Kick up a breakfast classic with an easy, crowd-friendly recipe for Challah French Toast topped with fresh fruit and warm maple syrup.
Nothing says “Merry Christmas!” in our house quite like a homemade brunch enjoyed on a living room floor covered with wrapping paper. And every year, my mom Noni comes up big with a menu of softly scrambled eggs with fresh chives, maple sausage, fruit salad and a carb of choice.
Most years, the designated carb is her famous pancakes, but this year, we’re switching it up and serving my new favorite spin on a breakfast classic: Challah French Toast!
We’ve covered French toast in countless forms around here, from Easy Cinnamon French Toast Sticks and Stuffed French Toast to Cinnamon French Toast Muffins and Overnight French Toast Bake. But now I’m returning to the good ol’ classic custard and buttery bread combo.
Thick-cut slices of Challah (or brioche!) are soaked in a vanilla custard mixture that’s given a citrusy kick courtesy of freshly grated orange zest. A few shakes of cinnamon rounds out one seriously stellar flavor profile fit for breakfast or brunch 365 days a year.
The bread is then pan-fried in melted butter until it’s golden brown and slightly crisped on the edges. Then all that’s left to do is pick your toppings of choice, from a simple drizzle of warm maple syrup or a spoonful or fresh fruit to a decadent addition of caramelized bananas or a shower of powdered sugar.
What’s your go-to breakfast carb of choice? Sound off in the comments below!
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- 1 cup whole milk
- 4 large eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- Unsalted butter, for cooking
- 8 (1-inch thick) slices Challah bread
- Maple syrup, for serving
- In a large shallow dish, whisk together the milk, eggs, vanilla extract, cinnamon, orange zest and light brown sugar.
- Place a large sauté pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter has melted, dip each slice of bread in the egg mixture, coating it on all sides and shaking off any excess, then place it in the pan.
- Cook the bread until golden, about 2 minutes, then flip it once and cook it an additional 1 to 2 minutes. Repeat the cooking process, adding more butter as needed, with the remaining slices of bread.
- Top the French toast with maple syrup and serve immediately.
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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not reprint this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.
Is there a trick to mixing the cinnamon in? It seems to sit on the surface every time I make this no matter what I try.
Hi Natalie! Here’s a tip: Whisk together the cinnamon with a little milk to form a wet paste. Then add the eggs, vanilla extract, orange zest, light brown sugar and the rest of the milk. Whisk until smooth.
My favorite recipe! I love the orange zest, it puts this French toast over the top, but I leave it out when making it for my family because they don’t care for that flavor. I like to top it with homemade whipped cream and berries and warm real maple syrup….AMAZING!
YESSSS! I’m so thrilled you’ve been enjoying the recipe, Jessica!
made this on a whim one morning with leftover challah. it was a huge hit with kids and adults alike. bookmarking this one- thanks!
I’m so thrilled your family enjoyed the recipe, Lara!
My first ever french toast and couldn’t be more delicious!
I’m thrilled you enjoyed the recipe!
I made this a couple of weeks ago. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since we had french toast. The citrus in it is pleasantly bright! My hubby and I thought it was amazing! I did let the bread sit for about 15 minutes each side so flavors could get in there. Today I’m making it with almond extract instead of vanilla. Yum!
I’m so thrilled you enjoyed the recipe, Ann!
I just made this and it was delicious. Such a great flavor! This will be my go-to recipe for French toast from now on.
Amazing! I’m so thrilled you enjoyed the recipe, Sharon!
This is the best French toast! My family loved it!
So glad to hear this!
Mouth watering recipes, will try them.
I hope you enjoy the recipe, Lescerina!