It's rare that the reality of your expectations exceeds your expectations but sometimes dreams do come true. Pretty heavy stuff for a Friday, huh?!! Don't worry, I'm not going to get all existential on you, but I am going to go gaga in raving not only about my recent visit to Huckleberry in Santa Monica but also about Zoe Nathan's cookbook by the same name. Let's just say that no matter what you order or bake at home, you absolutely can't go wrong and folks, those are not just some pretty words! Every muffin, bread, pastry, beverage that's connected to Huckleberry is dreamy--almost too good to be true--including this easy but divine spin on ordinary french toast and for that, let's just say that Huckleberry=Famous Fridays. Yum!!
I was first introduced to the Huckleberry cookbook a few months ago and it only took a few minutes of thumbing through it for me to fall in love! It's filled with the most amazing, homey recipes for simple cakes, muffins, breads, pastries, cereals and gorgeous pictures accompanying them. I've already shared these Cran-Bran Muffins with you and have made several other treats that I promise to share soon (and I know I'll be making more!!). On our recent trip to LA we made it not once, but twice to the bakery/cafe and we were just blown away. Everything we ordered from the Chocolate Chocolate Teacake to the Blueberry tarts that had some of the flakiest pastry dough I've ever eaten to the Multigrain bread topped with homemade strawberry jam was mindbogglingly memorable and it goes without saying that if you're ever nearby, you MUST make a pitstop there (although just a heads-up--it is kind of expensive). If my bakery-owning fantasy ever comes true, this is just the way I'd like it to be!!
Narrowing down what to choose to highlight for a Famous Fridays post from the book was difficult until I saw this Vanilla French Toast topped with a sweet/tart brown sugar cranberry sauce because A) my husband LOVES french toast and I don't make it that often (poor guy) and B) I still have about 4 bags of frozen cranberries leftover from my Thanksgiving binge and time is ticking away!
Seriously, this is french toast perfection guys and this comes from someone who doesn't generally give a hoot about fried, egg-dipped bread. Partly it's the softness of the brioche which I highly recommend using over ordinary white bread and partly it's the slightly tart/slightly sweet cranberry sauce keeping the dish from becoming too sweet, that makes all the difference.
Plus, the fact that it is super easy to make and looks so perfectly put together!!
Each bite is full of the magic of caramelized tender brioche covered in a syrupy cranberry sauce with hints of orange. If you're looking for a special brunch offering that'll knock their socks off but not leave you feeling knocked out, this is the one.
Pick up a copy of Huckleberry and cook up something fantastic this weekend--I promise that you won't be disappointed. Now, if only I had a kitchen...have a good one, everyone!
Huckleberry's Vanilla French Toast with Brown Sugar-Cranberry Sauce-Famous Fridays
Makes 4 servings
Prep Time: 15-20 minutes
For the sauce
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
- The peel of one orange, cut into 4 strips
- 2 cups frozen (not thawed) or fresh cranberries
For the French Toast
- 6 large eggs
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 loaf brioche (or challah) cut into 1 inch thick slices
1. To make the sauce: Place the brown sugar, water and salt in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring to a boil, letting it cook for about 2 minutes or so. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream, butter and orange peel. Then return to the heat and cook for 1 more minute. Add in the cranberries, stir and set aside or keep warm over a very, very low light.
2. To make the French toast: Place the eggs, cream, sugar, vanilla and salt in a large bowl and whisk together well. Soak the sliced bread in the custard for a minute or two, until the bread is soaked through but not falling apart.
3. Meanwhile, preheat a large skillet over medium heat and spray lightly with non-stick cookign spray. Remove two or three slices of the bread from the bowl, drain and add to the hot pan. (You will definitely have to cook these in batches.) Cook the french toast until nicely browned on both sides. Transfer to a plate and immediately ladle out a few large spoonfuls of the sauce over the top. Serve right away.
4. If you have any leftover sauce, transfer it to an airtight container and keep chilled for a few days. Reheat before serving.
Note: Recipe adapted from Huckleberry by Zoe Nathan.