Hey hey Hey!! I'm so glad to be back posting consistently to this site. And because it's Christmas week, I'm going to be posting THREE recipes this week that you can use this holiday season on the sweet side. Because, what are the holidays without a little sugar? The first one I'm bringing to you is a super simple, make ahead capable, one hand eating treat that is an elevation of the classic version you are used to. Yes, french toast!
If you do not have to eat gluten free, then no worries, you can make this with regular brioche and follow the same recipe. I just love having this option because when it comes to breakfast and brunches, especially during the holidays, there's stacks of pancakes and trays full of waffles and even more than enough french toast around, but if you can't or have a hard time digesting wheat, it's just eggs and bacon for you! Well, we want syrup too! And this isn't one of those recipes where you're slaving over the stove all morning only to be rushed to start cooking dinner right after. No, you can make these the morning of, or even the night before and store them in an airtight container to keep fresh and soft.
This isn't just any french toast though, this is made from buttery brioche (YES, even for Gluten Free!) and an egg-yolk only custard which gives you a really luscious bite in each piece. Couple this with the fact that theres buttermilk which brings out those tart notes you really need in a sweet dish and to round it all out, there's my winter spice blend that brings in all the warmth you want on a cold winter's day. Once you make the basic recipe, it is really easy to adapt this with dark chocolate chips or roasted pecans for additional flavors and textures. Top with powdered or cinnamon-sugar, syrup or a bourbon whipped cream for even more choices. The possibilities are endless really! Because brioche is naturally sweet, this recipe requires little sugar, saving your calories for something else...like real maple syrup *homer drools*
What is your favorite french toast combination?
First we'll get started by preheating the stove to 375 degrees and placing your baking rack in the middle of the oven. Now spray or butter a muffin tin to ensure you can remove your baked bites in one whole piece. Set aside until we are ready to use.
Next, cut your brioche loaf into small cubes, like in the picture below. Try to get your pieces as evenly as possible, as they will bake more evenly and absorb liquid more evenly.
Distribute the bread evenly in the muffin tins, giving them a light press into the pan to make sure they are touching enough to bake together. It's at this point you would want to add any add ins, like chocolate chips or nuts.
Separate egg yolks from whites and place the egg yolks in a bowl. There are plenty of uses for your whites, from eating them in a scramble or omelette, to whipping them up to add airiness to a baked dish.
Whisk your egg yolks until you have a smooth, creamy sauce. This is getting enough air into the yolks so that you will have an airy custard which will result in a french toast bite that's not a brick.
Next, add in your salt, sugar and spices and whisk until sugar is fully dissolved into the egg yolks. You do not want a grainy custard as it can yield inconsistent results in your final dish.
Slowly whisk in buttermilk until you have a custard that is a light cream color. Pour the custard into the muffin tins to about 3/4 of the way full. Give the bread 1 final light press to make sure all pieces are absorbing the liquid. The bread is like a sponge, so if there is no liquid absorbed, it will be a dry crouton instead of a french toast bite!
Bake in oven at 375 for about 20 minutes, until tops of bread are browned and the custard is mostly absorbed. You may see a little custard still in the cups, but as the bites cool, it will be reabsorbed. It should not be a lot and the bread should not be mushy! Return to oven if there is a lot of custard left.
Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, additional winter spice or syrup. If you're anything like me, you will add all 3!! Serve and enjoy.
French Toast Bites
- Author: Monique Manning
- Servings: 12
- Nutrition per serving: 169 calories, 7.5g fat, 24.3g net carbs, 2.7g protein
- 3/4 Gluten Free Brioche Loaf
- 4 egg yolks
- 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 2 generous tsp Winter spice (recipe follows)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
For Winter Spice
1. Combine 3 tablespoons ground cinnamon, 2 tablespoons ground ginger, 2 teaspoons fresh ground nutmeg, 2 teaspoons of toasted ground cardamom, 1 1/2 teaspoons of toasted ground cloves, 1 1/2 teaspoons toasted ground allspice and 1 teaspoon of toasted cracked black pepper in a spice jar. Mix to combine and use as needed.
For French Toast
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and place rack in middle of oven. Butter or spray a 12 cup muffin tin and set aside.
- Divide cubed brioche evenly in muffin cups, pressing gently to make sure they are in tight enough to bake into one piece.
- In a bowl, place 4 egg yolks and whisk until airy. Add in salt, sugar and winter spice and whisk until sugar is dissolved.
- Slowly stream in buttermilk while whisking and whisk until the custard is a light cream color.
- Pour custard into muffin cups to a little over 3/4 of the way full. Give the brioche one final press to make sure all pieces have absorbed liquid.
- Bake in oven for 20 minutes, turning pan halfway through baking.
- Remove from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Top with powdered sugar and/or maple syrup, if desired.