There’s this diner 15 minutes from my house – Country Pancake House and Restaurant – that specializes in huge. Obviously pancakes cause that’s in their name, and omelets too, but in general, they just specialize in huge. Everything on the menu is somehow super sized. The pancakes, even just the mediums, are enough for you to eat during breakfast and then stuff yourself snacking on the leftovers the rest of the day. The omelets, I swear, are made with a dozen eggs. The sausages aren’t those little tiny breakfast links. They’re SAUSAGES. One inch across, 5 inches long. Hearty.
I’d tell you it was all for show if the food itself wasn’t just plain delicious. But I swear it’s not for show. Yes it’s a lot of food, but it’s a lot of good food! And we love good food here! And they have this french toast. It’s made with challah bread that’s cut I kid you not 2 inches thick. And you get FOUR FREAKING PIECES. It’s topped with whatever you want, and obviously powdered sugar. And I love it.
I’m not going to begin to tell you that this french toast is as big the one from Country Pancake House, but I can promise you that it’s delicious (secretly, I think it’s even a bit more delicious but I’m biased). Seriously though, I like this Bagel French Toast so much that I had such a hard time choosing the pictures to post with it. See? It’s just simple, good food. But it’s special because it’s made from bagels rather than just plain white bread.
BAGEL FRENCH TOAST
(makes 4 servings + extra for snacking)
for the french toast:
2 plain bagels
1 cup milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter
fresh berries for garnishing
powdered sugar for garnishing
for the berry sauce:
1.5 cups mixed berries (I use a combo of strawberries + blackberries)
1/4 cup sugar
- Start by slicing the bagels. You want a balance of outside crust with inside dough. Cut 1/4 inch of the bagel crust off on side of the bagel. Working with long strips (pictured above), slice the bagels into 1/4 inch thick slices until you get to the center hole. You should get 4 slices. Do the same on the other side. 4 more slices. Then you’ll end up with two nubs – cut those into circles. The slices are for serving, the circles are for snacking. It’s a rule.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the milk, eggs, salt, cinnamon, vanilla extract and sugar. Whisk until combined. The egg whites have the tendency to not want to break apart so really work them until they do. Pour half the mixture into a shallow dish. Place one bagel’s worth of slices in the dish and toss to coat. Let it sit for 2-3 minutes to give it a chance to soak. If they don’t get a chance to soak, they’ll be tough and won’t have that creamy, chewy texture once it cooks. Remove them and repeat with the rest of the bagel and milk mixture.
- In the meantime, make the sauce. Combine the berries and sugar in a blender and puree, about 45 seconds. Pour in a serving dish and set aside.
- Heat 1/2 tablespoon oil and 1/2 tablespoon butter in a nonstick skillet until hot. Place 5-6 pieces of french toast in the pan. Move around slightly so they don’t stick to each other or to the pan. Then let them rest for 2-3 minutes or until they’re a nice, even golden brown. Flip and cook for 2 minutes more. Place on a plate covered with a clean kitchen towel to keep them warm. Repeat with the remaining oil, butter and soaked bagel slices.
- To serve, place 4 slices on a plate, top with fresh berries, berry sauce and powdered sugar. Serve, enjoy, and then snack on the left overs all day long.