weeknight gourmet

Category : Breads

Sunday Morning Breakfast: French Toast

Since it is our last morning in Becket after a wonderful week, I decided to make a special breakfast.  Pregnancy has definitely brought out my sweet tooth so I thought french toast would be a delicious way to start our Sunday!

I had a loaf of cinnamon bread so for some extra flavor I decided to use that instead of boring old white bread.

I used the Barefoot Contessa’s Challah French Toast recipe as a guide.  I think the honey and orange zest add a wonderful something extra to this french toast recipe.  I served the french toast with a sprinkle of powdered sugar and delicious local maple syrup and a few slices of bacon.

Lately I have been baking bacon because it is a much less messy preparation.  I just place the bacon on a baking sheet lined with foil and baked at 400 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes (depending on how you like your bacon).

Overall the breakfast was a delicious start to our snowy Sunday and should provide the sustenance we need to drive back to NYC.

French Toast
10 to 12 slices

  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Unsalted butter
  • Vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, orange zest, vanilla, honey, and salt. Dip the cinnamon bread mixture in the egg mixture as possible for 2 minutes, turning once.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a very large saute pan over medium heat.  Add the soaked bread and cook for 3 minutes on each side.  Place the cooked French toast on a sheet pan and keep it warm in the oven.

Fry the remaining soaked bread slices, adding more butter and oil as needed.

Serve hot with maple syrup and dusted with confectioners’ sugar.

Fall Desserts: Spiced Pumpkin Bread

I was in the mood for a classic fall sweet treat so I turned to the pumpkin for inspiration. Since I consider pumpkin pie a Thanksgiving dessert, I thought a pumpkin bread might be a good early fall alternative.

The recipe was very easy and quick to make. You probably have every ingredient on hand other than the canned pumpkin. Remember to buy solid pack pumpkin, not canned pumpkin pie filling.

After reading the recipe reviews, I decided to reduce the amount of ground cloves to 1/2 teaspoon and added 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger.

The recipe yields two loaves. Since the preface to the recipe stated that the bread freezes well, I decided to make the full recipe and freeze one loaf. And, as a special treat, I added semisweet chocolate chips to the bread we’re feasting on now. We each had a slice for dessert and breakfast. Guess it was a hit!


Spiced Pumpkin Bread
Bon Appetit

• 3 cups sugar
• 1 cup vegetable oil
• 3 large eggs
• 1 16-ounce can solid pack pumpkin
• 3 cups all purpose flour
• 1 teaspoon ground cloves
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
• 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour two 9x5x3-inch loaf pans. Beat sugar and oil in large bowl to blend. Mix in eggs and pumpkin. Sift flour, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and baking powder into another large bowl. Stir into pumpkin mixture in 2 additions. Mix in walnuts, if desired.

Divide batter equally between prepared pans. Bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool 10 minutes. Using sharp knife, cut around edge of loaves. Turn loaves out onto racks and cool completely.