This week’s recipe for French Toast and Sweet and Spicy Bacon by photographer Stacy Newgent reminded me how much I love French toast (and bacon!). I’ve mentioned before my culinary rituals when I visit the United States, and together with hamburger sampling, great breakfasts rank at the top of my list. My favorite French toast of all time was Finkelstein’s French Toast from the no-longer Late for the Train in Menlo Park, California, made with thick slices of challah. I tried making it at home, starting with homemade challah, but my father always sneaked into the kitchen and ate all the loaves before they could go stale (yes, two giant loaves in less than two days). I’m happy to have Stacy’s recipe to try again this weekend with a different bread! — Kristina
About Stacy: Stacy Newgent is a freelance photographer (and aspiring home cook) living in Indianapolis, Indiana. She shoots a variety of subjects but is happiest photographing food and restaurants for cookbooks or editorial assignments. Her recent work includes the James Beard Award-winning Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams at Home, the upcoming Bakeless Sweets by Faith Durand and the most recent Garden and Gun “Made in the South” awards issue. Stacy also writes the Swell Photo Blog. Our readers loved her recipes for really easy apple dumplings and fantastic raspberry and sweet corn ice cream (from Jeni’s).
See Stacy’s full recipes after the jump . . .
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups whole milk
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 6 slices of 2-day-old Italian bread cut about 1 1/2 inches thick
- butter for pan
1. Whisk the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla and salt in a baking dish. Place the bread in a single layer in the egg mixture. Spoon the egg mixture over the bread and let stand until soaked through.
2. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet (I used a cast-iron skillet) over medium heat. Add 3 bread slices to each skillet. Cook until a deep golden color on the bottom, about 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Sprinkle the tops of the bread slices with sugar, then turn the slices over and cook until a deep golden color on the bottom, about 3 to 5 minutes.
4. Transfer the French toast to plates and serve with lots of powdered sugar and blueberries.
- 1 pint berries
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
Put everything into a saucepan and cook over medium-low heat — stirring occasionally and mashing the berries a bit until reduced — for about 20 minutes. You can also add a bit of lemon juice or orange zest, or you can add fresh herbs. It seems like everything is delicious with blueberries!
Spicy and Sweet Bacon
- 1 lb thick-cut bacon (about 12 slices)
- 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix the brown sugar and pepper together in a small bowl and set aside.
3. Line the bacon on a cookie sheet (one with edges, so the grease doesn’t run over) or a broiler pan. I like to put foil down first just to help with the clean-up.
4. Bake the bacon at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and turn the bacon over. Sprinkle the bacon with the sugar mixture.
5. Put the bacon back into the oven until crispy — about 10 to 20 minutes depending on the thickness.
My normal breakfast is coffee — lots and lots of coffee. But once in a while, I’ll start craving French toast and bacon. I really like this French toast recipe because the bread doesn’t get too soggy (since it’s pretty stale), and it turns out really sweet and buttery — and paired with spicy bacon . . . [it's] really a delicious breakfast or brunch or dinner. Plus it’s really easy, and if you don’t have berries, you can always go more traditional and use maple syrup.