Despite being an oncology nurse, volunteer and mother of two, my mom was also the primary cook in our household. My dad traveled a lot for work, so it was often just my mom, brother and I around the dinner table. I don’t know how she juggled it all—when Dave works late I struggle to heat up a bowl of soup.
Looking back I realize she relied on easy standards in the kitchen that would cook quickly and still taste great, like pasta with veggies and stir fry. But on the occasion that not much was in the fridge and she had two hungry kids staring her down, we were treated to breakfast for dinner.
French toast became one of my ultimate comfort foods. Because we noshed on it rarely as a treat, it still brings back those vacation-y, snow day sort of feelings for me. Normally I make it as my mom did: eggs, milk, and a few spices. But around the holidays I like to give it a festive feel by adding eggnog to the batter.
The type of bread you use will really determine the flavor of the French toast. Sandwich breads and Texas toast (pictured) will yield softer, more tender slices, as well as retain more of the flavor of the batter. Harder breads (crusty loaves of French and sourdough) will not soak up as much batter and you’ll often taste more of the bread than the batter. But it’s all a matter of preference.
What I like most about French toast, and what my mom knew early on, is that it’s a quick, comforting meal. In a matter of minutes you can have a satisfying breakfast (or dinner) on the table for the whole family. This recipe in particular is great for holiday crowds and is a fast way to feed the hungry masses Christmas morning.
A little butter and syrup on top is all I require, but to give kids a little extra protein you can top with a smear of peanut butter or a dollop of vanilla yogurt. For the adults you could even spike the batter with a little bourbon or rum for an extra special treat.
Try it this weekend for breakfast, dinner, or anytime in between. Your hungry (and impatient) family will thank you.
Eggnog French Toast
If you soak your bread quickly, you may be able to eek out a few more slices from the batter. For maximum eggnog flavor, allow bread to soak slightly longer. Serves 2-4.
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup eggnog
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 slices sandwich bread
- butter, for frying
Beat together the eggs, eggnog, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla extract in a medium-sized shallow bowl. Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a frying pan just above medium heat. Quickly soak both sides of each slice of bread in the egg mixture and place in the frying pan (don’t crowd the pan—cook in batches if need be, adding more butter in between). Cook for a few minutes on each side, until lightly golden brown. Serve immediately topped with butter and maple syrup if desired.