It turns out that the breakfast staple, French toast, has been gaslighting us for centuries. French toast wasn’t created by the French. Early variations of the breakfast food can be found as early as the fifth century, before France was even around. But, these iterations lacked the egg component and were mainly used to soften stale bread with milk and then fry it up.
In 1724 a New York innkeeper, Joseph French, introduced the breakfast food to the masses. Joseph French dropped the apostrophe off the end of the name, and thus gifted us the confusing title. And so, an American with bad grammar (not the French) is to thank for this breakfast dish (or brunch).
This is one of my favorite recipes and is sure to put everyone who tastes it in a good mood. But, we don’t recommend this as part of your daily diet. It’s definitely not what you would call healthy.
Harrington’s Cinnamon French Toast Recipe
2 tablespoons of granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup milk (oat milk is best, no need for heavy cream)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Thick, stale bread (Brioche bread works best with its already high egg and butter content)
4 tablespoons of Vermont Creamery Cultured Butter with Sea Salt
Cinnamon French Toast Instructions
Mix together the granulated sugar and ground cinnamon. In a separate bowl whisk together the egg, milk and vanilla extract. Pour the mixture into a shallow bowl, deep enough to hold the mixture and wide enough to dip the bread.
Heat the skillet over medium heat. Melt two tablespoons of butter in the hot skillet. Dip the bread slices into the mixture of milk, egg and vanilla extract. Soak each side in the egg mixture and place them on the melted butter. Most recipes will call for less milk but they can give you a very “eggy” taste and residue on the edge of the toast.
Toast both sides of the sliced bread on just below medium heat. Flip the toast after one minute. The color should be almost golden brown. If the bread is still floppy after toasting both sides, repeat the process for 30 seconds on each side. Add in the other two tablespoons of butter, making sure it’s distributed evenly across the pan. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture on top. Flip the cinnamon french toast after 20 seconds so it doesn’t burn. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture on the other side. Repeat this process of sprinkling and flipping until the sugar and cinnamon mixture is gone. The key is continual flipping and also making sure the pan is buttered to keep the toast and sugar from burning.
Top it off with warm maple syrup.
In theory, this recipe is very easy. But, it’s all about the timing. If you add the cinnamon sugar too early without cooking the bread through, you won’t be able to get the texture right. If you add it too late or flip too many times, you’ll have a crust that turns the toast into a volatile candy-like substance.
Fresh bread will lend to floppy toast with a too soften center. In order to keep the cinnamon french toast from having a mushy center, the bread is best stale. If it’s fresh, you can pop it into the toaster to lightly stiffen the bread.
This cinnamon french toast recipe makes for a great weekend indulgence. We recommend cooking this and watching one of these.
Kaeley is a contemporary artist and cultural organizer who loves good espresso and a cold Coke Zero.