Sometimes there is nothing better than comfort foods, especially comfort foods that evoke wonderful memories.
Growing up, my mom always bought challah (a traditional Jewish egg bread) from a store in Brookline, MA called Cheryl Anns’. Their challah is THE BEST in the world. I swear to it! We love it because it is particularly eggy, soft, and sweet. I have such fond memories sitting with my mom around the the island in our kitchen, slicing piece after piece of Cheryl Ann’s challah and filling our happy bellies. (Mom – I blame your side of the family for my crazy carb obsession!).
Good challah will always have a warm place in my heart. Since living in Los Angeles, I have yet to find any challah that even comes close to my beloved Cheryl Anns’. However, when Travis and I were at the Whole Foods in Venice recently (a great place to spot celebrities, by the way!) he eyed a loaf of Whole Wheat challah bread. Now, I’ve had whole wheat challah before (and I’ve even made my own), but it just never comes close to the real thing. However, when I picked up this particular loaf of challah, it felt so soft and I had a pretty good feeling that it was going to be delicious.
So we grabbed a mini loaf and decided to make challah french toast the next morning. I suddenly realized that the last time I’d made challah french toast was during college for a brunch I hosted for girls in my sorority in my off-campus apartment. For that brunch I purchased around 10 huge loaves of challah and cooked over 100 pieces of french toast on four different skillets in my tiny college kitchen. It was a hit, though, because not a single piece of french toast went uneaten!
Every time I make challah french toast I change the recipe ever-so-slightly. I think this time I really nailed it (if I do say so myself!). One of my key tips is to use day-old or slightly stale challah for this recipe. It may sound surprising, but the bread actually soaks up more of the egg mixture this way.
We ate our french toast with powdered sugar, caramelized bananas, and real maple syrup, which was an absolutely delicious combination! Feel free to experiment with different fruits and toppings, though. I think this french toast would be delicious with fresh jam!
- 1 loaf challah, sliced into 2 inch thick slices (day old challah will work best here)
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup milk (any kind)
- 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Cooking Spray or Butter
- Maple Syrup
- Bananas, Berries, Chocolate Chips (optional toppings)
- In a large shallow dish, whisk together the eggs, milk, brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and salt. Soak the challah pieces in the egg mixture for 60 seconds on each side (depending on the size of your dish, you will likely have to do this in batches).
- Preheat a large skillet to medium heat and grease the skillet. Add a few pieces of challah to the pan in a single layer and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until golden brown. After cooking the first batch, transfer the french toast to a warm oven (about 200 degrees F) until all of the pieces are cooked.