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Orange Scented French Toast

Orange Scented French Toast

It’s the holidays, you have guests and they might be expecting something special for brunch. This might just do the trick. Thick slices of Challah bread soaked in a rich egg custard scented with orange, honey and vanilla then gently cooked until toasted and golden on the outside, while creamy on the inside. Nothing says special quite like Orange Scented French Toast!

This is our “go to” French toast recipe. The morning after Thanksgiving we still had folks wanting brunch. We went looking through the staples left in Emily’s kitchen for some inspiration. She had Challah bread leftover from making dressing, an orange from the cranberry relish, plenty of eggs and half and half. French toast was on the menu!

Three things help create a great French toast. First, start with a really good bread and second, use a custard made of more than milk and eggs. For the bread, go with a Challah bread – it’s a luscious egg bread with a delicate flavor.

For the egg custard whisk in orange, honey and vanilla into half and half for added richness. And if you want to bump up the notes of orange, drop in a touch of orange oil.

The third thing, let the bread soak. Soak it for a good ten to fifteen minutes until it is full of the egg custard through and through.

Pop it in a hot skillet and wait for the magic to happen. While the custard bakes inside, the bread puffs into a creamy bite and the outside becomes gloriously golden.

You end up with a French toast that’s rich and delicately laced with flavor, ready for a drizzle of warm maple syrup.

Grab a loaf of Challah, warm up the syrup and get ready for something pretty wonderful!

Orange Scented French Toast

6 extra large eggs

1-1/2 cups half and half

Zest of 1 orange, about 1 teaspoon

1-1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon orange oil or orange extract, optional

2 tablespoons good quality honey

½ teaspoon kosher salt

1 large loaf Challah bread, about a 1-pound loaf

1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons butter, more if needed

1 tablespoon vegetable oil, more if needed

Maple syrup for serving

Whisk together the eggs with the half and half, orange zest, vanilla extract, orange oil, honey and the kosher salt. Blend making sure the honey is well blended into the custard base.

Slice the Challah bread into one inch thick slices.

Pour the egg mixture into a large baking dish. Place the Challah bread in the custard base and allow it to soak for about five minutes, then flip it to allow the bread to soak up the egg custard on both sides. Soak it for about 10 to 15 minutes total. Don’t skimp on this step, otherwise you’ll be cooking plain bread!

Melt 1-1/2 tablespoons of the butter into 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter foams and the skillet is hot add the slices of soaked bread, allowing room between to turn the slices.

Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes per side until the French toast is golden brown and the custard is cooked through.

Easily serves 4 to 6.

Challah freezes beautifully so I frequently have a loaf in my freezer. A 1-pound loaf of Challah bread will give you about 10 full slices plus a few smaller pieces. The bread will puff and expand as it cooks so one piece can be a serving especially if you’re serving as part of a brunch buffet. To be safe, you can count on two slices per person.

You can keep the cooked French toast warm in a 200-degree oven by placing it on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet in the oven. The rack over the pan will keep the French toast from getting soggy on the bottom while keeping it nice and warm.

Orange Scented French Toast, courtesy of Preserving Good Stock

December 9, 2019
: Easily serves 4 to 6.

Nothing says brunch quite like French toast. Thick slices of Challah bread are soaked in a rich egg custard scented with orange, honey and vanilla then gently cooked until toasted and golden on the outside, while creamy on the inside.

By:

Ingredients
  • 6 extra large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups half and half
  • Zest of 1 orange, about 1 teaspoon
  • 1-1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon orange oil or orange extract, optional
  • 2 tablespoons good quality honey
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large loaf Challah bread, about a 1-pound loaf
  • 1-1/2 to 2 tablespoons butter, more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil, more if needed
  • Maple syrup for serving
Directions
  • Step 1 Whisk together the eggs with the half and half, orange zest, vanilla extract, orange oil, honey and the kosher salt. Blend making sure the honey is well blended into the custard base.
  • Step 2 Slice the Challah bread into one inch thick slices.
  • Step 3 Pour the egg mixture into a large baking dish. Place the Challah bread in the custard base and allow it to soak for about five minutes, then flip it to allow the bread to soak up the egg custard on both sides. Soak it for about 10 to 15 minutes total. Don’t skimp on this step, otherwise you’ll be cooking plain bread!
  • Step 4 Melt 1-1/2 tablespoons of the butter into 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When the butter foams and the skillet is hot add the slices of soaked bread, allowing room between to turn the slices. Cook for about 3 to 5 minutes per side until the French toast is golden brown and the custard is cooked through.
  • Step 5 Challah freezes beautifully so I frequently have a loaf in my freezer. A 1-pound loaf of Challah bread will give you about 10 full slices plus a few smaller pieces. The bread will puff and expand as it cooks so one piece can be a serving especially if you’re serving as part of a brunch buffet. To be safe, you can count on two slices per person.
  • Step 6 You can keep the cooked French toast warm in a 200-degree oven by placing it on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet in the oven. The rack over the pan will keep the French toast from getting soggy on the bottom while keeping it nice and warm.


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