Looking for a great Sunday brunch combination? Here’s one of my family’s favorites: Homemade French Toast & Coffee!

Homemade French Toast Recipe

This homemade French toast is delicious!

This homemade French toast is delicious!

We prefer French toast that is made with a French baguette (although you can use challah or brioche bread), but the secret is letting the sliced bread sit out overnight before soaking it in custard and pan-frying until golden. I also add a touch of cognac or brandy to the batter and my seasonal berries to make my recipe extra special.

Here’s the full recipe from the Food Network:

Ingredients

  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half or milk
  • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon good honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large loaf challah or brioche bread*
  • Unsalted butter
  • Vegetable oil

*Note: I substitute a French baguette that has sat out overnight

To serve:

  • Pure maple syrup
  • Good raspberry preserves (optional)
  • Sifted confectioners’ sugar (optional)

Directions

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, orange zest, vanilla, honey and salt. Slice the challah (or other bread) in 3/4-inch thick slices. Soak as many slices in the egg mixture as possible for 5 minutes, turning once.

Heat 1 Tablespoon butter and 1 Tablespoon oil in a very large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the soaked bread and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Place the cooked French toast on a sheet pan and keep it warm in the oven. Fry the remaining soaked bread slices, adding butter and oil as needed, until it’s all cooked. Serve hot with warm maple syrup, raspberry preserves, and/or confectioners’ sugar.

Chef’s Notes:

  1. You can really use almost any bread you like. I would recommend an artisan-style bread as suggested in the recipe. We’ve made this recipe using brioche as well as challah bread, but our favorite is just a simple baguette. The cost savings is significant, as you can often purchase a baguette for less than $2.00.
  2. Whether you use a French baguette, challah bread or something else, be sure to dry out it out overnight for best results, making it “day-old bread.”
  3. I heat my syrup as well as the plates before serving. Cold French toast just won’t do!

Download and print the recipe here.

Making Coffee with a Moka Pot

What do you like with your morning coffee?

What do you like with your morning coffee?

A good cup of coffee is a must whether you’re enjoying a special Sunday brunch or today is just a regular weekday morning. At my house, we’ve been a big fan of the coffee press for several years now. A few years ago we graduated to a ‘moka pot,’ the European answer to brewed espresso at home. We tried it at a friend’s house and became hooked. We’ve learned it’s not enough to have great coffee beans – you also need the right equipment. America’s Test Kitchen has a very informative review if you’re interested. Unfortunately, you need to be a member to see the entire review, but you may want to consider membership as we’ve found their information invaluable at our house.

If the coffee is too strong straight from a moka pot, here’s how to make it an Americano:

  1. Grind enough espresso beans for 1 1/2 Tbsp. of espresso grounds. Espresso is traditionally ground very finely, more so than drip coffee.
  2. Make sure your espresso machine has enough water to create steam for the coffee.
  3. Begin heating a pot of water on a stove or in an electric kettle, if your espresso machine does not have an attachment that lets you pour hot water.
  4. Place the espresso grounds in the porte filter and evenly pack the grounds down with an attachment on the espresso machine or the bottom of a spoon. This process is called “tamping.” The porte filter looks like a metal cup with a handle.
  5. Secure the porte filter to the espresso machine by placing it flush with the machine and twisting to the right.
  6. Press the on switch on the machine and allow the water to heat up, if there is a separate switch to turn the machine on and start making coffee.
  7. Place a small espresso shot cup underneath the porte filter.
  8. Press or turn the on switch. Wait until the cup is about 2/3 full and turn it off.
  9. Pour the espresso into a coffee mug.
  10. Pour in between 1 and 8 oz. (30 to 235 ml) of hot water from your espresso machine or kettle. This will depend largely upon the strength you desire.
  11. Turn off the espresso machine and enjoy your coffee.

A word of caution: You can’t use a moka pot on induction ovens (not enough metal in the unit) and if you have a professional/high output gas cooktop you will need to ensure that the burner is not larger than base of the of the pot (you don’t won’t to melt the handle). Thankfully, there are 3 difference sizes available.

What goes well with a good cup of coffee any day of the week? English muffins, homemade yogurt and granola, and quiche!

Download and print the recipe here.

What do you like with your French toast or coffee? Have you ever used a moka pot to make your morning cup of Joe at home? Tell us about your experience!

Mary Hathaway, Owner of Dinner Diva, has been a personal chef since 2002. She cooks regularly for clients who have special dietary needs, value healthy cooking by using organic products where possible and those who want healthy family meals but have no time to cook. Whether it’s a dinner for 4, a holiday party for 20, or a set of meals for the week, all of the recipes are customized to her client’s needs or lifestyle. Go to: Dinner-Diva.com for more info.