Monday, February 16, 2015

Cream Cheese French Toast with Strawberry Balsamic Syrup

I don't know about where you are, but here in north Mississippi it is a rainy, icy, cold, and downright dreary and nasty President's Day! We've been pretty lazy this weekend since our trip to Florida was scratched due to the weather and we didn't really have any other plans.

This morning it's been a Top Gear-watching, couch-lounging, and fire-enjoying kind of day. I have some vague sewing plans for later, but we'll see how it goes. The couch and the fire feel pretty nice right now!

This morning, though, I wanted to add a little brightness to our breakfast table instead of our normal cereal and milk to break up our Poe-esque gloom. The hubs and I always joke about people getting "French toast supplies" whenever bad weather is on the way (milk, eggs, and bread), but when I realized the French bread I bought off the quick-sell rack for our ratatouille last night was a little staler than I thought, it looked like we were making French toast of our own. (Not that I'm complaining because I LOVE French toast!)

I especially love how this recipe turned out because it isn't overly sweet. Though I enjoy a good French toast, I often avoid it in restaurants because for some reason they love to make it almost inedibly sweet. The acidity of the strawberries and balsamic vinegar balance out what sweetness there is perfectly, and other than the syrup, there is no added sugar to this recipe so you can enjoy it in all of its glory!

Cream Cheese French Toast with Strawberry Balsamic Syrup
Yields 2 servings of two slices each

For the French Toast:
  • 4 slices of French loaf 
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk (or cream)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 Tbsp cream cheese
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg

For the Syrup:
  • 1/2 pint strawberries, washed and cut (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar (I used dark, but light will work too)
  • 3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of salt

First, whisk together the milk, egg, and vanilla. Place the slices of bread in a 13x9 pan and smother them in the egg-milk mixture. 

Let these soak for a good 10 minutes or more, flipping after  minutes or so to make sure the bread is evenly saturated. 
While the bread is soaking up its goodness, time to make the other goodness! Dump all of the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. 

Side Note: Hubs doesn't really care for strawberries, so this is only enough for one person. Your pot should be a little fuller. (I did let him try a bite, though, and I think he was a little jealous!)

Stir until the sugar melts, then bring to a simmer until the syrup thickens, about 5 minutes. Once it's thick, set aside to cool. 

While the syrup thickens, transfer your bread to an electric griddle preheated 350-degrees or a large skillet on medium heat. Cook for 3 minutes on both sides, until brown, golden, and crispy. 

Now for the French toast sandwich! Take one slice of toast and slather it with half of the cream cheese (or more if you're feeling crazy!). 

Place another slice on top, then drizzle with the strawberry-syrup mixture. Dust with a little powdered sugar if you so desire. 

Stay warm, stay dry, and enjoy! 

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