I’ve had the pleasure of being home for the holidays for the past week or so, which means that my Dad and I have been cooking up a storm full of delightful holiday treats! This recipe was one of those delights, and it was the perfect addition to our holiday breakfast rotation. We used up a leftover baguette from dinner the night before, and got a perfectly festive breakfast for everyone the next morning.
French toast is one of my favorite breakfasts to make for a crowd – it’s warm, it’s custardy, and so comforting – all with very little effort. It’s the perfect way to power through a lot of bread that may be on its way out, in fact, stale-ish bread tends to work better here than perfectly fresh. I used a sliced baguette here in this recipe, but really, any bread would do! The only thing I would avoid here would be any focaccia or any breads with savory seasonings (oregano, rosemary, onions/garlic) or olives added – those flavors will really conflict with the cinnamon and nutmeg and it would not be tasty. Save these savory breads for maybe a strata or a savory take on French toast – totally delicious, just not what we’re going for in this recipe!
We actually used whole milk along with eggs in our base, and added plenty of festive flavors to the mix to bring out that holiday flair (cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange zest – definitely don’t skip the zest if you can help it!). However, if you have eggnog on hand that you want to use instead, absolutely go for it! Keep the rest of the recipe as is if making the swap, and it will come out extra delicious. That said, feel free to swap the whole milk for skim if you’re going for lower fat, or your favorite plant-based alternative for dairy free. It will all be good and tasty – the spices are really what makes this taste like eggnog, so any milk or milk-like base will totally work here.
This recipe made enough for 4 very hungry adults, so feel free to scale up or down based on how many people you’re needing to feed. This would probably feed up to 6 people if served with other breakfast/brunch sides as well, so keep that in mind when scaling up (we ate ours straight and it was plenty!). Serve with maple syrup for drizzling, a warm beverage for sipping, and any additional breakfast foods as desired!
Recipe down below, photos up top! Happy holidays, friends!
Eggnog French Toast
- 1 baguette, sliced into 1-inch pieces (ends removed)
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup whole milk or eggnog
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- Zest of 1 orange
- 2 tbsp butter, for cooking
- Slice the baguette into 1-inch slices, cutting lengthwise on a slight bias to maximize surface area of the slices.
- In a large bowl, combine eggs, whole milk (or eggnog), cinnamon, nutmeg, and orange zest. Use a whisk to fully combine all of the ingredients. These ingredients together will become your custard base.
- Add the sliced baguette to the bowl, and gently toss to make sure that every slice of baguette has been fully dipped and submerged in the custard base. Allow the bread to soak in the custard base for about 10 minutes before cooking.
- If the bowl that you are using is too small for all of the bread, try spreading the baguette slices onto a half sheet pan or into a casserole dish, then pouring the custard base over all of the bread. Dip any bread that didn’t get fully covered in excess custard to ensure full coverage, then allow to sit and soak for 10 minutes before proceeding.
- Once the baguette slices are soft and have absorbed the custard (there will be some custard leftover still, it won’t all absorb into the bread!), heat a griddle pan or large sauté pan on the stove over medium-low heat. Place the butter on the griddle, and use a spoon to move it around the whole griddle as it melts, creating a layer of melted butter on the surface of the pan. Add the soaked baguette slices in a single layer onto the griddle, and allow to cook on the first side until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Once the bottom side has browned slightly, flip the slices over and cook until the second side is also golden brown in color, about 3-5 more minutes.
- Remove the cooked French toast slices from the pan. If additional batches are needed, store the cooked French toast slices in the oven (set to 150-200F) to keep warm, and repeat Step 4 to cook the remaining French toast slices.
- Serve French toast hot, along with some maple syrup or your favorite French toast toppings. Enjoy!