|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 32g||41%|
|Saturated Fat 18g||89%|
|Total Carbohydrate 42g||15%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||4%|
|Total Sugars 15g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Buttery, fluffy brioche bread meets its match with the tang of the whipped cream cheese filling in this stuffed French toast recipe. While we love the classic French toast, when we want something with a bit more wow-factor for a holiday brunch, Mother or Father's Day breakfast in bed, or a special birthday breakfast, this recipe is the decadence we all deserve.
Play up the cream cheese filling by topping the warm stuffed French toast with berries, a dusting of confectioners' sugar, and a drizzle of warm maple syrup. The cream cheese adds richness with a tang that keeps this from being overly sweet. You can play with the flavors in this by adding spices to the custard (cardamom is a personal favorite) or stir-ins to the cream cheese before loading it into the bread slices. The addition of miniature chocolate chips to the filling makes for a creamy, melty chocolate interior perfect for a Valentine's day breakfast in bed (or an any-day breakfast in bed for the chocolate lover in your life).
"The French toast was delicious with the cream cheese filling, and it was an easy preparation. It's an excellent indulgent breakfast for a special occasion. The filling was tangy and not very sweet. If you like a sweeter filling, taste and add extra sugar to suit your taste." —Diana Rattray
6 (1-inch) slices brioche or challah bread, preferably day-old
8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon whole milk, divided
3 tablespoons sugar, more to taste, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
4 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon or cardamom, optional
1 tablespoons butter, or more, for the pan
Fresh berries or peaches, powdered sugar, maple syrup, additional butter, for optional garnish
Steps to Make It
Gather the ingredients.
Create a cavity for the filling in each piece of bread by laying one bread slice down on the cutting board and, using a butter knife or a paring knife, cut a horizontal slit into the bottom of the slice to create a pocket. Be careful not to cut all the way through to the top (and out the other side). Repeat with the remaining slices of bread.
In a medium bowl, stir or whisk together the softened cream cheese, 1 tablespoon milk, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Taste and add more sugar if desired.
Transfer the cream cheese mixture to a zip-close bag with the corner snipped or a reusable piping bag. Insert the tip of the bag into one of the slits in a slice of bread. Fill the bread with the cream cheese mixture the way you would fill a donut. Use a butter knife or small offset spatula to evenly distribute cream cheese inside and clean off the edge, as needed. Eyeball so that there is enough for each of the slices; repeat with remaining slices. Set aside.
Break the eggs into a wide, shallow bowl or pie plate and beat them lightly with a fork or whisk. Whisk in the remaining milk, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt. Add the cinnamon or cardamom, if using, into the custard.
Coat a non-stick skillet or griddle with a thin layer of some of the butter. Place it over medium-low heat until the butter begins to foam and sizzle.
Place the bread slices, one at a time, into the bowl or plate. Let the bread soak up the egg mixture for a few seconds and then carefully turn to coat the other side. Place soaked bread slices directly into the waiting pan. (Depending on the size of the pan and your slices, you may have to work in batches, so coat only as many slices as you will be cooking at a time to prevent soggy French toast.)
Heat custard-dipped slices in the pan slowly until the bottom is golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip and brown the other side, another 2 to 3 minutes. Do not overcrowd the pan.
Transfer finished slices to a plate; repeat with remaining slices of French toast, adding more butter to the pan as needed, until all slices are cooked. Serve with toppings of your choice.
How To Keep French Toast Warm
Keep cooked French toast slices warm in a 200 F oven, on a cooling rack set in a sheet pan, until ready to serve. The cooling rack will keep the French toast from getting soggy.
Variations For Filling
The flavor of the cream cheese filling can be anything you desire.
- 1/4 cup of crushed, freeze-dried fruit, such as strawberries or blueberries, mixed into the cream cheese filling is a great way to get a berries-and-cream flavor without adding additional moisture to the filling.
- Add 1/4 to 1/3 cup of mini chocolate chips to the cream cheese.
- Stir in the zest of one lemon or orange for a citrus punch.
- Cut the amount of cream cheese in half, and instead mix in 3 ounces of Nutella, peanut butter, or jam to make a swirled filling.
- For a boozy variation, replace the milk in the filling with the same amount of Kahlua, Bailey’s, or Amaretto. Because the filling will not be completely heated, it will still retain its alcohol content, so be mindful of whom you serve it to!
Variation Without Piping Bag
If you do not have a piping bag or zip-close plastic bag, or simply prefer not to pipe the filling, you can modify the recipe to create cream cheese filled "sandwiches." Cut the bread instead into 12 (1/2-inch) slices. Prepare the filling as instructed. Lay six of the slices on a cutting board and spread equal portions of the filling onto each slice of bread, staying close to the center of each slice and leaving about a 1-inch border around the edges so that the filling does not leak out. Top with the remaining six slices to create six cream-cheese-filled sandwiches. Proceed with the custard, dipping, and cooking as instructed. The filling may leak out a bit more with this method, so keep an eye on the French toast slices as you cook them.
Why is my French toast soggy?
French toast can become soggy if the bread soaks up too much of the custard or if there is too much milk in the custard.