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Ginger and Cinnamon-Spiced French Toast

Mariel here. I hemmed and hawed over what to post this week. Since most of us are in the midst of a pre-holiday scramble – which usually entails a melee of baking, shopping, menu-orchestrating and nine-to-fiving – daily meals become less about divining something delicious and more about quieting the growl before wrapping a pile of socks or re-gifting a stinky candle. Feeling frazzled and bratty, I decided to take a timeout and actually cook breakfast; I wanted to try and start the day on a more relaxed note even if the next 10 hours would be crammed full of deadlines, late paychecks and last-minute trips to Loehmann’s.

The following recipe is shamelessly simple – at first I hesitated to elucidate instructions for making French Toast – but sometimes it’s just nice when someone tells you what to do. I spiced things up with a little ground ginger, lightened the load by enlisting egg whites, skim milk and plain yogurt in lieu of cream, and slathered my toast with Cranberry Pear Sauce. If that’s too involved, whip up a makeshift fruity compote composed of 3 tablespoons of jam and about 1/3-cup of maple syrup. Simmer over low heat until it’s heated through and then ladle on top of your Pain Perdu. It’ll feel fancy even though a monkey could make it. Finish with a dusting of powdered sugar and presto change-o, Wednesday morning suddenly seems a little sweeter.

As you’ve probably already guessed, this is also a fabulous kick-off to Christmas morning and a great way to use up those leftover baguettes post-feast. If you’re looking for an even sweeter treat, check out our recipe for Double-Layered Peppermint Bark over at Patch.com. Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Ginger and Cinnamon-Spiced French Toast
Makes 10-12 slices

A loaf of 2-day-old crusty whole wheat bread, cut into about ¾-inch slices – $2.19
2 whole eggs + 4 egg whites – stock
½-cup skim milk – stock
2 Tablespoons fat-free plain yogurt – $0.89
1 teaspoon vanilla extract – stock
½ teaspoon cinnamon – stock
¼ teaspoon ground ginger – stock
A pinch of salt – stock
2 thin tabs of butter – stock
Grand total assuming “well-stocked” kitchen: $3.08
Cost per slice: $0.26

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place a baking sheet or oven-safe platter on the top rack.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, yogurt, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Dip the bread slices into the mixture coating both sides evenly.

3. In a large heavy skillet, heat one thin tab of butter over high heat, spread it around. Once hot (test by misting the skillet with water, it will sizzle), fry the coated bread until golden brown on each side. Takes about 2-3 minutes per side.

4. Keep the cooked French Toast warm in your pre-heated oven while frying each batch. Serve with Cranberry Pear Sauce, Applesauce, maple syrup, powdered sugar, chutney, jam, whatever you love!