French toast is the easiest solution to any stale bread problem. You can use any kind of bread: hot dog buns, hamburger buns, brioche, baguettes.
If you’d rather do something a little more exciting with your stale bread, I’d like to share with you a special Christmas tradition in my family.
I grew up in Portland, Oregon, and in Portland, Oregon, doing the same thing twice is so passé. Tradition? Not much of a concern. We don’t like to repeat what we did the day before, much less year after year.
That’s how you end up with Portland delicacies such as lavender ice cream with candied orange peels and chocolate bars made with bacon grease. (Great, now I feel homesick.)
My family didn’t have Christmas traditions as much as it had Christmas trends. If we really liked a holiday food we’d have it again as many or as few times as we wanted. Shepherd’s pie was a pretty common occurrence because Jesus was the Good Shepherd, but it was never a requirement.
Shepherd’s pie made out of lamb, by the way. I went on a rant about this on Facebook, and I’m going to go on another rant here: if you use ground beef in your Shepherd’s pie, it isn’t Shepherd’s pie at all. It is Cowboy’s pie.
Another family trend was eggnog French toast with sugar plum spice syrup. I still remember the first time my dad made it. There was something magical about how the different Christmas smells danced around the kitchen. It became a central memory in my childhood (even though we only had it a couple of times).
Then I married a Southerner, and everything about the way I do Christmas changed. My husband’s family has been eating the same foods for centuries. When I propose a new dish on Christmas, my husband’s first question is, “Do I want to eat that every year for the rest of my life?”
It’s not easy to introduce meal ideas when the stakes are so high, but my eggnog French toast with sugar plum spice syrup was, surprisingly, a hit.
We will never eat eggnog French toast on Christmas morning. That sacred slot has been awarded to Sourdough Waffles, which is what Andrew has had for breakfast at every special occasion – especially Christmas morning – since time immemorial.
Instead, eggnog French toast with sugar plum spice syrup is our tradition for the day we decorate the Christmas tree. It’s a tradition I love, and I could actually do it every year for the rest of my life.
NOTE: My dad actually makes this recipe with croissants. When I was a kid I thought this was the height of sophistication, but there were some logistical problems I noticed when I made it as an adult. Croissants are mostly air, and when you turn them into French toast, they deflate into thin slabs. I’ve been experimenting with different kinds of bread to use for this recipe and have yet to settle on anything, so feel free to run your own experiments.
And of course, you can use any syrup. I’m sure maple syrup would be fine, though for me, I couldn’t have it with anything other than sugar plum spice tea. Also, you can use this syrup recipe to make syrup out of any kind of tea. Like a chai syrup. Aw, man. I can’t believe I only just now thought of that. Chai syrup would be amazing.
Eggnog French Toast and Sugar Plum Spice Syrup
a pint of eggnog
2 Sugar Plum Spice tea bags
1 cup of water
2 cups of sugar
I will never waste food again
I've been tired of throwing out food for years - not to mention tired of our huge grocery bill! I decided to make a change and vowed never to waste food again. In this blog, I'll show you how I do it.