French toast with an orange twist

Maybe because I'm more of a morning person, I really love the first meal of the day.  On weekdays, my routine is usually a ham and egg sandwich or toasted English muffin with peanut butter, alongside a homemade mocha frap.  On weekends, it's nice to set the table (the little one does that, actually) and start the day lingering over breakfast.  The boys often enjoy a little something sweet.  Pancakes, in some form, are regularly on the menu and sometimes there's French toast.
I once heard someone, somewhere, say that the "secret ingredient" to everything is booze.  I don't drink a lot but I'm starting to think that's a very true statement.  Take this French toast.  Regular French toast is delicious as it is but add an element of citrus with not only fresh orange zest and juice but also some orange liqueur and you've got something special.
Of course, the little guy enjoyed his French toast minus the liqueur but I have to say it adds a nice punch here for the grownups.  The trick is not to overdo it because I find it can be bitter if used too generously.  

This orange French toast was part of the "baking bonus" segment of Martha Bakes that I watched recently.  I took the essential idea of adding the orange flavors but leaned on the lighter Cooking Light recipe that I'm partial to.  I use low-fat milk (and not too much because I like the flavor of the eggs to come through), just a touch of sugar, and bakery-style white bread, as opposed to richer brioche.
It was tasty...very tasty.  You know the magic orange zest imparts on baked goods and it does that to this French toast.  The orange liqueur heightens the flavor and the whole thing is refreshing and sweet - a lovely breakfast and good start to a weekend morning.  I love the sunny golden hue of French toast, particularly brightened here by the burst of orange.  

I'm all for the classics and occasionally trying different spins on them to keep things interesting.  It's not only fun to eat but keeps cooking interesting, I think.  This French toast is a good example.  It's something very familiar yet a little special for your weekend breakfast.

I tend to go a little crazy with orange zest but you don't need a ton since you don't want clumps of zest potentially clinging to your bread.  Fresh zest, a little juice from the orange, and splash of Grand Marnier give the bread a wonderful orange flavor.  I still like to add a teeny bit of vanilla extract since I don't use much sugar in the custard and because the natural sweetness of vanilla goes so well with everything.


Recipe:

French Toast with an Orange Twist
Adapted from Martha Stewart and this recipe

- For 2, or 1 very hungry person (it's a good idea to double the recipe, particularly as the amount of custard you need will depend on the size/type of bread you use) - 

2 large (or extra-large) eggs
3 tablespoons low-fat milk (I used 1%)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Pinch of salt
2 teaspoons orange liqueur, such as Grand Marnier
1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1 tablespoon freshly squeeze orange juice
2 slices bakery-style thick white bread (or any bread you prefer)
Canola oil, for cooking
Powdered sugar, for dusting (optional)
Maple syrup, for serving

Crack eggs into a shallow rimmed plate.  Lightly beat the eggs with a fork and gently beat in the milk. Beat in the sugar, salt, orange liqueur, vanilla extract, orange zest and juice.

Heat a couple of teaspoons of canola oil in a non-stick skillet over medium-heat.  Dip each slice of bread into the custard, turning and making sure it's thoroughly coated.  Gently place soaked bread into the hot skillet and cook, about 2 minutes on each side, until French toast is golden brown.

Dust with powdered sugar, if desired.  Serve immediately with maple syrup.



42 comments:

  1. Gosh, I'd love to wake up to this grown up version of French toast! This orange flavoured breakfast would have been perfect this morning on such a grey, damp, miserable day. Instant sunshine, lovely! Have a great weekend Monica!

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    1. I love orange zest in so many things. The color is nice and bright and a bonus here, I agree, Jo! Have a lovely weekend!

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  2. I really want to start a tradition of us having a slow breakfast on Sundays...something a little more indulgent! I haven't eaten French toast in ages, but I was planning on making brioche this weekend, so....

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    1. Oh, I suspect it will be hard to resist French toast if there is homemade brioche in your house...don't resist too hard! : ) And a while back, I decided to "make" slow Sunday breakfast a tradition, too...you'll be amazed at how quickly it becomes a natural routine! : )

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  3. I love having a nice relaxing breakfast on weekends too - especially since it's usually so rushed during the week! I need to try this next time I make french toast - the orange zest alone won me over but with the orange liquor? Oh I bet that's wonderful together!

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    1. It's so nice to stay in and have a long breakfast and linger over the table. My son wants to dash off when he's finished eating but that gives my husband and I a chance to chat in peace too...haha

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  4. For me too...breakfast is a favorite meal of the day. Especially on the weekends. Your orange toast looks just perfect to start your day right! :) ela

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    1. I do love a good breakfast...I also like lunch and dinner...especially dinner... ; )

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  5. I am the one who needs two breakfast :-)) This is a great one to kick start the day!

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    1. If two breakfasts works for you, I'm in! : )

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  6. I'm not a big breakfast person, even as a youngster my mom had issues with me. These days I try very hard to eat on time, but it never works. I also prefer salty/savoury breakfast to sewer, but I do like waffles and French toast. I also adore citrus, so this combo is perfect for me!

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    1. Ok, I don't prefer sewer at all, I typed sweeter....stupid autocorrect!

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    2. haha - autocorrect has "corrected" far worse for me! I hear you. I generally much prefer savory over sweet for breakfast (with a few exceptions, of course) but I do love making everything and it's nice to have options. My son likes anything with maple syrup (and bacon). : )

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  7. Oh, anything with Grand Marnier is instantly better!

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  8. this french toast is excellent! i am not a morning person myself but would wake up earlier to eat this yummy looking toast! :)

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    1. My husband isn't much of a morning person either but we lure him awake with the promise of breakfast on the weekends. He's a very good sport. Have a great week!

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  9. Girl, I am craving french toast now. I had a idea for dinner but now I just want this!

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    1. haha - that's what we blogs do to each other. I saw your blueberry donuts and I really wish I had some blueberries on hand!!

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  10. If I could I would eat these every day. French toast is something I do make a lot on weekends. The orange sounds good in it. A great combo.

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    1. Weekend breakfasts are the best! Thanks, Asha!

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  11. I always look forward to nice and relaxing breakfasts too since I normally have boring oatmeal or granola most days. This french toast looks wonderful Monica - I love all the orange flavors in here and the liquer makes this extra special. Sounds like such a delightful breakfast :)

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    1. Can I tell you, Kelly...I am not-so-secretly hooked on oatmeal! Not boring at all to me but it's fun to shake it up (and to cook for others) so things are more interesting. Otherwise, I would eat the same things over and over. I get hooked on things for years at a time...

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  12. I love having leisurely breakfasts on the weekends. It's what I look forward to most. This French Toast is something I must try. I too find that a little liqueur can often be the magic ingredient.

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    1. Thanks, Christin. I also look forward to these meals, starting with breakfast, most on the weekends. I think I under-estimated the power of a little liqueur in the past. ; )

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  13. Yum! This French toast looks absolutely delicious, I love the idea of orange and of course the Grand Marnier will add a nice kick to it...this is something that I can see myself making on the weekend...
    Thanks for the recipe and hope you have a great week ahead :D

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    1. Thanks - I love anything with a hint of orange, too. : )

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  14. Booze is the secret ingredient to everything :) Funny because I use exclusively Grand Marnier for everything, it adds a wonderful touch, even to breakfast!

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    1. I laughed too...then I realized there's certainly some truth to it. : )

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  15. Omy this looks amazing! Booze is always the answer :) But really, this looks so so yum!!

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    1. haha - I know, it's funny... : ) It is really tasty if you like that sweet zing of orange. : )

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  16. Yay for boozy sweets! This looks like the kind of breakfast I'd love to wake up to ;) And I really like how you made it lighter yet still so so so good <3

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    1. I had been missing out on boozy sweets for too long. I'm correcting this. Thanks, Consuelo!

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  17. I love adding Grand Marnier to things and French toast is one of my favorite breakfasts! This is my kind of meal!

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    1. Grand Marnier is definitely one of my favorites as far as liqueurs go, Dawn. Thanks!

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  18. Love this... I think this french toast would get me out of bed on the earliest, darkest or coldest mornings - thats what I need!

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    1. I hear you! We are having some insanely cold and dark mornings ourselves.

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  19. you know, i guess i need to start, i don't know...boozing it up? with recipes, i mean. :) i almost never throw any booze into my baked goods, and if a recipe calls for it, i leave it out (small quantity) or sub in another liquid (larger quantities). this is not because i live in a prohibition fantasy world so much as our liquor cabinet is maintained by Mr. Table, and it's downstairs, and i'm lazy...so i never know what we have or think (duh) to go down and look for things when i'm mid-bake. I should...this sounds glorious. And i know we have Grand Marnier somewhere...

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    1. haha - I used to leave any kind of booze out too more as concern for my son and we just didn't keep it around. It's funny how once you start something, it's like there's no going back. : )

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  20. Between almond pasta and orange zest, I'm starting to think we're palate twins, Monica :) Everything you make always sounds so good to me, with all my favorite flavors! I haven't made french toast in a while because my husband, sadly, prefers waffles. looks like I'll have to make a batch just for me ;)

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    1. that was supposed to say almond *paste, although i bet almond pasta would be pretty tasty too ;)

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    2. I totally want some almond pasta now, Amy! : ) I hadn't made French toast in ages...but it's one of those things you make it once and remember how easy/good it is and start making more regularly. I love waffles too but I've resisted buying a waffle maker...how much longer can I hold off on that one...

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