Why would I ruin a perfectly delicious, classic breakfast dish by experimenting with bizarre flavors and ingredients? Because it tasted so good when someone cajoled me into trying a bite that I wanted to make it even better.
A few summers ago, I spent a week in Alaska and stayed at an adorable B&B. The owner, an unassuming middle-aged woman, acted like our mom-away-from-home. Every evening, she asked what she should prepare for our breakfast the next morning, and one night, we were craving French toast. We assumed she would use the half of a loaf of French bread we had stored in her fridge. She did, but she also made herself a plate using whole-wheat sandwich bread and cut bites for us to sample.
Because the slices of bread weren’t as thick, hers turned out less crispy, but what it lacked in texture, it more than made up for in taste. Our plain, white bread variety paled in comparison to its rich, nutty flavor, and 1½ years later, I finally recreated her delicious breakfast. The secrets?
1. Use whole-wheat or whole-grain bread.
As opposed to white, sourdough, or French bread, a whole-wheat or whole-grain bread already contains nutty undertones because the bran coating of the wheat kernel isn’t discarded during the milling process.
2. Toast the bread.
Most French toast recipes call for stale bread. Toasting not only dries out the bread, but it also brings out those nutty undertones in the whole-wheat bread even more. (Especially in the crust—my favorite part!)
3. Spice it up.
A sprinkling of ground nutmeg, a staple spice in practically every pantry, adds a wonderfully deep nutty taste. For a sweeter nutty essence, a few drops of almond extract can be added too.
Nutty French Toast
I use Oroweat, a hearty whole-wheat bread, but any whole-wheat or whole-grain bread would work—even homemade! Top with warm maple syrup.
3-4 slices of whole-wheat bread
½ c. milk
⅛ tsp cinnamon
⅛ tsp ground nutmeg
⅛ tsp vanilla
- Toast the bread until lightly browned.
- Whisk remaining ingredients together in a pie tin. Dip each slice into the egg mixture, being sure to evenly coat both sides.
- Cook in a large skillet over medium-low heat. (Don’t crowd the pan!) When underside turns golden to deep brown and edges begin to turn up a bit, flip the bread over to cook the other side. Continue to cook until the second side is the same golden brown color. Turn out onto a plate and serve immediately.