I’ve been wanting to write this post for months. Ever since I made a batch of not-great lemon poppy seed muffins and turned them into absolutely great French toast, as a matter of fact. It was then that I realized “French toast” could be used as a verb. Muffins too dry? French toast them. Oatmeal too boring? French toast it. Underwear riding up your butt? Fren… well, that won’t help, but I bet someone on the Internet is totally willing to buy your French toasted underwear.
I hope this post inspires you to (vegan) French toast everything. got more French toast ideas? Leave them in the comments!
Vegan French Toast 101
French toast is pretty simple – mix together some eggs, milk & spices, dunk in some bread and griddle it up. Turns out, vegan French toast is pretty simple, too.
- For the classic(ish) version, start out with thick slices of a hearty bread – you might even want to opt for stale bread. I like to slice mine, then leave it out overnight. Fresh bread will soak up all the French toast goo and get too mushy.
- Brioche is the fanciest French toast bread, you can make a vegan version with this recipe. Otherwise, sourdough and (vegan) challah are good choices, too.
- Guess what? You can French toast ANY kind of bread (or pastry, for that matter)! For my Honkey Tonk French Toast, for instance, I use stale banana bread (and a peanut butter’d custard mixture). We’ll talk more about weird French toast in a bit.
This is my official culinary term for the junk you dunk bread (or whatever) in to make it French toast. There are a ton of ways to make the vegan goo you need to French toast stuff. Here are some of my favorites:
- With chickpea flour
- With chia seeds
- With pureed pumpkin (I’ve played with this a lot and subbed all kinds of things for the pumpkin, including peanut butter)
or, if you don’t feel like doing any of that stuff, you can buy a vegan French toast mix like:
- The Vegg – Vegan French Toast Mix (I use this all the time and it’s awesome!)
- VeganEgg from Follow Your Heart – just substitute for whole eggs as directed
For classic “goo” add a dash of cinnamon, nutmeg and salt to your mixture. Or, you can sass it up with mix-ins like:
Chai goo – cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, clove, black pepper
- Creamcicle goo – freshly grated orange zest and vanilla
- Other citrus goo – lemon, lime and even grapefruit zest make good add-ins, too
- Spicy cocoa goo – chocolate liqueur or extract, a pinch of cinnamon and a dash of cayenne powder
A final note about goo – some folks soak their bread in it for up to 20 minutes. I have never had the patience for this. I’ve waited as long as 15 minutes, and as little as 30 seconds per side. Ultimately, it’s up to you – just be sure that the goo has soaked all the way into the bread, and that your bread was stale/firm enough to not fall apart when you take it out of the goo.
Lightly oil your pan. I use a stove top griddle, but if you aren’t cooking for an army (read: Tony and Teno) you might be able to make your French toast in a pan. Some people like to use half butter and half vegetable oil, but since most vegan butter is just solid vegetable oil I don’t bother. I just use a little bit of coconut oil or canola oil.
Pre-heat your pan. I will say this again. Pre-heat your pan. You want the sugar in the goo to caramelize as soon as it hits the pan. So pre-heat your pan.
Cook each side until crispy and brown – three minutes each usually does the trick. If you’re making a bunch of French toast, you can keep a cookie sheet in a low-temperature (200 F) oven and throw slices in to keep them warm as you continue cooking.
By the time I get done making French toast I’m usually too lazy to do much more than slap on some vegan butter and maple syrup. But you can top and stuff your French toast with all sorts of things like:
fresh fruit ( duh)
- coconut whipped cream
- nut butter (heh) and or crushed nuts ( heh heh)
- vegan graham cracker crumbs and Dandies marshmallows
- vegan nutella and veggie bacon
- ice cream (Why not? Who cares?)
- baked apples and date caramel
Therefore, if you are interested in missionary position French toast (that’s what I’m calling regular French toast consisting of bread, goo and cooking) you could choose variations of the above and never eat the same French toast twice in your life. But, if you’re kinky, keep reading for the weird stuff.
Kinky French Toast
I’ve often said what I like best about cooking is that you can eat your mistakes. I am very quotable in that way. What I have said less often, but actually practiced in my real life very often, is that you can also French toast your mistakes. And then eat them. Here are some things I have French toasted, and how I did it:
Stale banana bread – I baked banana bread. Everyone seemed excited and ate a piece. Then seven more pieces sat around for a few days. I didn’t bake this god damn loaf of banana bread just to throw it away, so I French toasted it in peanut butter goo and called it Honky Tonk French Toast. I put the recipe in my cookbook and people were all, “Oh my god, Natalie, you are CRAZY” and I was like, “Crazy like a fox. Like a fox who didn’t want to waste that banana bread.”
Bad muffins – I made lemon poppy seed muffins. They were bad. Not like, disgusting-bad, just not good. They were kind of small and dry and didn’t have enough lemon flavor. I sliced them in half, french toasted the freshly-sliced side and people on Instagram were like, “I want to move into your house!” and I was like, “OK but get used to socks because Tony won’t let you wear your shoes in here.”
Cinnamon rolls – This was actually on purpose because I have never had a bad or a leftover cinnamon roll. I baked them, I let them get a little stale, and then I French toasted them. Make sure you don’t ice your cinnamon rolls if this is your intention or you’ll get your griddle super sticky and Tony will be mad at you forever about it.
A 33¢ bolillo – The market by my house sells bolillo 3/$1. Sometimes they’re made with egg whites, so read the ingredients, but the ones I get are just water, flour, yeast, salt and sugar and they are heavenly. I always buy three, but they’re huge and Teno eats like a bird which usually leaves me with an extra one to French toast.
Angel food cake – Technically, you can French toast any kind of cake. Even birthday cake, which I have done. But angel food cake is kind of the best because it’s perfect for soaking up goo and it goes stale about five seconds after you bake it.
Plain bagels – Listen, I didn’t say I was proud that I’ve made French toast out of all these things, I just said I have done it.
Donuts – Cake donuts work best for this for a couple of reasons. 1) You’re more likely to have leftover cake donuts than leftover raised donuts, that’s just science, I can’t help it. 2) Leftover, or stale, raised donuts are hella gross. Have you ever eaten one? What the fuck happens to them? It’s like they turn into angry bread. 3) I don’t remember what I was talking about. But you can make French toast out of donuts.
Croissants – I found accidentally vegan Croissants at my local market and got super excited and bought too many of them. Turns out, they were not great. I thought I could save them by French toasting them. It did make them edible, but I wouldn’t do it again. One thing I learned about myself while writing this post was that I have a hard time throwing bread away for some reason.
Waffles – You can technically do this, although with all the holes you’re going to have a tough time getting a good crust to form. Also, don’t waste your time making delicious, freshly made waffles into French toast. French toasting waffles is a good way to cover up the fact that you were lazy and bought frozen waffles.
Basically, if it’s kinda bready, you can French toast it. You could even make savory French toast with herbed breads and pastries, but that’s too kinky even for me. And I made the Falafel Waffle.
The Ghost of French Toast
Even when I am not making actual French toast, I like to make things taste like French toast. Here are some links to French-toast-flavored things you can make:
French Toast Sugar Cookies (vegan with some substitutions)
Basically, to make something “French Toast Whatever” just add cinnamon, maple and a pinch of salt. Try adding this combo to:
- quinoa (breakfast quinoa – it’s a thing!)
- coconut yogurt
- soy lattes
- literally everything
French Toast Your Entire Life
Now that you have covered your entire kitchen in goo and discovered that French toasted Olive Garden breadsticks are not delicious, here are some French toast-inspired items you may wish to own.
Buttered toast scarf (could easily be French toast, no one will ever know)
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