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12/29/2020

~Home for the Holidays Eggnog Brioche French Toast~

IMG_8329When the Christmas and New Year holidays roll around, depending on who's coming to breakfast, lunch or dinner, my menus vary from year-to-year.  That said, eggnog is a constant, a staple in my refrigerator, and it's offered to guests at any time of day.  Interestingly, since I moved to Happy Valley (State College), Central Pennsylvania, in 1974, I've neither needed to make eggnog from scratch, nor, buy the all-too-many-times cloyingly sweet stuff sold in the grocery stores.  We have a local dairy that sells their own special blend of pasteurized eggnog and eggnog ice cream -- both are marvelous.  Meyer's Dairy eggnog and eggnog ice cream part of my tradition.

6a0120a8551282970b022ad3a7a3c6200dMeet Meyer Dairy.  Founded in 1970 by two  brothers and located just four short miles from my kitchen door, I have been buying milk and ice cream from these folks since the day I moved to Happy Valley in 1974.  Joseph Meyer, the owner explains, "We're farmers, so we produce our own milk.  We put in a drop tank to bring it up from the farm to process and bottle it in our shop."  Over the years they added many varieties of ice-cream, and the flavors change daily. Besides one of their generous cones of the creamy-dreamy stuff, there's plenty of room to sit down and enjoy a hot dog or a hamburger too.  They sell lots of other local and PA based products too:  grilled stickies from The College Diner, apple butter from the Lions Club and Middleswarth potato chips -- everyone loves Meyer Dairy!

Making French toast using eggnog in place of cream (or half-and-half or milk) is by no means rocket science.  There are only two things you need to know.  The first:  Classic French toast recipes typically add sugar to the egg-and-cream vanilla-flavored custard. Because eggnog contains sugar, there's no need to add more -- simply omit the requisite sugar from the original recipe.  The second:  Classic French toast recipes always add vanilla extract to the custard, and, most add cinnamon.  In order to make the custard mixture "noggy", in addition to the vanilla and cinnamon,  I like to add some butter-rum flavoring and a touch of nutmeg.

Eggnog French toast in four steps:  whisk, dip, soak, cook:

IMG_82796,  3/4"-thick slices, 2-3 day old, my recipe for bread machine eggnog brioche, or, bread machine brioche

4  large eggs

1 1/2  cups pasteurized eggnog

2  teaspoons butter-rum flavoring

2  teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2  teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4  teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2  teaspoon sea salt

4-5  tablespoons corn-, peanut- or vegetable-oil (not olive oil), for frying the French toast

6a0120a8551282970b026be431629b200d~ Step 1.  Using a serrated bread knife, slice the bread.  This is a picture of my bread-machine brioche.  If you have a bread machine, I obviously encourage you give this recipe a try.  If you are not using my brioche, I recommend that whatever bread you are using be sliced to the thickness of 3/4".  If it is thinner or thicker, it will affect the frying time and texture.  In my opinion:  All French toast starts with properly, 3/4"-thick sliced bread.

IMG_8282 IMG_8287 IMG_8290 IMG_8292~Step 2.  To prepare the egg custard mixture, in a small bowl, crack and place the eggs, the cream, sugar, butter-rum flavoring, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg and sea salt.  Using a hand-held rotary egg beater, thoroughly whisk the eggs, cream and seasonings together until uniform in color.  Transfer the custard mixture to the bottom of a 13" x 9" x 2" casserole.

IMG_8295 IMG_8296 IMG_8300 IMG_8302~Step 3. Arrange the bread slices in the 13" x 9" x 2" casserole containing the egg custard -- overlapping is ok.  Patiently wait 2-3 minutes.  Flip bread slices over on their second sides and wait another 2-3 minutes.  Flip the bread over again, then, maybe once more, to make sure each slice is thoroughly coated and almost all liquid has been absorbed.  Briefly set aside.

IMG_8305 IMG_8309 IMG_8313 IMG_8318 IMG_8322~Step 4. Preheat just enough oil, 4-5 tablespoons, to thinly-coat the bottom (about 1/16") of a 12" nonstick skillet over medium heat on the stovetop.  Add 3 slices of the egg-custard-soaked bread and gently sauté, about 3-4 minutes per side, using a spatula to flip it over only once, until golden on both sides.  Transfer the French toast to a paper-towel-lined plate.  Repeat the process with the remaining 3 slices of egg-custard-soaked bread.

Out w/the old, in w/the new -- ring in the New Year in style:

IMG_8338Home for the Holidays Eggnog Brioche French Toast:  Recipe yields 6 slices French toast/2-3 servings. 

Special Equipment List: cutting board; serrated bread knife; hand-held rotary egg beater; 13" x 9" x 2" casserole; 12" nonstick skillet; spatula; paper towels

6a0120a8551282970b01bb09626d7c970dCook's Note:  Besides sipping on eggnog throughout the days leading up to the holidays, I bake and cook with it too.  To name a few, I make great eggnog cookies, eggnog pound cake and eggnog shortbread, and, when it comes to breakfast or brunch on Christmas or New Years Day, either eggnog pancakes, French toast or waffles always make an appearance.  There's more. I love bananas, and, caramelized bananas, the kind used to make Bananas Foster, are my favorite topping for this festive, eggnoggy start-to-the-holiday: ~ Eggnog Pancakes w/Butter-Rum 'n Nog Bananas ~.

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2020)

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