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Perfectly dippable and delicious, these Cinnamon French Toast Sticks are a bite-sized brunch option that are a tasty breakfast treat for kids and grown-ups alike!
The best french toast I ever had was in Cappadocia, Turkey at the Kelebek Hotel at their rooftop-terrace organic breakfast. I still dream about those slices of thick, egg-custard soaked bread that were fried to perfection and served buffet style with a giant bowl of honey for drizzling over the french toast rather than maple syrup.
Truth be told, honey has been my favorite topping for french toast ever since, though I get that for most Americans maple syrup is the gold standard for pouring over french toast.]
French toast is, or ought to be, straight-forward and simple. I’m not sharing any revelations here today, just a good, solid cinnamon-vanilla custard recipe that gives stale bread new life with a characteristic eggy coating and all my best tips and tricks for making french toast.
If you don’t feel like slicing the bread into sticks, you can totally just make regular cinnamon french toast with whole slices of bread using the same egg batter. But who can resist finger-friendly buttery batons of dunkable French toast?
How do you make homemade french toast sticks?
- First, slice the bread into evenly sized sticks, 4 sticks per slice of bread if using Texas Toast. Although if you are using a brioche, challah or pullman loaf, you might get fewer slices depending on the height of the loaf. But the sticks should be about 3/4″ to 1″ inch thick.
- Make the cinnamon egg custard by combining eggs, cream or whole milk, vanilla, sugar, and cinnamon together in a bowl or shallow dish and whisking together.
- Dip each stick into the egg mixture, turning to coat and pressing in so they can soak up some of the mixture. You want them saturated, but not soggy.
- Heat a large griddle or pan over medium heat and melt half of the butter. Working in batches and taking care not to crowd the pan, fry the french bread sticks in the butter, turning to fry on all sides until golden brown and crisp around the edges. Transfer to a pan and keep warm in the oven while frying the remaining french toast.
- Repeat with remaining bread and custard, wiping out the pan and adding more butter between batches until all of the cinnamon french bread sticks are cooked.
- Dust with powdered sugar and serve with syrup or jam for dipping.
Tips & Tricks for Making French Toast
- Use thick, stale bread. Fresh bread doesn’t soak up that delicious, rich custard nearly as well as bread that is dried out. While french bread isn’t actually necessarily a French original, its French name, pain perdu, means “lost” or “wasted” bread as French toast is a way of using up bread that is no longer fresh and might otherwise be discarded.
- If you don’t have a day-old loaf of bread, my favorite method is to lay out the slices of bread that I plan to use on wire racks and bake for 6-8 minutes at 300 degrees F, then flip and bake for another 6-8 minutes.
- Cook your french toast sticks in butter. Unless you have a large griddle, you will need to cook your french toast sticks in batches, so don’t add all the butter at once or it will burn and/or get absorbed before you get through cooking all of the french toast. But cooking in butter will give the french toast sticks a deliciously crisp, golden exterior.
- It can take practice to know when you’ve dipped the bread long enough and it can depend on just how dry or fresh your bread is, so this is something you get a feel for over time. If the bread soaks too long in the egg mixture, it will be soggy in the middle. If it doesn’t soak long enough then your french toast won’t have that slightly creamy texture in the middle that great french toast is supposed to have. I place the stale bread pieces into the custard, then press it down with a fork, counting to ten, before turning the bread over and repeating. If your bread is fresh, I would decrease the amount of soaking time.
- Make sure to get the heat right. Three to four minutes per side over medium heat is what you are going for, and it might be a good idea to test a stick or two before committing all of them to the pan. Using too much heat can scorch the exterior of your french toast while leaving the inside soggy. Plus, since there is sugar in the custard, it can burn quickly if the french toast is cooked on a surface that is too hot. But if the french toast is cooked at too low of a temperature, the insides will dry out and you won’t get that nice balance of slightly crisp exterior with a soft center that makes good French toast so special.
- This is related to the previous tip, but be sure to preheat the pan well. If the pan isn’t hot enough when your dipped french toast goes in, the egg mixture will spread out into a puddle around the bottom of the French toast. When the pan is properly preheated, the custard-coating will start cooking immediately without spreading.
- Since you will likely be working in batches, keep cooked french toast sticks warm in a 250 degree oven until ready to serve.
- If you want to make these and freeze for an easy morning breakfast option, just prepare the cinnamon french toast sticks all the way through cooking, then lay the cooked french toast sticks on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for 2-3 hours, then transfer to a freezer-safe zip-tight bag for up to 2 months. These can be reheated in a 350 degree F oven for 8-10 minutes until hot or microwaved for 2 minutes (though the texture won’t be as good).
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- 8 slices Texas Toast bread
- 5 eggs
- 1 cup cream or whole milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 3-4 tablespoons butter
- Powdered sugar
- Maple syrup
- Cut each slice of bread into 4 sticks. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, cream, vanilla, sugar, and cinnamon.
- In a large pan, melt 1-2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat.
- Working in batches, dip a few of the sticks of bread into the egg mixture at a time, turning to coat, then let the excess egg mixture drip off and place the sticks in the hot pan, being careful not to overcrowd the pan.
- Cook the french toast sticks on each side, flipping until each side is golden brown and crispy. Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with maple syrup.
Day-old, slightly stale or dried out bread works best for french toast because it soaks up more of the custardy egg mixture.
You can use cream or milk for this recipe. Cream is a little more rich and custardy, but milk works too.
To freeze: Lay the cooked french toast sticks on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Freeze for 2-3 hours, then transfer to a freezer-safe zip-tight bag. These can be reheated in a microwave, the oven at 300 degrees for 10 minutes, or by toasting them again in a pan.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 255Saturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 154mgSodium: 218mgCarbohydrates: 15gSugar: 2gProtein: 6g
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