Aunt Cheryl’s Challah Bread French Toast (or: Play Tetris for Breakfast)

I’m an impatient cook, and I’m willing to bet that most beginners are. And after the improbably positive outcome of making candy glass despite all signs pointing to the worst, it’s easy to see why I’d be hesitant to work with corn syrup again, but everyone, I assure you that this one is worth it.

I won’t go into wistful recollections of my aunt’s Christmas brunches gone by, because that’s not what we’re about here. What I will say, though, is that even if you say something terribly untoward during the meal, no one will remember because they’ll be talking about this…or lapsing into hibernation afterwards.

Challah bread french toast isn’t really new, but this recipe- which needs to sit overnight before you bake it to achieve peak sweet gooeyness- is special. It requires no syrup because you practically make it right in there (though of course, if you want to add syrup, I will literally be the last person on the planet to stop you). It incorporates an eggy mixture so you do get a fluffy egg taste in there. It gets a crispy golden sheen that shouts “someone made me with love!” and, more importantly, it helps you with that mid-afternoon food coma everyone loves.

The key to getting it crispy, of course, is the foil. Well, actually, because I’m not Alton Brown, I’m not really sure if covering it is what makes it crispy, but that’s what I tell myself. Cover the dish for only part of the time it’s in the oven.

I usually make two batches of this in two 9×13″ baking dishes, and arranging thick slices of challah bread so they fit in there is basically like playing Tetris, except that when you’re victorious, instead of this:

tetris

You get this:

after

So there you have it. Christmas brunch, served up every year by my aunt:

Aunt Cheryl's Lemme Challah French Toast

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Time: 1 hour prep, overnight refrigeration, 45 minutes baking
  • Print

Ingredients:

  • 1 TBSP light corn syrup
  • 1/2 cup butter (preferably room temperature)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 loaf of Challah Bread

GO AHEAD, MAKE MY BRUNCH:

  1. Cut challah bread into 1.5″ thick slices.
  2. Combine corn syrup, butter, and sugar over medium-low heat and simmer until syruppy. (Note: I don’t really have a foolproof gauge for this. Usually the butter melts, the sugar dissolves, and the whole thing gets a little thicker and that’s enough for me, because it thickens more when you refrigerate it.)
  3.  Pour the corn syrup mixture, still hot, into 9 x 13 baking pan, making sure it’s evenly coating the bottom of the pan.
  4. Layer the challah slices on top of the syrup without overlapping them.
  5.  Beat together eggs, milk, vanilla and salt.
  6.  Pour the egg mixture evenly over and in between the slices (don’t forget the corners of the pan.)
  7. Cover and place in refrigerator overnight.
  8.  When ready to cook, bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees, covered with foil for the first 15 minutes and uncovered for the remaining time.

Pro tip: Challah actually freezes really well, so if you don’t get it in your stores regularly, take it when you see it and pop it in your freezer.

Feel like a winner. Make this French toast.

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