Chia Seed French Toast with Blood Orange Strawberry Syrup

So this was not my birthday breakfast (see this post), but this was a delicious breakfast from last weekend. Yes, I made French toast again. I wanted to experiment with healthifying French toast a little bit. Not too much; it still needs to be creamy yet crusted and delicious. But I figured the basics of French toast- egg, bread, milk- didn’t need to necessarily combine into an overly indulgent dish. In fact, it takes to these additional healthy ingredients and toppings very well, and I actually found this preparation more filling and satisfying. The blood orange strawberry syrup draws on this lingering-winter, almost-spring produce I’m noticing now, combining the acidic, thick-skinned winter fruits with the delicately sweet spring flora. They’re a match made in heaven; the perfect sweetly tangy topping to the more heavy toast below. I used chia seeds to amp up the nutritional profile, as chia seeds are a great source of omega-3 fats and other minerals. I also wanted to see if they’d add a bit of a crunch to the toast (spoiler: not too much, really). Regardless, this French toast was phenomenal, with way less added sugar than the typical preparation topped with maple syrup, and more nutritious as well. (But if you want something more indulgently custardy and traditional, use this recipe).

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Chia Seed French Toast with Blood Orange Strawberry Syrup

Serves 1

2 thick slices (about 1 inch) of country bread, preferably multi-grain or whole wheat

2 eggs

1/4 cup milk

1 tsp. honey

1/4 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tbsp. chia seeds

Blood Orange Strawberry Syrup, to serve:

  • 1 cup hulled and halved strawberries
  • 1 tsp. blood orange zest
  • 2 tbsp. blood orange juice, freshly squeezed (feel free to eat the remaining fruit)
  • 1/4 cup sugar

Start by preparing the blood orange strawberry syrup. Mix the syrup ingredients together in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Allow the mixture to come to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium low. Allow the syrup to simmer until the strawberries are broken down and it has reduced to about half the initial volume, about 15 minutes. The syrup will be thick with small strawberry chunks, but still pourable. Set aside to cool slightly.

Whisk together the egg, milk, honey, and vanilla extract. Pour the egg mixture into a shallow pan (I use a pyrex baking dish) and toss the chia seeds throughout the mixture. Soak the bread in the eggs, making sure to evenly distribute the chia seeds through the batter on the toast. Allow to soak for 2 minutes, then flip to soak the other side.

Heat a griddle to 350 and lightly grease with butter. Add the French toast and cook for 4-5 minutes. Flip then cook the opposite side for another 4-5 minutes.

Plate the French toast and top with the blood orange strawberry syrup.

 

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Enjoy for a filling yet healthier weekend breakfast.

 

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French Toast (Breakfast for Dinner)

I’ve already spotlighted pancakes as a perfect breakfast-for-dinner meal. I stand by those humble ‘jacks as the most iconic and cravable dinner substitute. And, to be honest, I made this french toast for brunch one Saturday. But, I thoroughly support the indulgence of creamy, custard-laden egg bread, fried until crisped and doused in maple syrup. I support it at breakfast, brunch, lunch, and, today, dinner. French toast at your favorite diner-style brunch place (or even classy and/or organic brunch restaurant) seems to be almost unachievable in a weeknight kitchen. The exterior crunch, the fluffy middle, the perfect ability to soak up maple syrup… it all seems lost when you yourself dip your bread in eggs and flop it into a sauté pan. But I’ve dabbled in French toast enough now to make a bold statement: it can be done in your own kitchen and on your own time. It does involve a bit of a splurge on one uncommon ingredient- egg bread- but from there it’s really the usual suspects that transform bread into an indulgent almost-dessert (but it’s not; it’s breakfast. it’s fine). Please, please, please so much try this at home.

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French Toast

Serves 4-6

1 loaf egg bread (or Challah or Brioche bread), sliced into 1 inch slices

6 large eggs

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 tbsp. honey

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 tbsp. salted butter, to cook

Heat a griddle to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, or heat a large sauté pan over medium heat.

In a bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, honey, and vanilla extract. Pour the custard mixture into a wide dish. Soak 2-4 slices of bread at a time, allowing to rest in the custard for 2 minutes per side.

Butter the griddle or sauté pan and add slices of coated bread. Cook for 3-4 minutes then flip; the custard should be browning and crisping in places. Allow to cook another 3-4 minutes on the alternate side. Plate to serve, best with toppings of butter, a sprinkling of powdered sugar, and a heavy pour of maple syrup. If serving later, keep the French toast warm by placing between towels on a baking sheet in a 200 degree oven.

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Pour syrup on top, watch the butter run all over the French toast, think about sleeping in maple syrup, lift fork, and dive in.