Friday, June 15, 2012

Orange Cream French Toast

My family loves all things syrup related. Of course, anything that can be eaten with syrup can be eaten with jam, right? I grew up with the jam or syrup option on the table, and since I think options are a good thing, I love trying different flavors of jam and syrup. So, imagine my surprise when I discovered that my five year old thinks the pancakes, French toast or waffles are the optional ingredients.

Yes, one random afternoon I walked into the kitchen to find Sophie standing on a chair with her head in the pantry, drinking maple syrup straight from the bottle! I began hiding the syrup as if it was a key to the liquor cabinet. I considered putting a Mr. Yuck sticker on it too, but realized that might send a slightly mixed message next time I tried pouring it over her pancakes.

A month or so later I was searching for recipes to use up a crate of fresh Florida oranges, and I found a delicious French toast recipe. The Orange Cream French Toast from the Timberwolf Creek Bed & Breakfast in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, was posted to by Sharon123. It's orange, it's cream, it's stuffed... does breakfast get much better than that?

I think real vanilla is a must for this recipe, so I used my own homemade Madagascar vanilla bean vanilla, along with the fresh orange zest, and we were not disappointed. Bryan was going to be the hardest to impress with a French toast recipe, because he tends to be more of a pancake guy. So, I knew this was a good recipe when he requested it again before I'd even tasted it myself! Sophie said the filling tastes like frosting and we all agreed that it tasted a bit like a frosting we would use on orange cinnamon rolls.

I meant to slice my French bread thick to make plenty of pocket room, but the loaf was sold sliced, and I didn't notice it until I was home. I made pockets in the bread as best I could, and then used a pastry bag fitted with an open star tip to fill them. The only real bump in the road was when I realized we were out of maple syrup. I gave my family some options that included both my favorite ginger syrup and blackberry syrup, but they declined everything after trying their first bite with butter only. They found this recipe to be so well balanced, that syrup was not required! Bryan said he probably won't even bother with the maple syrup next time. I was impressed that this recipe was flavorful enough to enjoy without syrup, but since orange and ginger is a classic flavor combination, I topped mine with the ginger syrup, and found it to be absolutely delicious as well.

If you don't have a pastry bag or decorating tips for filling, it's not a problem. Feel free to use a Ziplock bag with a corner snipped off, or simply use the orange cream as a spread when the French toast is hot off the griddle. This versatile recipe went immediately into our "Best of 2012" collection and I hope you will enjoy it just as much as we did! Following is my interpretation and instructions for the recipe.

Orange Cream French Toast
1 loaf day-old French bread
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons sour cream
1 orange, zest of
½-1 teaspoon real vanilla
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk (approximately)
1-2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
Powdered sugar, for dusting
Orange slice (optional garnish)

The night before you make the French toast: Use an electric mixer to combine the cream cheese, powdered sugar, sour cream, vanilla, and the orange zest. Cover and store in the refrigerator overnight.
In the morning, crack the eggs into a glass measuring cup, measure, and then pour in an equal amount of milk. Whisk eggs and milk together with a dash of vanilla, and then pour mixture into a deep, flat bowl or a pie plate. Pour about a Tablespoon of vegetable oil onto a folded paper towel and spread the oil over the surface of the griddle. Pre-heat the griddle on medium heat or to about 350°. Slice the day-old French bread into 1-1/2 inch thick slices. Cut a pocket into each slice and fill generously with the cream cheese mixture. Dip the slices into the egg mixture, turning to coat both sides, and then place on the griddle to cook for about 2-4 minutes. Combine the cinnamon and nutmeg, and sprinkle the cooked side of each slice with the spices before turning to cook for another 2-3 minutes, or until golden. Dust cooked slices with powdered sugar, and garnish with a fresh slice of orange, if desired. Serves: 4

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TinksTreats by Lorilyn Tenney is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License