French toast is arguably one of our most indulgent breakfast dishes. It can be served with butter, maple syrup, powdered sugar, fruit compote … the combinations are endless! How to make French Toast is fairly simple, too, which only helps its popularity. It’s so popular, in fact, that it even gets its own day on the calendar! National French Toast Day takes place each year on November 28.
Did you know that French toast is actually not from France, as its name suggests? There are a few beliefs of where it originated. The earliest mention of how to make French Toast comes from 4th-century Rome. This style of cooking was termed “Pan Dulcis:” Romans would soak stale bread in milk and then fry it in butter or oil. There is another story that it was created in the 18th century by a New York innkeeper named Joseph French.
There is no proof that either of these are historically accurate. In fact, there are also myths that French toast has been known as “Spanish toast,” “gypsy toast,” and “German toast.” What does remain constant in these stories is the fact that food was not wasted as it often is today. People were resourceful with all they had, turning stale bread into an indulgent meal that continues to be enjoyed today.
The debate over where it originated may never be solved, and perhaps neither will be the debate on how to serve it. How to make French Toast can start with thick slices of sour dough bread, brioche or thinner slices of white bread. Maybe you like your French toast with chocolate chips that slowly melt and mix in with the sweet maple syrup? Or, perhaps, you like to keep it simple with sliced strawberries, bananas and powdered sugar. There’s really no “wrong way” to do it!
To celebrate this National French Toast Day, we are sharing a crowd pleaser recipe from one of the best when it comes to entertaining – Martha Stewart! Bon Appetite!
Martha’s French Toast
6 large eggs
2 1/2 tablespoons orange-flavored liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
1 tablespoon sanding sugar, plus more for serving
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated orange zest plus 2 tablespoons juice
1 1/4 cups whole milk
6 tablespoons sunflower oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for serving
1 loaf brioche (20 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch slices
Pure maple syrup, for serving
In a large shallow dish, beat eggs with a fork. Beat in liqueur, sugar, large pinch of salt, and orange zest and juice. Add milk and beat until combined.
In a large heavy skillet, heat 4 tablespoons oil and 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high until sizzling. Gently dip brioche, one slice at a time, into egg mixture to coat and add to skillet (do not crowd pan).
In batches, cook until golden brown on both sides, 5 minutes per batch, flipping once. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined wire rack. Repeat with remaining brioche, adding remaining oil and butter as needed. (Reduce heat if brioche is browning too quickly.)
Serve with butter and sugar or maple syrup.