This is the brunch dish you would order if you were eating at the best diner or the fanciest brunch spot in the city. And yet you won’t need to leave your house (or change out of your pj’s!) for this!
You know the saying ‘The sum is greater than the total of the parts’? Where if 1+1+1+1 should equal 4 but instead it doesn’t. It equals 6. Where each item is amazing on it’s own, but when you put them all together, they create something stupendously greater than expected. This dish is the food equivalent of that saying.
French toast is wonderful, in an old fashioned way. Fresh in-season peaches are amazing. Salted Bourbon Caramel Sauce is obviously fabulous. And Gingerbread Granola is cozy and comforting and crunchy in all the best ways. But when they all get together to party on one plate, well, I just can’t explain how happy your taste buds will be. Mine were ecstatic! This dish is why peaches, french toast, caramel sauce and granola were invented.
And with just a touch of planning you can have this for the next lazy morning breakfast. Or breakfast/brunch any day of the week.
The first thing you’ll want to do is make up a batch of my Gingerbread Buckwheat Granola. This is my go-to, gluten free granola that is a staple year round in the breakfast cupboard. (Yes, we have a cupboard in the kitchen dedicated to everything breakfast. All our breakfast cereals: buckwheat, quinoa, etc are stored in glass jars on one shelf. All the nuts and seeds etc that would get sprinkled on top are there. The protein powders, maca, collagen powder etc, and everything that goes into smoothies is stored there as well) This granola is cozy, fragrant, and chockfull of nuts, seeds, and uses only maple syrup for a sweetener. It lasts quite a while in the jar, so depending on how many in your family and how often you eat it, it will keep you going for a while. And if you are looking for a crunchy streusel type topping or addition for apple crisp or muffins, try this granola, it works perfectly!
The next thing you will need to make is my Salted Bourbon Caramel Sauce. It is earthy, smokey, and the perfect balance of salt to sweet. It is the most amazing shade of mahogany or whisky. I can eat it with a spoon (but I try not to) It lasts quite a long time. But between ice cream, slices of cake, or in pie filling, you will find all sorts of uses for it. Obviously the alcohol has been burned off in the process, but if you have a young family, you could omit it, with lovely results anyway.
How to make Classic French Toast: Once those two are made, you can get started on breakfast. This is the easy part. It is really a custard textured bread when it done- on it’s way to becoming a bread pudding. A quick batter of eggs, milk (nut or dairy free is fine, but if you are using a thinner milk like these ones, you may need an extra egg) cardamom bitters, cardamom powder, and a splash of bourbon (again, optional if you are feeding young ones) is all you need to whisk up. I usually find that a ratio of one extra large egg and 1/4 cup of milk or cream is enough for two slices of bread. For the bread, I usually use panettone (when it is in the stores I buy extra, slice it up and freeze it for french toast) brioche or challah. These breads soak up the batter and become so soft and fluffy as they cook up. Sliced peaches will be quickly sautéed in butter and a dusting of cardamom powder. In the same pan you will sauté up the soaked bread. While this is happening, spoon some of the caramel sauce into a small pan and let it warm through over low-ish heat. This will help it become runny so that you can drizzle the french toast and peaches with it. You’re going to find that there is no sugar in this recipe, save for the caramel sauce. It just doesn’t need it. If you are using brioche or panettone, they are already sweetened. The peaches are sweet. And of course the caramel sauce is sweet enough (even though it has the best saltiness to it!)
French toast is probably one of the early things my mom taught me to make. It’s easier to make than pancakes. And the time on the stove is really minimal. But it gave me a great start in watching something on the stove, and monitoring how long it took before it was time to flip the slice of bread over. To this day, I probably like french toast even more than pancakes!! The quick soak in the eggy batter and the time on the stove is more immediate and rewarding than having to make up pancake batter and fry up pancake after pancake. It really is a dish that you can make just one serving up of. Perfect for those mornings when I am just cooking for me. And I thank my mom for this one!
The recipe for this french toast is really a classic recipe that will work even if you just want to make some up to go with berries or maple syrup. Truly, brioche or panettone are your best choices for soft, fluffy results. You obviously don’t need to add the bourbon. But why not replace it with some orange juice, or 1 tsp of vanilla? If you are using orange juice, 1 tbsp of grated orange zest in the batter will be wonderful. Because this recipe is a classic that everyone needs in their arsenal of breakfast staples, it will will not only be in the Breakfast category in the Recipe Index, but you will also be able to find this in the Pantry section of the blog.
Then it is just a matter of assembly. A couple of slices of bread on your plate. Spoon some of the peaches on the bread. Drizzle the bread and peaches with some of the caramel sauce. Garnish with a sprinkling of the granola. And you have just entered brunch paradise!!
While the peaches are in season, this is a fantastic way to use some for breakfast. We’ve already cobbler’d, pie’d, crisped and canned enough peaches. Why not french toast some as well?! But when the peaches have left us, try this same recipe with pears!! Or apples. All the flavours, the cardamom, the bourbon, the gingerbread will work amazingly with apples or pears. So this will become the best winter brunch dish as well!
Cardamom Peach French Toast with Bourbon Caramel Sauce
Cozy brioche french toast is covered in cardamom sautéed peaches and a smokey salty bourbon caramel sauce. Crunchy gingerbread granola adds some crunch for contrast. The best of brunch, this will work in the winter with pears or apples
- 4 tbsp Gingerbread Granola see Notes for link to recipe
- 2/3 cup Salty Bourbon Caramel Sauce see Notes for link to recipe
- 8 slices of brioche or panettone bread, sliced thickly average sized, adjust if the loaf is smaller than you would like
- 4 extra large eggs
- 1 cup whole milk you can replace this with any nut milk. You can also make it richer by replacing some of the milk with heavy cream
- 1 tbsp bourbon
- 2 tsp ground cardamom
- 5 dashes of cardamom bitters optional but oh so lovely to add
- 4 tbsp butter, divided
- 4 large fresh peaches
- 2 tsp ground cardamom
- 2 tbsp sunflower or coconut oil or grapeseed oil.
Heat the bourbon caramel sauce in a small pan over low heat, till it is loose enough to drizzle over the peaches and toast. Set aside.
In a wide shallow dish, whisk the eggs, milk, bourbon, cardamom and bitters till frothy and well combined.
Heat a wide non stick pan over medium high heat. Add 2 tbsp butter. Once melted and starting to bubble, add the peaches in one layer (or as close to as possible)
Let the peaches start to warm through in the butter. Turn and sprinkle the cardamom powder evenly over the peaches. When they are warmed through and softened just a bit, transfer them to a bowl.
In the same pan, add the remaining butter and the oil and warm it through. While waiting for this, start soaking your bread slices.
If the pan is too small, do this in batches. Place the bread in the egg mixture and let it sit for about 8-10 seconds. Turn to let the other side soak in some of the egg mixture.
When the oil is ready, toast the bread in batches. Leave enough room so that you can turn them over. The heat should still be at medium high. Adjust if the bottoms are browning too quickly. You should only need to cook the first side for about 2 minutes. Turn over and cook the other side for another 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. You want the egg mixture to have set and the bread to be cooked through. Adjust this time for the type of bread you are using. It will also be affected by how long you left it soaking up the liquid.
Remove the toast to waiting plates. Two slices per person.
Spoon some of the warmed peaches over the toast. Drizzle with some of the caramel sauce.
Garnish with the granola.