When you’re a college student in DC, the presidential inauguration is a big deal. On Monday, many of my friends rolled out of bed at 3 a.m. in order to get to the Metro when it opened at 4 a.m. By the time President Obama arrived at the Capitol, they had already been waiting for hours in the cold. I wasn’t wild about the idea of standing in 30 degree weather for hours and hours, so instead a couple of my friends and I headed down to the Inaugural Parade that morning – we had tickets – and managed to get great seats right across from the White House and the Presidential viewing stand!
More importantly, we were conveniently located near a couple of food trucks and we arrived early enough to beat the lines. I had a delicious brunch of chili con carne and cornbread. One food truck – CrepeLove – even had commemorative Obama chocolates!
Oh, and we saw President Obama.
Needless to say, many of my friends didn’t have breakfast before leaving to see the President – who’s hungry when you wake up at that time of night? So when we returned home, I whipped up a proper breakfast: a batch of cinnamon-y French toast for my tired and hungry friends, a delicious end to a great day. Inauguration day only comes around once every four years, but you can enjoy this French toast any day.
Cinnamon Roll French Toast
1/2 loaf Challah bread (approx. 6 thick slices)
2 cups whole milk
1/2 T cinnamon
1 T dark brown sugar
1 T granulated sugar
2 T honey, plus more for drizzling
1 t pure vanilla extract
2 T unsalted butter
Powdered sugar (optional)
1/2 pint strawberries (optional)
Note: Your Challah should be very stale as this is a thin batter. Leave sliced Challah out for no less than a day.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Whisk together eggs, milk, honey and vanilla. Mix cinnamon, brown sugar and granulated sugar in a separate bowl and add to milk mixture.
Pour batter into a large rectangular pan.
Place slices into pan one at a time. Soak each slice of Challah for 20 seconds on each side. Set Challah slices on a paper towel-covered cookie sheet.
Melt 1 tablespoon butter in a large frying pan over medium heat.
Place 2 or 3 slices of Challah into the pan and cook for approximately 2-3 minutes on each side, or until golden brown. Place slices on a cookie sheet and set aside.
Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in pan and cook remaining slices. Place on cookie sheet.
Place cookie sheet on middle rack in oven for 7-10 minutes. The French toast should be crisp on the outside and soft on the inside, but not soggy.
Coarsely chop 1/2 pint strawberries. Top French toast with powdered sugar, berries and a drizzle of honey or a dollop of cinnamon whipped cream (see recipe below).
Cinnamon Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 T cinnamon
2 t pure vanilla extract
Note: I always whip cream by hand because I believe it allows me to achieve a more precise texture. Feel free to use a mixer instead.
Pour heavy cream into a medium bowl. Add powdered sugar, cinnamon and vanilla and whisk vigorously until soft peaks form.