Challah (an egg bread) is the ideal bread for bringing out even more of that signature french toast eggy flavor. This recipe was inspired by a challah french toast I had at the Halifax restaurant in Hoboken. Their french toast exceeded my expectations, and I’ve wanted to recreate it ever since.
As I was making the french toast dipping batter, I remembered that it was my mom who showed me how to make french toast in the first place in her very ad hoc sort of way.
Mom doesn’t measure anything so my memory is of her cracking eggs over a bowl and whisking in milk and flour with a fork. To this day, this is my method for making french toast. It’s sort of like a muscle memory that you develop over time until you eventually realize the consistency you’re after. Thanks mom!
Why does this challah french toast work?
There are 3 reasons why this recipe works.
- We layer the ingredients of eggs, milk, sugar, flour, and butter over and over. It’s in the challah, it’s in the dipping batter, and when you serve the french toast, it gets even more butter and maple syrup to boot! Layering concentrates flavor so imagine if french toast could somehow be even more french toasty, and that’s what you’ve got here.
- Almond extract, nutmeg, and cinnamon are all flavor affinities. Add maple flavored whipped cream and this challah french toast is just like I remember it all those years ago at Halifax.
- Contrasting temperatures and textures enhance the mouthfeel. The braided, chewy bread is warm and gets the full treatment with the cool, fluffy whipped cream. That crunch of almond brings out the almond extract flavor found in the batter.
Can I reduce the sugar in the maple whipped cream?
Yes, of course, but here’s why you shoudn’t:
What really makes this recipe special is the maple whipped cream. Talk about decadent! As I was whipping the cream, I heard the voices of every chef I’ve ever worked with in my head.
“Don’t overwhip it. Only a splash of maple syrup,” and I thought “No, this maple whipped cream will taste of maple!” Since I added it 1 tablespoon at a time to-taste, I can honestly say that it gets just enough maple to bring forward the maple flavor, not a drop more.
So…while it seems like a lot, I definitely don’t think it’s overly sweet.
Make Ahead and Eat for Days
Imagine a four star dining experience in less than 10 minutes per day.
When I go to the trouble of making bread like this challah recipe, I want to make sure my efforts don’t go to waste. You could definitely buy challah, but if you decide to make it from scratch, at least your hard work will pay off for days.
Go ahead and make this for a crowd same day or make the dipping batter ahead and refrigerate it for up to 3 days. As the challah dries out, it’s still good for french toast so you can make this breakfast in a snap. It fed Marcus and I four separate breakfasts, and boy did we feel lucky to eat like this during the week. This is the kind of all-out, breakfast-in-bed meals that we all need once in a while.
If you want to impress the socks off someone in your life, make this french toast for them. I’m talking, anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas morning, Valentine’s day, or just to say “I really love you.”
Challah French Toast
- 1 loaf Day old challah bread, cut into 1" thick slices
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup whole milk, ok to substitute any milk
- 1/4 cup all purpose flour, bread flour or pastry flour work too
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 cups heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 cup grade A maple syrup
butter, powdered sugar, slivered almonds for serving
- In a medium sized bowl, combine the eggs, milk, flour, sugar, salt, almond extract, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk to combine. It's ok if there are some clumps, it will not affect the french toast. Heat a non-stick skillet over medium-low heat with a pat of butter. Dip the sliced challah into the batter to coat both sides. Lift the bread, allowing some of the excess batter to drip off, then place into a warm skillet. Cook until the color is a deep golden-brown, then flip with a spatula, 1-2 minutes per side.
- To make the whipped cream, you can use a stand mixer with whisk attachment or egg beaters. Beat the cream on a medium setting for 3 minutes or until soft peaks form. Slowly pour the maple syrup into the cream while whisking just until stiff peaks form, 1 minute. Meanwhile, toast the slivered almonds (about 1/2 cup) at 325° for 7 minutes or until fragrant and crunchy.
- To serve the french toast, dust with powdered sugar and a pat of butter. Add the maple whipped cream and toasted almonds for garnish. Serve with maple syrup.