Do you ever have those moments when an ingredient in your kitchen just inspires you so much that you look for ways to put it in just about everything for a few days? That was the situation I found myself in after we picked up our first container of local Virginia honey. Back in California, I used local honey for everything, but it took us a while to buy any honey after the move to Virginia even though we actually live like 5 minutes away from a honey farm. I still have to visit that farm, but we did finally get our hands on some local raw honey from our dairy CSA farmer.
The reason I love local honey so much is not just because it’s a chance to support a small producer, but because the flavor is always unique to the area from which the honey came. The honey changes based on the plants the bees used for pollens, so you’re not only eating local, you’re actually TASTING local.
The week we received our honey, I made cheese (not with the honey), and I needed something to make with all the whey. I turned some of the whey into two loaves of Italian wheat bread. When the weekend rolled around, we still had some bread, and so the Godfather requested French toast for breakfast. My typical method of making french toast includes standing in my kitchen and eyeballing all ingredients, adding whatever looks interesting at the moment into a bowl, whisking it all together, and praying it turns out, which it always does as French toast is just forgiving like that. It should be though, it’s a way to use up stale bread, and I think it would be odd if it were a persnickety recipe.
That day, I decided to use a little of our honey instead of the tiny bit of sugar I usually add and the resulting honey vanilla French toast was a unanimous success! I tested this with both a wheat and white Italian bread, but it would be equally delicious with a challah bread (my favorite), or any other thicker cut bakery bread.
We just can’t get enough of the light sweetness from the honey with the hint of vanilla, and I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!
- 12 1-1 1/4" thick slices Italian baguette bread
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 c milk
- 1 large egg
- 2 tbsp honey (feel free to add a little more for a sweeter French toast)
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- Whisk together the milk, egg, honey, and vanilla extract in a bowl.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat with 1/2 a tablespoon of your butter. You may need a little more if you are not using a nonstick skillet. A spritz of nonstick spray works as well if you feel you need more. I do recommend leaving the bit of butter for flavor.
- Soak bread slices briefly on both sides, in batches, before placing in the pan to cook. Don't soak too long or the bread will fall apart when you cook it. You want to let it sit in the egg mixture just long enough to soak it in, but not get soggy. This takes about 10 seconds per side.
- Cook for 2-3 minutes per side until the bread is a nice golden brown. Use a spatula to flip the bread and cook another 2-3 minutes on the other side before removing to a serving plate. Continue cooking in batches until you've finished.
- Store the finished French toast in a warmed oven until you're ready to serve. I heat my oven to the lowest temperature it will go (170 F) and then turn it off and use that to keep my French toast warm while cooking.
- Serve immediately with fresh fruit, honey, or syrup.