So we made this recipe up from scratch and have added to it, tweaked it, and played around with it until we felt it was perfected. The only constant with this recipe is that everyone has LOOOVVVEEEDDD it so far. So, it was time to put a hault on innovation and just get it out to the world. This reminds us so much of a really good bourbon cocktail or christmas since these flavors are so apparently perfect for each other. This is so great for that 1/2 of a baguette left over from spaghetti night or any bread you have that is about to go bad and is too stale to eat. The stale bread lets it soak up all this great flavor and makes it deliciously chewy!
The first time we made this was in the #snowpocalypse in 2016 where we got about 16 inches of snow in NYC and bunkered down for a cozy breakfast. Christina, being the crazy athlete she is, decided to still go running that morning and all in all she survived it (mostly from the french toast I am sure) and we were able to still take some pretty great photos and eat some really delicious french toast.
Start off by whisking together the bourbon, vanilla extract, orange zest, milk and eggs in a giant bowl. You can add the cinnamon now, but it finds its way to the bottom so I like to wait one more step until I sprinkle it on.
Continue to whisk until the mixture is nice and frothy. The best part about the bourbon is that it breaks everything down and creates a very rich broth. Don't worry, you won't get tipsy from this recipe since the alcohol will be cooked out of it. If you ARE looking for a boozy cocktail, check out my buddy who runs Apartment Bartender for his awesome breakfast cocktail The Fireside Chat which boasts so many of these flavors plus some black walnut bitters to really bring this drink together.
Slice up your stale french bread however you want, or if you are using whole pieces of sourdough or any other regular loaf style bread you can keep them whole if you like. Note: if you use a bread with a larger surface area you may need to make more mixture since it will soak more of it up than a baguette.
Add in your bread slices into your large bowl and toss to coat. Then, once coated, sprinkle the cinnamon all over the bread. Again, the difference here is that the cinnamon sticks to the bread rather than sinking to the bottom of the bowl and in my opinion it helps it stay on while cooking. Keep tossing the slices of bread every 2 minutes for about 10 minutes, letting the bread soak up as much of the liquid as possible.
Using 1-2tbsp of butter depending on your preference and size of the skillet, bring the pan to medium-hot heat and cook the french toast on each side for about 2-3 minutes or until they begin to brown. Then, once both sides have had some cooking time, turn off the heat and drizzle on some maple syrup. This makes it caramelize and gives it a chewy and slightly caramel-esque texture that is TO DIE FOR.
Once plated, add on some more syrup or a little more orange zest, make yourself a mimosa or a Fireside Chat and get ready to have your taste buds rocked!