Gluten Free French Toast - the perfect start to a Monday morning!
I don’t know about you, but I am not a morning person. I find it really hard to get up. It takes me a good few hours before I feel something close to functional, and mid morning has generally long gone by the time I start to feel human. It’s worst during the winter, getting up while it’s dark outside is a real battle for me, especially because it’s so cold out while bed is so warm and cosy!
Somehow, Dom manages to switch from being fast asleep to wide awake in a space of 30 seconds. It’s like some form of magic. I wish I had the capacity to do that, I really do, but, I don’t.
What I do have though, to rouse me from my bleary eyed, morning zombie state, are breakfasts like this. French toast (or eggy bread, for those who prefer the less refined name) is such a simple yet decadent way to start the day. It's a great combination of delicious carbs and rich maple syrup, cut with the sweet freshness of berries. I like to kid myself that eating this for breakfast is healthy because I get two of my five a day. This recipe doesn't have any refined sugars in it though and I count that as a win.
It's time for us to start celebrating breakfast!
It is my firm belief that life is better when you start the day properly, and that means eating a good, healthy and hearty breakfast. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes we, at Marshside House, default to eating a bowl of cereal for the sake of convenience, but within an hour or two I am inevitably hungry once more. I need a breakfast that will keep me full and keep me going, else I end up grumpy and nobody wants that. Also, have you seen the amount of processed sugar in cereal?! Grim. If I’m going to eat sugar then I am going to make sure it’s worth it.
Admittedly, though I am generally more health conscious these days, I do still tend to reach for sweet things at breakfast time, which is something I need to work on. I assumed I would naturally grow out of this tendency when I became an adult, but I’m still waiting and nothing seems to be changing! We currently have a classic English fry up in our weekly breakfast schedule, which, while definitely savoury, definitely isn’t all that healthy!
So, you’ll probably come to find more breakfast recipes here as the weeks progress and I attempt to find healthier breakfast choices for Dom and myself. It’s so important for our bodies and our minds to start the day properly with good, varied nutrition, so that is one of my goals for this year.
A little bit of history...
Just before we get started, you might be wondering whether French Toast actually originates from France. Well, I wondered this too, so I had a little peruse through google to see what I could find. It turns out that what we now know of as “French Toast” can be traced all the way back to the Roman Empire! In the 5th century AD a recipe, called “pan dulcis”, described bread being dipped in a milk and egg mixture before being fried in oil or butter. Centuries down the line the French called it “pain perdu”, which means “lost bread”, implying the usage of old bread that would be discarded if not used for this purpose. In the present, it is considered to be predominantly an American dish - you’d have a hard time ordering this in Paris. So there we have it, a short history lesson on French toast!
Feel free to swap out ingredients if you want to. This recipe works well with different types of bread, just make sure they are absorbent! It’s a great way to use up any stale bread you have left lying around (and keeps the recipe true to it's French name, pain perdu, as we now know!)
Likewise, if you don’t have any maple syrup at home, honey is a delicious and worthy substitute.
Similarly with the milk, you don’t need to use cows milk, in fact these days I hardly ever use it for cooking. This recipe works just as well with almond milk, or really any other substitute you most prefer.
If you don’t like the spices in this recipe (cinnamon and nutmeg) leave them out. I personally think they are great and they add flavour to the dish, but you can omit them if that’s not your thing.
To make this recipe cuter (though I don't think it needs it!) you can use cookie cutters to cut the bread slices into shapes before you fry them.
Gluten Free French Toast
Serves 2-4 (depends how greedy you are!)
6-8 slices of gluten free bread
2/3 cup of milk (I use almond milk, use whichever substitute you most prefer)
3 medium eggs (room temperature)
1tsp Madagascan vanilla extract
1/3 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
Butter (for frying)
Mixed berries (or other fruit if you prefer, bananas go really well)
Optional extras: cream, nuts
1.) Put a large frying pan on the hob to warm up to a medium to high heat.
2.) In a large bowl, whisk together the milk and eggs, then add the madagascan vanilla extract, the cinnamon and the nutmeg. Mix to combine.
3.) When the pan is warm, add a chunk of butter about half the size of your thumb.
4.) Taking a slice of bread, submerge it fully into the milk and egg mixture for a few seconds until it is thoroughly coated, then add it straight to the frying pan. My pan usually fits two pieces of bread, so if this is the same for you, dip another piece of bread and add that. Be careful not to over fill your frying pan else the bread won’t fry so well.
5.) When the underside has turned a nice golden brown, which should take a few minutes, flip the bread using a spatula and allow the other side to cook.
6.) Repeat this process until you’ve used up all the bread and the mixture (or, alternatively, until you have the amount you want to eat!)
7.) Serve while warm with berries or other fruit accompaniments, drizzled with maple syrup.
Yum! This recipe is best served and eaten fresh from the pan.