Pancakes and waffles usually get the spotlight in a Sunday breakfast spread, but French toast deserves a place right up there with the greats. Not only is it just as excellent of a vehicle for maple syrup and all the fixings, it’s far simpler to make at home since it doesn’t require whipping out a bunch of baking ingredients or using special equipment.
Putting some together barely requires a recipe (though we’ve got one here to help you make it extra perfect). But it always starts with the bread: While the scrappy spirit of French toast calls for using up slices from whatever almost-on-its-way-out loaf you’ve got sitting around, it works best when you use challah, brioche, or another fluffy bread (right now, we’re especially loving Newlight Bread Work’s milk bread).
After dipping the slices in an egg-milk mixture and cooking them up, your next major choice is how to top things off. It’s usually a good idea to start with some maple syrup and a pat of butter. From there, you can get creative, but centering it around seasonal fruits and flavors is the best move in our books. Right now in the thick of winter, that means citrus fruit. We love orange zest for its pleasantly perfume-y overtones. You can cut the remaining flesh into wedges and serve it alongside for a complementary bit of fresh juiciness.
Our recipe has one final hack: we bake the slices to skip the hassle and mess of frying them one by one. Preheating the baking sheet as the oven heats up ensures that both sides become golden without even having to do any flipping. That way, it’s a cinch to prepare enough French toast for everyone all at once. Give it a try with the instructions below and you might not make brunch any other way ever again.
Sheet-Pan French Toast with Almond & Orange Recipe
What you’ll need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
5 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 loaf challah or other fluffy bread
1/2 cup maple syrup
3/4 cup sliced almonds
2 tablespoons raw turbinado sugar
What to do:
Brush a large rimmed baking sheet with the olive oil and place in the oven. Turn on oven and heat to 450 F.
Meanwhile, in a shallow baking dish, grate half of the zest from the orange using a microplane. Add the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and almond extract. Whisk until well combined. Cut 8 thick slices from center of loaf of bread, discarding the ends.
Carefully remove hot baking sheet from oven. Working quickly, dip each slice of bread into egg mixture, pressing down gently to saturate, then lift to let excess egg drip back into dish. Place slices on baking sheet and place in oven. Bake 5 minutes. Turn slices over and brush with the syrup. Sprinkle tops with the almonds and sugar. Bake until bottoms are golden and tops are well browned, about 7 minutes more. Grate remaining orange zest over toasts. Serve with more syrup, butter, and orange wedges to your own taste.