Stuffed French Toast
- 6(1-inch) slices brioche or challahbread, preferably day-old
- 8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk, divided
- 3 tablespoons sugar, more to taste, divided
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
- 4 large eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or cardamom, optional
- 1 tablespoons butter, or more, for the pan
- Fresh berries or peaches, powdered sugar, maple syrup, additional butter, for optional garnish
1. Gather the ingredients.
2. Create a cavity for the filling in each piece of bread by laying one bread slice down on the cutting board and, using a butter knife or a paring knife, cut a horizontal slit into the bottom of the slice to create a pocket. Be careful not to cut all the way through to the top (and out the other side). Repeat with the remaining slices of bread.
3. In a medium bowl, stir or whisk together the softened cream cheese, 1 tablespoon milk, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Taste and add more sugar if desired.
4. Transfer the cream cheese mixture to a zip-close bag with the corner snipped or a reusable piping bag. Insert the tip of the bag into one of the slits in a slice of bread. Fill the bread with the cream cheese mixture the way you would fill a donut. Use a butter knife or small offset spatula to evenly distribute cream cheese inside and clean off the edge, as needed. Eyeball so that there is enough for each of the slices; repeat with remaining slices. Set aside.
5. Break the eggs into a wide, shallow bowl or pie plate and beat them lightly with a fork or whisk. Whisk in the remaining milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Add the cinnamon or cardamom, if using, into the custard.
6. Coat a non-stick skillet or griddle with a thin layer of some of the butter. Place it over medium-low heat until the butter begins to foam and sizzle.
7. Place the bread slices, one at a time, into the bowl or plate. Let the bread soak up the egg mixture for a few seconds and then carefully turn to coat the other side. Place soaked bread slices directly into the waiting pan. (Depending on the size of the pan and your slices, you may have to work in batches, so coat only as many slices as you will be cooking at a time to prevent soggy French toast.)
8. Heat custard-dipped slices in the pan slowly until the bottom is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and brown the other side, another 2 to 3 minutes. Do not overcrowd the pan.
9. Transfer finished slices to a plate; repeat with remaining slices of French toast, adding more butter to the pan as needed, until all slices are cooked. Serve with toppings of your choice.