Grab the box of Corn Flakes. Just trust us.
French toast is irreplaceable as a weekend brunch staple. Soaking slightly stale bread slices in an eggy mixture and cooking each piece in foamy butter until it is warm, tender, and vaguely reminiscent of a cloud is a rite of passage in the brunch book of standards.
From time to time, however, even the best foods need a bit of a refresh — a remix, if you will. Yes, that even includes French toast.
Pastry chef and Cake Wars judge Waylynn Lucas, author of the brand-new book Sunny-Side Up: More Than 100 Breakfast & Brunch Recipes from the Essential Egg to the Perfect Pastry (Amazon.com, $17), has the most fun (and easy!) way to upgrade those slabs of eggy bread to an unforgettable meal. She creates a crust of cornflakes.
Lucas's recipe for Nutella and Banana French Toast Sandwich woke us up to this fantastic idea. Between two slices of French toast, each coated on one side in a crust of toasted Corn Flakes, sits warm, gooey Nutella and silky slices of banana. While any Nutella-banana French toast sandwich would be a winner in our book, it's the crust of cornflakes that brings this dish to the top of our must-make lists for future brunches.
After you soak each slice in your egg-milk mixture, you can gently press it into a shallow dish filled with the crushed flaked cereal. A cup of smashed cereal is enough for four slices.
The pieces will adhere to the moist bread easily. Then, drop each slice, cereal side-down, into a warm skillet with melted butter. Cook three to four minutes until the cereal pieces and bread are golden brown. Flip, and continue cooking three to four minutes until the toast pieces are cooked through.
In her book, Lucas offers several of these crunchy French toast sandwiches, but you could use this step on any French toast, whether or not you decide to make it into a fancy sandwich. No one's going to argue about a crust of buttery, nutty cereal on their slices.
Allrecipes user Pamplemousse has even used this technique to make Crunchy French Toast Sticks, a fun idea for kids. Instead of pouring maple syrup over these slices, you can give the kiddos a small bowl of syrup or fruit preserves and let them dunk each piece for a bit of hands-on fun.
In addition to the cornflakes crust trick, Lucas's book is filled with a variety of breakfast and brunch staples, baked goods, and unique treats. If anyone is going to teach you how to make Bacon-Cheddar Biscuits, a pastry chef is a good resource. The same goes for brioche beignets. An expert is certainly necessary for that recipe.
If baking isn't your thing this weekend, Lucas also offers up a few other fun selects, like Lemon Slushy for Adults Only. We'll take some Grapefruit-Mint Mimosas with our crunchy French toast sandwiches, please!