Bagel French Toast
Anybody who makes French toast regularly will tell you that the trick to great french toast is using great bread. You want something sturdy that won’t fall apart in the custard mixture or on the griddle.
Flimsy loaves like Wonder bread are a joke when it comes to French toast. In fact, some of the best French toast I’ve had didn’t use sandwich bread at all. Thick pieces of challah bread or rustic sourdoughs are a good start.
I thought I would crank that theory to 11 and use the sturdiest bread I could find to make my French toast: BAGELS.
There is a lot of awesomeness about this Bagel French Toast recipe and it becomes extremely flexible because you can use any bagel you like. My favorite part though? Vanilla whipped cream cheese.
1) To make whipped cream cheese, combine ingredients in a mixing bowl and beat on medium-low speed with a hand mixer until the mixture is one consistency. It should be light and fluffy and will work best if you start with softened cream cheese. Store in the fridge until needed.
2) In a wide, shallow dish, whisk together milk, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt.
3) Cut bagels in half and let them soak in the custard mixture for about 30 seconds. Then flip them and let them soak for another 15-30 seconds.
4) Remove bagels from the mixture and let them sit for a few minutes so the custard can really absorb into the bagels.
5) In a large nonstick skillet or griddle, melt butter over medium heat. Once melted and bubbly, add bagels, cut-side down (you might have to do this in batches). Cook bagels for 4-5 minutes on the cut side and then flip and cook for another 3-4 minutes on the second side. They should be browned nicely on both sides and cooked through.
6) Serve bagel french toast immediately with a big schmear of whipped cream cheese, maple syrup, and strawberries on the side.
Bagel French Toast
Whipped Cream Cheese Is A Thing
Usually I would serve French toast with whipped cream and bagels with cream cheese so I figured it made sense to smash those two things together.
This creation was almost worth a post on its own. Softened cream cheese, cream, a pinch of sugar, and vanilla and you’re on your way to something special.
I used a hand mixer to beat the crap out of this until it was a softened, light consistency. Definitely thicker than whipped cream, but still airy.
You can still schmear it, but you’ll want to just eat it with a spoon.
You can use plain store-bought bagels for this recipe. No need to get something fancy because you are just going to soak them in custard anyway.
I would shoot to find some bagels that are on the smaller side since the recipe is so rich. You don’t need a huge New York style bagel for this recipe. Save those good bagels to eat as intended.
The custard mixture I used is pretty standard. Some milk, eggs, vanilla, cinnamon, a pinch of salt. I also used cinnamon raisin bagels for my version which worked great. You can use any bagel you want, but I would stick to the sweet side of the spectrum. I’m not sure how sun-dried tomato bagel french toast would be…
Whisk the custard mixture together well so it can be evenly absorbed.
Then just let your bagels sit in the mixture. Unlike breads which will get soggy after a few seconds, you can let these bagels sit for at least a minute. In fact, I recommend poking them with a fork to really let some of the custard mixture penetrate.
I let mine sit for about a minute in the mixture, flipping them once, and then I let them sit on a plate for a few minutes before cooking to really let the mixture soak all the way into the bagel.
You can cook these just like you would French toast! For me, that’s in a large nonstick skillet with about a tablespoon of melted butter over medium heat.
Let them cook for 4-5 minutes on the cut-side first.
Then give them a flip! Turns out I had my pan a bit off center on the heat so one of my bagels ended up a bit on the dark side!
Let them cook for another four minutes or so on the second side and then serve them up immediately with a good schmear of whipped cream cheese, syrup, and fresh berries on the side.
If you think about it, dense bagels are the perfect French toast vessel, so try this Bagel French Toast recipe out the next time you have a craving.
At a minimum, make the damn whipped cream cheese. Put it on everything.