Written by Trina Davis

I have to say my favorite meal to serve when entertaining is Sunday brunch.  In our household we love sleeping in (or in my case, I fight like hell to stay in bed until 9 am even when the kid wakes up at 7:30 am).  So in most cases, I like to lazily get up, turn on the coffee maker and listen to some tunes to start my weekend…these days it’s Lovely Day by Bill Withers.  Makes my soul so happy and gets me dancing throughout the kitchen.  I also love to invite company over to share this meal with.  Guests don’t need to stress about dressing up for this affair, I ask them to bring some juice or fruit.  The food options to serve at this occasion are always limitless.  Add a good cup of Joe along with pitchers of bloody Marys and Mimosas and everyone is in a good mood.  I let the kids go nuts and play with their friends, even if that means turning the living room couch into a fort or obstacle course.  Why not, it is SUNDAY FUNDAY!!   Everyone is happy!!  Parents are relieved that this is not their house, and just grateful to find time to catch up with friends while sipping some strong juice. Win Win!!

I can tell you I have done so many variations of brunch meals.  I however don’t mess with food such as donuts, bagels and fresh bread.  I’m not a baker and even if I was, it will never be better than buying from our local bakeries.  I give respect where respect is deserved.  I dream of making an amazing donut since that is one of my husband’s favorite foods, but for now, The Donut Man in Glendora, CA has his donut heart. I am not going to even try to break up that relationship! 😉

Brunch to me is the most casual of all meals.  If you are feeling really lazy, serve it all on paper plates and make clean up even easier.  I usually never stress much about brunch.  The hardest part to me is getting up early enough to get started.  I am ready to sacrifice some beauty sleep in order to feed others.  I should be a saint!  Oh wait, this is just part of being a mom on a normal basis.  Um…ok then.  I’m awake, now lets see what is on the menu. 

Today I’m going to share with you one of my favorite meals to make.  French toast!! Who doesn’t LOVE French toast??  I have vivid memories of having French toast as a little girl, but in the most simplest form.  Bread soaked in egg/milk mixture, fried to a golden brown in butter and sprinkled with sugar.  Oh how it made me do the happy dance!!  How can something so basic and rustic bring such joy to your taste buds?  I’m now all grown up(or at least that’s what society tells me), and I still crave this meal.  I however have decided to take up a notch and add my own fun twist to it. It still makes my inner child happy while pleasing the adult in me! After all I still want my applause from the crowd when I walk into the dining room holding a platter of this in my hands.  “Wow she must have spent so much time on this.  Those look amazing”.  I just knod yes and smile!  Shhhhh!!!

Remember my rules: Keep it simple and don’t stress!!  Use as much salt and pepper as your taste buds require, be generous with your oil and use aluminum sheets on your baking sheets to make clean up easy.  Turn on some music, make yourself a mimosa and get to cooking.  Be creative, have fun and add your own favorite ingredients to the French toast.  Or, just follow mine and your tummy will still be happy! 🙂

Brioche French Toast 7 Ways

The best part about this meal is that once you make the French toast, you can top it with anything your heart desires.  The toppings are endless.  Some ingredients I would do if I was adding more options would be crushed cookies, peanut butter glaze (peanut butter, confectioner’s sugar and some milk), raspberries, marshmallow fluff, white chocolate, shredded sweet coconut etc.  The options and the combinations are limitless, but this time around I made 7 different combinations.  

Let me tell you they were all delicious!!  My son said his favorite was strawberries and chocolate. Good choice kid, good choice!  Simple, classic and will never go out of style.  There will always be a takers for this option. 

Ingredients for French toast

A loaf of Brioche sliced into 1 inch slices and then cut in half.

5 eggs

2 cups milk

1-tablespoon vanilla extract

1-teaspoon ground cinnamon

4-tablespoon butter

Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray it with a cooking spray.  Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla extract and cinnamon until well combined.  Pour the egg mixture into a large shallow dish.  Now place the slices of bread side-by-side in the shallow dish and let the bread start absorbing the egg mixture.  If all the slices do not fit, you may need to do this in batches.  Flip the slices over after about 3 to 5 minutes.  Make sure the slices are all coated and there is no dry patches. While the second side is absorbing the liquid, turn the stove on to medium-high.   If you have a griddle, this is the perfect time to use it, if not, a large pan will do.  You will be able to make a lot of the French toast at one time.  Melt a tablespoon of butter and make sure the entire griddle is coated.  Start transferring the bread on to the griddle.  I usually need to make these in two batches when using an entire loaf.  Check the bottom side of the bread in about 2 – 3 minutes.  Flip it over once bottom side of the bread is golden brown.  Brown the other side to a golden color as well.  Once each slice is ready, transfer each slice on to the baking sheet and keep it in the oven so it stays warm.  Repeat this process until you are done with the entire loaf (ok maybe not the ends, sorry ends but you get no love from me).  Keep the French toast in the oven until the toppings are ready.

Ingredients for topping

This is what takes this simple and common brunch item and takes it to the next WOW level.  Remember use whatever you have.  This is what I had on hand this time around.  If you don’t have all these ingredients in hand, try using some of the other ingredients I suggested above.   

1-cup blueberries/strawberries

Your choice of Chocolate spread

1-tablespoon cream cheese

1-tablespoon mascarpone cheese

1 teaspoon raspberry jam

1 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon lemon juice

4-tablespoon confectioner’s sugar

3 tablespoon hazelnuts toasted and chopped

1 ripe banana sliced

1-tablespoon peanut butter

Honey

A few tablespoons cream or milk

 

Blueberry with Lemony Mascarpone

Mix 1-tablespoon mascarpone with 2-tablespoon confectioner’s sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1-tablespoon milk until it forms a glaze.  Spread some of glaze on top of French toast, line the blueberries in a row and sprinkle some of the lemon zest.

 

Raspberry Cream Cheese

Mix 1 tablespoon cream cheese with 2-tablespoon confectioner’s sugar and 1-tablespoon milk until it forms a glaze.  Spread some of glaze on top of French toast and spread a dollop of raspberry jam on top.

 

Strawberry Cream Cheese

Spread some of the cream cheese mixture (see previous) on top of the French toast and then layer sliced sweet strawberries on top.  Sprinkle some of the glaze on top of the strawberries as well.

 

Strawberry and Chocolate

Spread your favorite chocolate spread on top of the French toast and layer sweet strawberries on top.

 

Chocolate and Hazelnuts

Spread chocolate spread on top of the French toast and sprinkle with chopped hazelnuts.

 

Chocolate and Banana with Hazelnuts

Spread chocolate spread and layer with sliced bananas and sprinkle with hazelnuts

 

Peanut Butter with Banana and Honey

Spread peanut butter and layer with sliced banana and drizzle with honey

The hardest part about this is making the French toast.  The rest is just pure fun.  Don’t stress out about it.  The trick is to add various colors, flavors, combinations and variety.  Once you lay them on a few large white platters, you will then see what a beautiful presentation it can be and I promise your guests will go nuts.  The kids LOVE this!!  Since the slices are cut in half, it allows everyone to try a few different options.  This dish taste great at room temperature so you no need to worry about food getting cold.  Serve with a side of crisp bacon and scrambled eggs and you have the perfect Sunday Brunch. 

Now don’t ask me about clean up tips.  I got none. Ha!  The kitchen might be a mess, the kids might have destroyed the house and I might be on my 5th mimosa to contemplate a clean up plan.  That is when I look at my husband with sweet puppy dog eyes and he is a trooper who is a huge help in cleaning up. In the end, what matters is that everyone had a good time and I would do it over and over and over again.  It is where I am the happiest! It is a beautiful thing!

All right you lovely people, enjoy March and everything it has to offer.  Especially when it comes to tasty delights.  I’m so excited to see sprinkles of spring in the air.  Stop by next month to see what delicious delights you might find in Trina’s Tummy.  Happy Brunching!! xo

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