Make Ahead: The bread needs to be refrigerated the night before you plan to make this French toast.
- 1/2 Chocolate Cherry Baguette, cut on the bias into 1/4-inch slices (see related recipe)
- 3 large eggs
- 1/4 cup whole milk or heavy cream
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 vanilla bean, split and scraped (may substitute 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract)
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 1/2 pint strawberries, hulled and cut into halves or quarters, for garnish (optional)
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1/2 cup red or black cherries, pitted, for garnish (optional)
- Confectioners' sugar, for garnish (optional)
- Maple syrup, for serving
The night before you intend to make the French toast, refrigerate the baguette.
When ready to cook, whisk the eggs in a wide, shallow bowl to combine. Add the milk or cream, cinnamon and vanilla; stir to combine. Place the bread slices in the egg mixture and let them soak for about 5 minutes, turning to coat both sides.
Heat the butter and canola oil in a large nonstick skillet or griddle pan over medium heat. When it the butter begins to melt, add the bread, in batches if necessary, and cook for 2 to 3 minutes or until golden brown; use a spatula to turn over the pieces and cook until golden brown. Transfer the French toast to individual plates. (Discard any remaining egg mixture.)
For the fruit garnish, if using, add the strawberries to the same skillet or griddle pan over medium heat; sprinkle with the sugar and cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the cherries and cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 minute.
Dust the French toast with confectioners' sugar, if desired. Serve the fruit mixture on top of or alongside the French toast, and pass maple syrup on the side.
Adapted from Patrick Deiss, artisan baker at 2941 Restaurant in Falls Church.
Tested by Melissa McCart.
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