crispy cinnamon toast crunch french toast {sunday brunch}

What’s better than cinnamon swirl toast? cinnamon swirl french toast. This recipe was inspired by one of the many wonderful people I have met through this blog, Chloe from Every Craving. She is another teenage food blogger, and she takes beautiful photographs and has tons of unique, fun and delicious recipes on her blog such as Honey Nut Cheerio French Toast — which gave me the crazy idea to coat my french toast in Cinnamon Toast Crunch! 
I used the leftover half of my (already decadent) cinnamon swirl brioche, followed (my idol) Alton Brown’s world famous french toast recipe, and coated each of these thick buttery slices of brioche in crunched up cinnamon toast crunch cereal. 
The result was something out of this world. The toast had a crunchy, sweet, caramelized cinnamon crust, and a custard-y, eggy, soft interior. Cinnamon Toast Crunch Perfection in every bite. Nonetheless, this will definitely be one of my new go-to brunch recipes.
What’s your favorite breakfast cereal? (who knows, maybe it would make some killer french toast.)

With love,
Erica

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup, warmed in microwave for 20 seconds
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • cereal (such as cinnamon toast crunch or cinnamon chex)
  • 8 (1/2-inch) slices day-old or stale country loaf, brioche or challah bread
  • 4 tablespoons butter

Directions

In medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the milk , eggs, honey, and salt. You may do this the night before. When ready to cook, pour custard mixture into a pie pan and set aside.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Dip bread into mixture, allow to soak for 30 seconds on each side, and then remove to a cooling rack that is sitting in a sheet pan, and allow to sit for 1 to 2 minutes.
Over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a 10-inch nonstick saute pan. Place 2 slices of bread at a time into the pan and cook until golden brown, approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and place on rack in oven for 5 minutes. Repeat with all 8 slices. Serve immediately with maple syrup, whipped cream or fruit.

Adapted from Alton Brown’s French Toast

cinnamon toast

I have always loved Cinnamon Toast Crunch and never fail to “crave those crazy squares”. However, I’ve always wondered what exactly that little baker named Chef Wendell was really baking up in his jolly little bakery. Well I found out for myself. I baked my own cinnamon toast.

I love any excuse to fill my house with the spicy, warm aroma of cinnamon sugar (cinnamon sugar croissants, quick cinnamon buns, churro cupcakes… you get the idea). Nonetheless, this bread was a surefire winner. Sweet, but not too sweet, with a soft melt-in-your mouth texture, and a golden crunchy, cinnamon sugar crust — with beautiful, sweet cinnamon swirls running all throughout. Chef Wendell would be proud. It reminded me of one of my favorites from Panera Bread — their famous cinnamon crunch bagel.

I used the brioche dough recipe from one of my all-time favorite books,  Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. What is so amazing about this recipe is that the dough is surprisingly easy to make, stores for a week in the fridge, and is extremely versatile. I still have about half the dough happily sitting in the fridge, which I plan to bake into something else (maybe cinnamon buns or brioche a tete?).

This morning, my dad fried a few slices up into some delicious cinnamon swirl french toast. This loaf makes out-of-this-world french toast because the cinnamon sugar melts and caramelizes in the cooking process. I make the bread, dad makes the french toast, let’s just say we are a killer team.

What’s your favorite way to use leftover bread?
With love,
Erica

Brioche dough (makes about 4 loaves)

  • 1 1/2 cups lukewarm water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 8 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 7 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

Mix the yeast, salt, eggs honey and melted butter with the water in a 5-quart bowl, or lidded (not airtight) food container. I used my stand mixer.
Mix in the flour until entirely incorporated
Cover (not airtight), and allow to sit at room temperature for about two hours.
The dough can be used as soon as it is chilled. This dough is way too sticky to use before being chilled.
Place the dough in a lidded container and pop in the fridge.

Cinnamon Swirl:

  • 2 pounds of Brioche dough
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • egg wash (one egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water)

Start with 2 pounds of brioche dough . Form it into a ball to create a smooth surface.
Roll the dough with a rolling pin until it is 1/8 inch thick.
Combine the sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Spread 1/2 of the cinnamon sugar over the surface of the dough.

Starting at the long end of the rectangle roll the dough, pinch the seam shut.

Place in a well greased non-stick Loaf Pan. Allow to rest for about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Paint the risen dough with egg wash dust with remaining cinnamon sugar before baking.
Bake for about 45-50 minutes or until golden brown. Allow to cool for about 5 minutes in the pan and then remove the bread to finish cooling.