Welcome back to IBC’s Breakfast Week! You’re in for another treat today.
The secret’s out. – I like sweet things for breakfast. I don’t think I’ve told you that my house is down the street from a Sheetz gas station / convenience store. Several years ago they carried a cotton candy donut. This is embarrassing to admit, but that donut had some magical power over me. I would wake up, try to make myself look presentable (but that didn’t really matter), drive the quarter mile, and buy a cotton candy donut on a somewhat regular basis. And by “a” cotton candy donut, I mean two, or sometimes three. I would tell myself I’d save one for tomorrow. But of course, that never happened because I consumed them in quick succession. (We’ve all been there, right? My cotton candy donut may be your peanut M&Ms or potato chips. Right?)
As I’m typing this, I feel like I’m applying for an episode of My Strange Addiction. It wasn’t that bad, but I definitely was hooked. Thankfully, Sheetz no longer carries the cotton candy donut, so my “addiction” has stopped, and thankfully my jeans still fit.
Anyway, this story has little to do with this post other than to illustrate how much I love sweets. Even though I’m 99% sure you already knew that.
Now, onto Berry Stuffed French Toast.
As you might have guessed, this was another go-to recipe at my B&B.
French toast is a classic breakfast dish, but I like to make things a little bigger and bolder. This particular French toast is stuffed with a blend of sweetened cream cheese and fresh berries to create a decadent morning treat. (Maybe even better than my cotton candy donuts. Maybe.)
What makes this recipe work especially well is the preparation of the bread. You start with a loaf of unsliced French bread. To cut the bread, you make your first slice only 3/4 of the way through the bread. Then, your next slice will go the whole way through.
This will make a little pocket to fill with that delicious sweet cream cheese berry mixture.
Speaking of the filling, for this recipe I’m showing your how to create mixed berries. However, you can substitute any fruit you’d like. I’ve done this with just strawberries and even cranberries around the holidays. Use whatever you like or whatever is fresh.
Once the bread is stuffed, the preparation is the same as any French toast.
Dip that bread into a mixture of egg and milk and fry it in a skillet or on a griddle.
Naturally, you’ll want to top it all off with a sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar, maple syrup, and some more fresh berries. – Since we’ve come this far, we might as well do it right.
Then, grab your fork and enjoy!
Makes about 12 pieces of French toast
Here's what you will need:
1 loaf of French bread
1 block (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2 cups fresh berries, roughly chopped
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cups milk or half-and-half
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
2-3 tablespoons butter
Maple syrup, confectioner's sugar, and additional berries for serving (optional)
Begin by cutting your bread. With a bread knife remove about an inch from the end of the bread. Then, make a slice about 1/2 inch into the bread. Only cut about 3/4 of the way through. Then, about a 1/2 inch from your first slice, make another cut into the bread. This time, slice through. This will leave you with a slice of bread with a little pocket. Continue slicing the rest of the loaf in the same fashion. Set aside.
In a bowl with a hand mixer, combine the cream cheese, chopped berries, sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat until smooth. Set aside.
Using a spatula, spread a generous amount of the berry and cream cheese mixture between the two layers of each slice of bread. Set aside.
In a large bowl, break the eggs. Whisk together with the milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt.
Next, add some butter to a hot skillet set to medium-high heat and melt. Using a pair of tongs, dip the stuffed bread into the egg mixture. Allow any excess egg mixture to drip off; then place the bread in the skillet. Cook for about 4-6 minutes or until the bread is browned to your liking. Continue this process with the rest of the stuffed bread.
Sprinkle the French toast with confectioner's sugar. Serve warm with maple syrup and more fresh berries.
And that, my friends, is how to create a delicious, memorable breakfast.
Let me tell you, it tastes as good as it looks.
Give this recipe a try – add your own twist, and tell us what you think. Oh, and if you ever see cotton candy donuts at Sheetz, buy 2 or 3, eat them all, and don’t feel guilty.