But when the weekend rolls around and we have a chance to move at a slower pace, we put on some nice music, sip a mimosa or a cappuccino (or both!) and putz around the kitchen in our jammies . . . and generally take our time with breakfast. Now I could tell you a story about my mom making french toast for me as a kid, or I could tell you that for years I used bread with names like ‘Wonder’ or ‘Store Brand’, or I could tell you that I didn’t know fancy words like ‘Brioche’ or ‘Challah’ until a couple of years ago or I could tell you that we always used Aunt Jemima syrup in the brown glass bottle with the yellow cap or I could even tell you that I loved that syrup so much I wanted to drink it straight from the bottle . . . but I won’t.
Instead I’m going to recommend that you get yourself into the kitchen this weekend and make this french toast. I’m going to recommend that you play your favorite music, grab a coffee or cappuccino, or make yourself a mimosa (or make both!), then make this french toast and stay in your jammies until noon. One more thing . . . make sure you savor every. single. bite. And once you’ve tasted just how perfect this french toast is, make it again during the upcoming holidays or whenever you want to feel like you’re on vacation . . . uhm yes, this french toast is totally worth the calories!
CRANBERRY FRENCH TOAST W/MASCARPONE
Slightly adapted from O Magazine, November 2010
FOR THE TOAST:
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspooons vanilla, divided
1 loaf brioche, cut into 1-inch thick slices (you can sub Challah but don’t use regular bread – it will fall apart)
butter or cooking spray for griddle
FOR THE CRANBERRY SYRUP:
2 cups water
1-1/2 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice, from about 1 medium lemon (can sub orange/zest here too)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup cranberries, fresh or defrosted
SMITH BITES NOTE: This is a runny syrup and only 1 or 2 tablespoons are used leaving the focus on the cranberries; however, if you’d like a slightly thicker syrup, dissolve 1/2 to 1 teaspoon cornstarch in a little bit of water, add to the syrup mixture and heat until thickened.
FOR THE MASCARPONE TOPPING:
1 cup mascarpone cheese
1 Tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
zest from 1 medium lemon (can sub orange)
Powdered sugar for sprinkling
1. Heat a nonstick grilled (or pan) over medium heat. Preheat oven to warm.
2. Whisk together eggs, milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Dip bread in egg mixture and allow it to soak in, about 1 minute.
3. Lightly grease griddle with butter or cooking spray. Working in batches, cook bread until golden, about 3 minutes. Flip and grill until golden and puffed, about 3 minutes more. Keep warm in the oven.
4. Meanwhile, combine 2 cups water, sugar, lemon juice and salt in a pot; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until sugar dissolves. Add cranberries and bring back to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for a few minutes. Turn off heat; let sit 1 minute. In a large bowl, whip together mascarpone, lemon zest, remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla and confectioners’ sugar.
5. Remove toast from oven. Place a slice on a plate and top with cranberries and a dollop of mascarpone, dust with powered sugar and serve.
SMITH BITES NOTE:
We have made this recipe twice – once following the recipe exactly as listed above and once omitting the sugar and lemon juice and then substituting 1-1/2 cups of the Cranberry Liqueur
recipe from Vino Luci Style . . . guess which one knocked our socks off?!! Making the liqueur takes about 5 weeks of soaking the cranberries in vodka, so for most of you, the original recipe makes more sense and is still quite delicious!