Pumpkin-Stuffed French Toast Indulgence

I have temporarily traded in my apple hat for a pumpkin hat, in order to share with you a healthy but decadent recipe appropriate, in my book, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even dessert. Here's what you do: you take yogurt, pumpkin, and some syrup and spices, and you slather them between two pieces of deliciously, perfectly cooked french toast, and you let the pumpkin filling melt and warm just a little bit before slicing the whole thing in half and enjoying it immensely. The inspiration for this little gem of a sandwich came in stages: first, I really wanted to make some brinner (breakfast for dinner), but omelets are an all-too-common lunch item for me and pancakes are a little labor intensive/difficult to cut into small servings; second, I wanted to do something fall-festive, as usual; third, I was shockingly interested in venturing away from the world of apples. And so, there you have it: pumpkin-stuffed french toast, one of the few things in this world that are both saintly and heavenly (re: indulgent) at the same time.

Now, of course, I'm not ready to write this down on a recipe card just yet and sticking it into my recipe box for good. It's rare that I'm satisfied with anything, even a recipe borrowed from an already-perfected-elsewhere, on the first go-around. I added too much cinnamon, though I combated that a little bit by upping some sweetness (maple syrup) and pumpkin puree. Also, if you want this to be for a dessert or you just like things really sweet, you might be disappointed in the sugar level of this. I found it to be excellent for dinner, but my sweet tooth was still yearning for a little bit more simple carbohydrates in that meal. As it was, it was mildly sweet and very pumpkiny, and extraordinarily creamy. Be sure not to overcook the french toast - for me, this is critical for anything french toast related, and especially so for something like this. I briefly considered added some apple to the sandwich (ha! You thought I was over that!) but had just eaten an apple earlier in the day and didn't really feel like another one. Plus, it was nice to have just the pumpkin in there. Something like raisins might be nice, though, even just as a topping.

Pumpkin-Stuffed French Toast
Yield: 1 Sandwich, plus extra filling (trust me, you'll be thankful for this)
The Ingredients - The French Toast
1/2 C egg whites
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
2 Tbsp. milk
1 tsp. maple syrup
1 Tbsp. pumpkin puree (not pie filling)
2 slices bread (I used whole grain oatmeal bread, and loved the delicateness - yes, I'm using the word delicate to describe a whole grain - of the oatmeal component; it was a very soft bread)
butter, for cooking (1/2 Tbsp. or less)
The Ingredients - The Filling
6oz. plain greek yogurt (you could also use vanilla, or even regular yogurt - though it might be less creamy with the latter)
3/4C pumpkin puree
1 tsp. cinnamon (1/2 - 3/4 tsp. might have been more appropriate)
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. apple cider
1 tsp. brown sugar

The Method
1. Combine all of the filling ingredients in a small dish or bowl, and set aside.
2. Combine the egg whites, cinnamon, milk, syrup, and pumpkin puree in a shallow dish (like a pie plate), and set aside.
3. Melt the butter in a skillet, preferably big enough for two slices of bread to fit side by side. Keep the heat fairly low - no higher than medium.
4. Dip each piece of bread into the egg dip, letting both sides soak up the liquid, and place onto the skillet. Cook for around 2 minutes; the bottom should be a nice golden brown. Flip over, and place about 1/3 of the filling onto one half. Cook open-faced until the piece without the filling is cooked on both sides.
5. Place the "empty" piece of bread on top of the one with the filling, and cook for a little bit longer; this whole process from the time you flip the pieces of bread to the time it's all finished should only take another 2 minutes or so.
6. Plate, cut in half, and enjoy!

This is one sandwich you'll want to eat with a fork and a knife, and you can certainly enjoy it open-faced if you want a smaller meal.

As for all of that pumpkin-yogurt filling you'll have left-over...well, okay, you could keep the filling the same and make 2 more sandwiches, and then you wouldn't have any extras. However, I would highly recommend keeping some of this in the refrigerator - use it as a parfait with granola and dried fruit, add it to some oatmeal (more on that later!), use it as a dip for - you guessed it - apples, it really is versatile. Plus, it doesn't use the whole can of pumpkin puree, so you have extra of that to do with as you wish, too. If you're worried about not using it all at once, freeze it in 2 Tbsp. portions so that you can pull some out as you need/want it (ice cube trays are great for this).

So, you see, I am capable of making a fall dish without apple in it! I also have a lot of recipes saved to share that are not fall-themed, but since it's getting to be close to Thanksgiving and once that comes, it won't even be November anymore, I figured I should cram them in while I still can.

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