Sunday, March 8, 2015

Sunday Brunch - Candied Pecan French Toast

Today just feels like spring in Mobile. It's warm and sunny outside, and the birds and bugs are starting to come back into town ...I'm sure it won't be long until I'm sharing some grilling and outdoor recipes, since that's one of our favorite ways to cook. Today though, I wanted to share a brunch recipe I made this morning to start off the week! (It was going to be for breakfast until I realized daylight savings time had a different idea on that...)

Lately I've been craving some thick, homemade French toast, so while grocery shopping yesterday I decided to grab some Texas toast to make for breakfast. We also happened to get some pecans to make granola (I'll be sharing that recipe soon!) so I thought it would be a great idea to candy some of those and serve them as a topping for the French toast. And boy, was that a good idea! Read on for my recipe...

I started off with bread, eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla extract, nutmeg, and cinnamon.



For the bread, I find that Bunny brand Tex Toast makes the best French toast. It's about two times as thick as a normal piece of bread and absorbs the egg mixture so perfectly. (Obviously if you don't like your French toast thick and a little on the gooey side, you may want to just use regular white bread.) I've also made French toast with cinnamon raisin bread or an Italian loaf from the local bakery, which are also wonderful options if you want to add a little extra flavor to your recipe!


To make the egg mixture, I first cracked four eggs into a shallow pan.


To the eggs, I added about 1.5 cups of milk, 1/3 cup sugar, 1 tablespoon cinnamon, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, freshly grated nutmeg, and about a teaspoon of salt to balance out the sweetness. I then mixed all the ingredients until well combined.


I then dipped each piece of bread into the egg mixture, soaking for about 5 seconds per side to absorb as much sugary, eggey mixture as possible. You should be able to get about 6 - 8 slices of bread coated, depending again on how gooey you like them to be!


Once the bread had soaked up as much egg mixture as possible, I placed them on a griddle heated to 350 degrees and let it cook for 3 - 5 minutes per side, until golden brown. 





As the bread finished cooking, I started on the pecan topping. To make the candied pecans, I first needed to toast them so they could add their rich, buttery flavor to the French toast. To toast the pecans, I simply put them in a pan over medium heat for about 3 minutes.


Once the pecans started toasting (you can tell when this happens once they start to release some of their oil into the pan...which smells AMAZING) I added a tablespoon of butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt. I let it all melt together then reduced the heat to low and stirred it together for about 5 minutes until the butter and sugar started to thicken and form a caramel on the pecans.


Once the pecans started to caramelize, I turned off the heat and let them cool for a just a couple minutes before spooning them onto the French toast with some maple syrup and powdered sugar. Served with a big cup of coffee, this was just the brunch I needed to start my day! Bon appetit!



French Toast Recipe:

Ingredients:

6 - 8 slices of thick white bread
4 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
 1 Tbs vanilla extract
1 Tbs cinnamon
1/4 tsp. granted nutmeg
1 tsp salt

Steps:
1. Crack eggs into a shallow pan
2. Add sugar, milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Mix until well combined.
3. Soak bread in egg mixture until each side is saturated.
4. Place onto a 350 degrees hot griddle, and cook 3 - 5 minutes per side until golden brown.
5. Serve with maple syrup, hot candied pecans, and powdered sugar.

Candied Pecans Recipe:

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped pecans
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs packed brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch salt

Steps:
1. Toast the pecans in a pan over medium heat for about 3 minutes.
2. Add butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. 
3. Once all ingredients are melted and well combined, reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 - 5 minutes.
4. Remove from heat about 5 minutes to let the pecans slightly cool and caramelize. 
5. Spoon onto French toast...and enjoy!