each half-sandwich with 1 – 2 slices of cream cheese.
- Beat eggs, remaining ingredients, and 3/4 of the orange zest together. Reserve the orange itself for the following morning.
- Place sandwiches in a 9×13 baking tray and pour egg batter over them, ensuring that all sides are well coated. Marinate overnight.
- In the morning, arrange sandwiches on a greased or silpat-lined cookie sheet. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 375F or until puffed and golden brown.
- Top with thin orange slices, remaining orange zest, a douse of maple syrup, and other fruit if desired.