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Food
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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Creamy Vanilla French Toast

This is very rich and wonderful piping hot, but reheats well in the microwave for about 45 seconds under a covering of paper towels. Vanilla or almond extract -- it's a toss-up because they're both yummy, but almond gets our vote.

8 eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (we used almond extract)
8 thick slices good-quality white homestyle bread, cut in half on the diagonal, see tester's note
4 tablespoons unsalted butter (plus extra as needed)
Confectioners' sugar for dusting
Jam or pure maple syrup

Tester's note: We used a loaf of Texas Toast, available at most supermarkets. It's firm yet tender, cut thick and absorbs the egg mixture evenly; it's also easily handled once sodden. If the bread is too soft, it might tear or fall apart.

In a large, shallow bowl, using a fork, beat the eggs until light and frothy. Stir in the cream and extract.

Place the bread pieces in the bowl a few at a time. Turn gently until they evenly soak up the egg mixture. Repeat until all the egg mixture is gone. (We managed to add a few bread slices before we ran out of egg mixture.)

In a large frying pan or griddle over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add as many bread pieces as you can without overcrowding and fry until the undersides are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Cut 1 tablespoon of the butter into several pieces and add to the pan, distributing evenly, then flip the bread with a spatula and fry until the second sides are browned, about 2 minutes longer. (Gently press the bread pieces with the spatula; if raw egg mixture oozes out, give them a little more time.) Repeat until all the bread is fried.

Transfer bread pieces to warmed individual plates or a platter. Just before serving, use a fine-mesh sieve to lightly dust the tops with confectioners' sugar. Serve with jam or maple syrup. Makes 16 to 24 pieces.

Adapted from "Breakfasts & Brunches" from the Williams-Sonoma Kitchen Library

Thursday, May 04, 2000



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