Vanilla Almond French Toast with Fresh Strawberries

I disappeared on you for a while in order to camp out (okay, not literally) at the beach, but I did whole heaps of cooking while I was there. I went with L, and our goal was to create a menu that was cheap, quick, somewhat portable (for some meals), and required as few ingredients as possible. I have to say, I think we did pretty well with a few tweaks to recipes and a little bit of creativity. Our first meal was this simple Vanilla-Almond French Toast, which we paired with some fresh, sliced strawberries.

Now, this was a gamble. You see, L is in love with his mom's French Toast, so my attempt to make it for him means that I was up against some pretty stiff competition. The pressure was on! It all came together quickly, but I'm a little bit disappointed in the flavor profile. That is to say, I didn't notice too much, and I actually found myself reaching for the syrup.

This never happens.

Okay, it happens more with French Toast than, say, waffles or pancakes, since I tend to find the former on the dryer side, but I still try to avoid it. All of that high fructose poison and sugar and whatnot. So anyway, I'll post the recipe along with the small changes I made, and then I'll let you know how I might do it differently next time. Granted, L said he liked it just the way it was, but he's a good sport and is very polite about food that is put in front of him.

Almond Vanilla French Toast, courtesy of $5 Dinners
Yield: 4 servings*
The Ingredients
4 eggs
2/3 C milk
1 Tbsp. maple syrup (omitted - forgotten, oops)
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1/3 C ground almonds (I had L place sliced almonds in a ziplock and smash them up)
12 slices of bread
(1/4 tsp. cinnamon) (1/4 tsp. orange peel)
Fresh fruit

The Method
1. In mixing bowl, whisk eggs, milk, maple syrup, vanilla and ground almonds.
2. Dip the bread into the mixture on each side, taking care to re-stir the mixture between dippings to prevent the almonds from settling on the bottom.
3. Place the dipped bread onto a pre-heated griddle or pan (300 degrees for the griddle or around medium for the pan - I used the pan and added some butter).
4. Cook to perfection! (I know, a little vague, but just cook until they're slightly browned on each side.)
5. Serve alongside fruit and sprinkle with a little extra almond slices.

*Note: I halved the bread but found that I needed the same amount of egg mixture.

I liked the recipe, but found it to be lacking. It could have been my use of whole wheat bread - I like my usual challah french toast, and would imagine that something like an oatmeal bread (also whole grain) would be lighter and better for this. I'd prefer more vanilla flavor and more citrus, as well as maybe some powdered sugar for dusting. It's a good, simple base, and I'd love to hear from anyone who has tried this recipe with different bread.

Also, does anyone else have a tried-and-true french toast recipe? I'd love to hear it. You know me, always on a quest to find The Perfect Recipe for everything.

You should be hearing from me again relatively soon; coming up, I have chicken chili verde, lime honey chicken tacos, a light apple and spinach salad, and even a batch of chocolate chip cookies that I'm hoping to bake for my friend, who just landed herself in a big 'ole cast. Chocolate chip cookies cure all ailments, right?

Of course right.

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