With the weekend languidly stretching ahead, brunch seems like a wonderful way to spend a leisurely morning and a delicious way to enjoy some of the fresh produce of the season, and a little chocolate.
FRENCH TOAST WITH STRAWBERRIES
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup milk or half and half
8 slices french bread
2 cups of fresh strawberries, hulls removed
yogurt, sour cream or whipped cream to serve
In a shallow dish, beat eggs with sugar, cinnamon and milk. Dip bread slices in batter, coating well on both sides.
Lightly coat a large frying pan with cooking spray and place over medium heat. Add bread slices and cook until brown, turn and brown remaining side.
For each serving, arrange 2 pieces of French toast on a warm plate so that they slightly overlap. Arrange strawberries over toast and serve with yogurt, sour cream or whipped cream.
Recipe adapted from the Arkansas Democrat Gazette, May 2004
PEACH FRENCH TOAST
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 tablespoons water
1 (29 ounce) can of sliced peaches, drained (you can substitute fresh ripe peaches)
12 slices of day-old french bread
1/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
ground cinnamon to taste
In a saucepan, stir together the brown sugar, butter and water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
Pour the brown sugar mixture into a 7 by 11 baking dish, and tilt the dish to cover the entire bottom. Place peaches in a layer over the sugar coating, then top with slices of French bread. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and vanilla. Slowly pour over the bread slices to coat evenly. Sprinkle cinnamon over the top. Cover and refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
Remove the dish from the refrigerator about 30 minutes before baking, to come to room temperature. Heat the oven to 350F.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown and the egg mixture is set.
Recipe adapted from All Recipes
CHOCOLATE FRENCH TOAST
1 loaf of day old French bread
1 cup chocolate chips
5 eggs, beaten
1 1/4 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Spray a 13 by 9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Cut the French bread into 6 slices, each 1 1/2 inches thick. Using a small, sharp knife, cut 2 inch long slits in one side of each bread slice, cutting 3/4 of the way through the bread, to create a pocket. Spoon 2 heaping tablespoons of chocolate chips into the pocket of each bread slice, press to close. Place filled slices into prepared baking pan. Whisk together eggs, milk, cinnamon, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Pour egg mixture evenly over bread, carefully turn pieces over, spooning mixture in pan over top of bread.
Cover pan and refrigerate several hours or overnight.
Heat oven to 400F. Bake, uncovered, 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Recipe adapted from The Morning News, January 2002