Sunday, March 21, 2010

Stuffed French Toast

The Test Kitchen Cookbook strikes once again! This brunch is the type of amazing where you want to eat more than one serving, but if you do you'll feel sick, and the idea that you get to eat it again tomorrow is satisfying.

I'm always careful to follow exactly what the Test Kitchen says to do the first round, and then I modify to make it healthier/lighter the following times. You can do what you want.

6 oz. cream cheese, softened (I used neufachtel cheese, which is just "light cream cheese")
1/4 c. white sugar
1/4 t. cinnamon
pinch ground nutmeg
8 slices high-quality white sandwich bread (no joke, that's what it says... we don't know what "high quality" white bread is, but we went with Oroweat Classic White - next time I'll just use our normal, homemade wheat)
4 Tbs. unsalted butter
1 c. whole milk (used 1%)
1 large egg
2 t. vanilla extract
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. all-purpose flour (i'll use whole wheat next time)

Mix the cream cheese, 2 Tablespoons of the sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg together in a small bowl until smooth. Wrap tightly and refrigerate until chilled, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 200 degrees. Arrange the bread on a wire rack set over a baking sheet and bake until slightly dry, about 15 minutes; set aside, leaving the oven on.
Spread the cream cheese mixture evenly over 4 pieces of the bread, leaving a 1/2-inch border at the edges. Lightly press the remaining slices of bread over the top to make 4 sturdy sandwiches.
Melt 2 tablespoons of the butter and whisk it together with the milk, egg, vanilla, salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the flour until smooth. Pour the batter into a large shallow dish.
Lay 2 sandwiches in the batter and soak both sides, about 1 minute per side. Meanwhile, melt 1 more tablespoon butter in a 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat until beginning to brown, swirling to coat the pan.
Remove the bread from the batter, allowing excess batter to drip back into the dish and lay in the hot skillet. Cook until golden brown on both sides,a bout 2 1/2 minutes per side (*Seriously set the timer and let it cook for 2 1/2 minutes; don't bother it. If you set it on medium heat and cook it for that time, it won't burn... patience, young grasshopper!). Transfer the French toast back to the wire rack and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with the remaining sandwiches, butter, and batter. Serve with Grade B maple syrup (or whatever you'd like).