Mondays are for Complaining and French Toast

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Ok, so no one really loves getting up at 5:30am on Monday morning, in the dark and snow (and especially after a three day weekend) to face meetings at the office.  If that sounds like your idea of enjoyment, then come talk to me so I can get you some professional help. 

As unbearable as Mondays are, (and my distaste for Mondays is of the order of magnitude of Garfield the Cat) there are some things that are redeeming and mitigate the hell that is Monday morning and this Christmas-inspired French Toast is just that. Ten minutes in the kitchen can change your whole life and this super easy breakfast is sure to deliver.

Infused with cinnamon, allspice, ginger, vanilla, and a bit of clove if you have it, this tres facile French toast can actually be made for a crowd; just pop it in the oven in the morning and go about your routine. The trick here is to start with good quality ingredients in the first place; I promise you, it won't disappoint.  

If you've been following me for a while, I'm sure you're  familiar with my daily loaves from Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day better known as the no-knead loaf.  This French toast makes use of the leftovers and while white bread works perfectly fine here, it is a perfect vehicle for sturdier, crustier wholemeal bread.

Got stale bread? Quelle chance!  This is perfect for loaves that could potentially be used to commit grievous bodily harm. You'll just need to soak it a little longer.  No bread made? A hearty artisan loaf from the grocery is best but if you think you fancy, go for eggy, rich brioche and show Monday who's the boss 'round here (you, of course).  Go heavy handed on the spices - you really want to taste them through the syrup, but unless you love cloves, ease up on those - the taste is pretty strong (and reminds me of the endodontist...)

On a Saturday, I would top this with all manners of berries and fresh whipped cream, but since its Monday, I had to settle for raspberries that were nearing the end of their shelf life and 100% pure Vermont maple syrup (sorry Quebec, I'm only allowed two French references per blog post).

Monday French Toast for One

Ingredients

2-3 inch thick slices of good bread
1 egg
1/8 cup milk or cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves, or to taste
1 tablespoon of butter for frying

1/2 cup berries, fresh or frozen
1/4-1/2 cup real maple syrup (I don't like tons of syrup, but maybe you do)

Mix sugar, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves in a shallow dish, then whip in egg and milk.   For dense, thick bread or stale bread, soak in the mixture for 3-5 minutes.  For fresher bread, you can dip the slices on both sides to saturation.  

Heat a heavy frying pan on medium high-heat and add butter until it melts and lightly browns.  Fry the bread on each side for about 2 minutes until the egg mixture turns golden brown.  I don't like to waste the egg mixture, so I pour the rest of it over the bread and fry again on both sides.  

In a microwaveable cup or bowl, mix berries and maple syrup and microwave on high for 1 minute.  Stir and pour over your french toast. Enjoy!

Want to make this for a crowd and a bit in advance?  Quadruple the recipe, grease a fridgeproof/ovenproof baking dish with a generous amount of butter (2 tablespoons), place bread slices in and cover with the egg mixture.  Let it soak overnight and pop it in the oven the next day on 375F/190C/Gas Mark 5 for about 25 minutes or until set.  Also quadruple the berry syrup mixture, and serve with a side of fresh whipped cream.