Friday, November 16, 2007

You CAN make them yourself!

Yesterday was a breakfast-for-dinner sort of day, but I wanted to try something different. We kind of rotate our breakfast options through pancakes, waffles, french toast, and eggs, and usually we do breakfast once a week. First of all, breakfast is very easy on the budget, so I appreciate that. But secondly, breakfast for us is usually cereal or quick breads, so if we didn't have breakfast for dinner, we'd never get some of our favorites. Last night though, it was time to recreate a new favorite. French Toast Sticks. You know you love them! We love them, but the french toast sticks we buy are clearly not healthy in the least. Usually they consist of a white bread that's been coated in some kind of batter and then fried before they are flash frozen. I would be surprised if there were actual eggs in the frozen variety. I've always wondered if they could be recreated in the home kitchen, and last night was the day to try.

I began with a loaf of homemade white whole wheat bread, which I then sliced into thick 1-inch slices. The slices got sliced again into thirds, so I had sticks of bread awaiting their bath. I made a simple egg mixture with eggs, milk, melted butter, sugar, and flavorings and set about dunking the sticks in the eggs. Thus far, it was similar in preparation to normal french toast. The trick was going to be baking these guys. Would it work? I put them on a greased baking sheet, popped them in the oven and walked away for a few minutes. About fifteen minutes later I flipped them over and gave them another 15 minutes. What do you know, they came out looking a lot like french toast sticks.

The true test came when I sat them in front of my children. They eyed them skeptically, but gave them a whirl. Their silence as they ate was very telling. These tasted remarkably like store-bought frozen french toast sticks, but way better for you nutritionally. Just using the homemade whole wheat bread was a huge improvement! They really were very good, and we all enjoyed them a lot. The kids preferred their dunked in homemade applesauce, and I can't complain about that, so these get 5 stars from us. You could probably reduce the sugar in the recipe a bit if you like, but I liked the sweetness, and since we did end up using homemade applesauce instead of syrup, I think the balance was just fine. I don't see why these wouldn't be freezable, so make a big batch of them and freeze extra for quick breakfasts throughout the week. Homemade French Toast Sticks-who knew it could be done?!

French Toast Sticks

8 to 10 slices thick-cut bread
1/4 cup butter, melted
4 eggs
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350ºF.

Cut the thick bread slices into thirds so you have 2 sticks per slice of bread.

Combine remaining ingredients in a mixing bowl, beat well to combine.

Dip bread sticks into the egg mixture one at a time, and place on a baking sheet that has been sprayed with cooking spray.

Bake in a 350º oven for about 30 minutes. Flip the sticks over halfway through baking time to crisp both sides.

**To freeze, allow to cool completely before wrapping well in a freezer bag. To reheat, pop in a 350 oven for about 8 minutes to refresh. Alternatively, they can be reheated in a microwave for a minute or two, but they will lose their crispness.


Kristen said...

This is a favorite once a month cooking thing for me. I love to make a huge batch and then have them in the freezer to grab and heat up for a quick and tasty breakfast!

Erika W. said...

Kristin, I will be making this again soon to just have in the freezer- they were so good, and so much better than the store bought ones.