There’s french toast, and then there’s cinnamon sugar-crusted french toast with a cream cheese filling and warmed berries. It’s your pick.
There are no extravagant steps, not too much brain energy involved. You dip good bread in luscious custard (or do it the eggless/vegan way), dip that in cinnamon sugar, fry in a pan.
Then you spread some cream cheese frosting (not the bought stuff, no no) on one slice, layer with warmed berries, layer on the other slice.
Then you ooh and aah for a bit, drizzle with maple syrup, and then EAT. Cream cheese and berries ooze out the sides, berries give up their juice.
That right there is the best morning.
The cinnamon sugar crust is key. It’s what takes this to a whole new level, and adds a luxurious sweetness so you don’t need as much maple syrup later on.
Sweetened cream cheese may be substituted for yoghurt here, but I find the cream cheese adds proper oomph, volume, and just the right amount of tang. Together with the warm berries, this makes the perfect french toast sandwich.
Cinnamon Sugar-crusted Cream Cheese-stuffed French Toast (makes 1 sandwich)
For the french toast:
2 slices fresh challah/white sandwich bread/sourdough, around 3/4-1 inch thick (I keep mine in an airtight bag in the freezer, and let thaw for a half hour before I need or want to use it)
60ml (1/4 cup) milk
1 heaping tbsp ground cinnamon + 6 tbsp white sugar
splash vanilla extract
butter for frying
For the cream cheese filling and warmed berries:
2 heaping tbsp cream cheese spread
1 tsp milk
1 tbsp icing sugar
handful of berries of choice (I used blueberries and raspberries)
In a shallow bowl, mix together the cinnamon and sugar and set aside. Preheat your pan on medium-high heat. In another bowl, whisk together the egg, milk and vanilla extract. Once pan is hot, add a knob of butter and listen out for a sizzle; if the butter browns too quickly turn down the heat a little.
Take one challah slice and dip in the eggy batter for 10 seconds. Flip and do the same for the other side. It should be soaked through but not falling apart. Lift up the slice and let excess batter drip down, then immediately lay in the bowl containing the cinnamon sugar. Turn the slice and coat the other side.
Do the same with the second slice, then place both slices in the hot pan for frying. Wait 20 seconds for the first sides to fry, then flip. Wait a little longer, around 30-40 seconds, if you prefer a less soggy middle for your french toast (I like mine pretty soggy and saturated). The second side will take shorter to cook, so remove once you like the doneness.
In the same pan, add a little more butter, then plop in your berries. Let cook and sizzle– they will yield their juices after around 4-5 minutes of cooking and become warm and soft. Mix together the ingredients for the cream cheese filling.
Spoon the cream cheese and berries onto one slice of bread and then layer on the second slice. Finally, drizzle everything with good maple syrup.