One of the things I like most about French toast is that you can do so much with it, there isn’t just the one version. You can make your typical boring French toast (dip slices of bread into an egg batter and cook), you can make torrijas, the Spanish version, or you can make French toast sandwiches with an incredibly rich filling of cream cheese and marmalade.
I first tried out this recipe over the summer when we had friends over for brunch. The sandwiches were absolutely fantastic even if in the picture below they do slightly resemble croque monsieurs. One of the ways to cut down on the richness is to use low fat cream cheese which I always buy; trust me when I say the sandwiches were still plenty rich and sweet.
Yes, this is probably one of the most decadent versions of French toast you will probably ever come across but a little bit of decadence is needed once in a while, don’t you agree?
Cheese and Marmalade French Toast Sandwiches
recipe courtesy of Rick Rodgers’ Breakfast Comforts
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
8 thick slices challah or other egg bread
1/2 cup whipped cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons orange marmalade
Canola oil or clarified butter for cooking
Unsalted butter, at room temperature, for serving
Pure maple syrup for serving
-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Have ready a rimmed baking sheet. In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, orange zest, and juice, and vanilla. Lay 1 bread slice on a work surface and spread with one-fourth each of the cream cheese and marmalade. Top with another slice. Repeat with the remaining bread, cream cheese, and marmalade.
-Place a griddle over medium-high heat until hot. Lightly oil the griddle. One at a time, dip the sandwiches in the egg mixture and turn gently to coat evenly, keeping the sandwiches intact. Let stand until the bread has soaked up some of the egg mixture, about 30 seconds. Remove the sandwiches from the egg mixture, letting the excess drip back into the bowl, and place on the hot griddle. Cook until the bottoms are golden brown, about 2 minutes. Flip the sandwiches and brown the other sides, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to the baking sheet. When all 4 sandwiches are on the sheet, place the sheet in the oven and bake until the cream cheese melts, about 10 minutes.
-Serve the French toast sandwiches at once with butter and maple syrup (I did not as I felt the sandwiches were rich and had plenty of taste and sweetness to them).
Variation: Experiment with other fruit preserves such as raspberry or apricot in place of the orange marmalade (on my second time making them I actually used strawberry preserves)