Breakfast for dinner. It rarely happens at our house but I'm a huge fan. It's probably because I'm always too lazy and/or too hungry to spend more than a few minutes making breakfast on the weekend. I was at the gym today flipping through an old issue of Health magazine and this french toast recipe caught my eye. I didn't have any ciabatta on hand, but I knew there was some challah in the freezer and since we didn't have a plan for dinner, I decided to make the french toast. (Added bonus - the recipe uses egg whites and I've got a ton of them in my freezer thanks to all of the ice cream I've been making this summer!)
My photo doesn't tell the entire story of the recipe as I skipped the sliced almonds, which serve as a sort of crust on one side of each slice of french toast (You can click on the link to Health magazine below for a photo of the french toast with the almond crust). I still had some almond flavor, however, thanks to the almond extract. I really enjoyed the flavors in this recipe - so much in fact that I didn't even feel the need to add any maple syrup to the french toast. I simply ate it with some sliced strawberries.
While the flavors were great, I struggled a bit with the texture. The outside developed a fairly crispy crust, but the middle was too soggy for me. Like I said, I don't make french toast all that often so I'm no expert, but I have a few theories on what I might change when I make the recipe again. First, I obviously didn't use the type of bread recommended by the recipe. The challah didn't tolerate the 3 minute soak in the egg mixture per side as well as I suspect the ciabatta would have. Were I to use challah again I'd definitely soak for a shorter time. I also used fresh bread as opposed to stale since this was a last minute dinner plan and given the heat today I didn't want to turn on the oven to stale the bread.
Almond Ciabatta French Toast
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/4 cups 1% low-fat milk
1/4 cup whole milk
8 (1-inch) slices round ciabatta (I used challah)
1 cup sliced almonds (I omitted)
Heat a griddle or skillet over medium-low heat.
Whisk egg, egg whites, salt, sugar, vanilla extract and almond extract together in a medium bowl. Gradually whisk in both types of milk. Pour mixture into a shallow baking dish. Working in batches, if necessary, place bread in dish and let soak 3 minutes on each side.
Coat a griddle or skillet with cooking spray. For each slice of the bread, place 2 tablespoons almonds in a single (but fairly densely packed) layer on the hot griddle, forming an area the size and shape of a bread slice. Press 1 side of the bread into the almonds, and cook 4 minutes or until golden brown. (You will probably need to repeat this process in 2 batches.) Flip the bread over, and cook 3–4 minutes or until speckled golden brown. Serve immediately.