Warm Apple Cinnamon French Toast

Photograph by Mike Arrison

There’s something wonderful about the smell of warm cinnamon french toast in the morning. This gem of a recipe was actually created out of necessity. Last Christmas, I had purchased a beautiful loaf of challah for Christmas breakfast- only to realize in the middle of cooking that we had no maple syrup! So I thought to myself: what makes a syrup so necessary? It’s buttery, sweet, and rich. So, I found a few Gala apples and some pecans- in my mind this translated to apple syrup and candied pecans. 
First, the bread I chose- challah is a traditional Jewish bread, it’s egg based, heavy, and sweet. Other egg based breads, like brioche would work just as well. You could even use white or wheat bread, but why not utilize the best option. Which fruit and why- first, I chose apples because all apples contain pectin, which has the ability to gel a liquid. When you’re making something like cranberry sauce, yes you’ll need a Granny Smith apple (they contain the most pectin), but in this case we can use something sweet like Gala apples. As for why I chose nuts- they add a nice crunchy texture to the dish. Which nut- I would choose walnuts or pecans, their flavors meld easily with others. By candying them they match the sweet theme of the dish. 
Warm Apple Cinnamon French Toast
Yields: 5 Servings
French Toast
1 loaf Challah
6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon cinnamon
3 tablespoons butter
Apple Syrup
3 Gala apples
3/4 cup white sugar
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons butter
3 dashes cinnamon
Candied Pecans
1 cup pecans
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter
2 dashes cinnamon
1 dash salt
Warm a small sauté pan over low heat, place the butter and melt completely. Place the pecans in the pan and toss to coat. Warm them for a minute, then toss the pecans with the cinnamon and sugar. Let them warm through for a few minutes. Take them off of the heat to cool.
Place a large sauté pan over medium heat for three minutes, then place the butter on the pan. Place the sliced apples into the butter once it is bubbling. Toss to coat, and let them sit for a couple of minutes. Place the sugar and dashes of cinnamon over the apples, and stir occasionally. Make sure that the apples don’t break down too much, or you’ll make applesauce. This should take about 10 minutes.
Heat a large pan or electric skillet to medium-low heat. Mix the eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla in a large bowl. Place one slice of bread at a time into the batter. Place a small amount of butter onto the pan and cook each piece of toast for a few minutes until it is lightly browned.
Place the toast on a large serving platter, pour the warm apple mixture over the toast and sprinkle with the candied pecans.