I have always been a big fan of french toast for breakfast. It is just as easy to make as scrambled eggs are and it turns a regular breakfast into something a little bit more special. I typically finish off my french toast with a little bit of powdered sugar or maple syrup – both of which are enough to satisfy my sweet tooth in the morning – but there are times when I want something just a little bit more decadent. And on those mornings, I opt for stuffed french toast.
My Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast is an indulgent twist on regular french toast, where a narrow pocket is sliced into the bread and filled with lightly sweetened cream cheese. It tastes like a cross between french toast and a cheese danish – and that is a good combination to wake up to! The trick to getting a great stuffed french toast is to start with an unsliced loaf of bread, such as brioche or challah, so that you can cut slices of bread that are thick enough to accommodate the stuffing without it leaking out of the bread as it cooks.
The filling is not too sweet, but it adds just enough sweetness that you could actually serve this without syrup (although I never pass up an opportunity to have some extra maple syrup!) if you wanted to. It is delicious when topped with fresh fruit or berries, and you can even sprinkle a few nut on top for crunch. Any way you serve it, this french toast is a fantastic brunch dish that everyone will enjoy.
Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast
6 1-inch thick slices of challah bread (approx 1/2 loaf)
4-oz cream cheese, softened
3 tbsp confectioners’ sugar
1 cup milk
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Using a sharp knife, cut a pocket in one end of each slice of bread. The pocket should stop about one inch from the sides of the bread (except for the side where you made your initial cut, where it goes all the way through. Try to keep the pocket even as you cut.
In a small bowl, beat together cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar until smooth.
Spread about 1 1/2-oz of cream cheese filling into each pocket using a small knife (or a pastry bag), making sure the filling goes well into the pocket and doesn’t just sit at the edge of the bread.
In a medium bowl, beat together milk, eggs and vanilla. Transfer to a large, flat bowl or pie plate.
Preheat a griddle or nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Dip the bread, one or two pieces at a time, into the milk and egg mixture. Allow each side to soak well, poking the edges of the slice with a fork (but not the stuffed center) to saturate it. Transfer to hot pan with a spatula. Cook until golden, about 3-5 minutes, then flip and cook until golden on the second side, 1-2 minutes. Serve immediately, and repeat with remaining slices of bread.
Note: If you are working with very large slice of bread, you may need to increase the milk/egg mixture by 1.5 or 2 times. The brioche I typically use is baked in a standard 9×5-inch loaf pan.