Thursday, June 19, 2014

Orange Cardamom French Toast

There's breakfast and then there's breakfast. This is definitely the latter. If you've been good all week, eating oatmeal or fruit or granola for breakfast, then you deserve some next-level decadence on the weekend. Most omnivores (and even a few vegans) don't really understand how you even begin to veganize something like this. Everyone seems to have it in their heads that french toast just has to have eggs to be any good. It's actually pretty simple. Using a good vegan cream cheese yields a rich, thick batter. Tofutti makes a great one, as does Trader Joe's.

I also like to use different spices to make it a little more interesting. I'm on a big cardamom kick lately, so that's where this one went. Orange and cardamom go surprisingly well together, but if you're not a cardamom fan, feel free to omit it. You can also swap the cinnamon and cardamom quantities for a more traditional orange/cinnamon flavor, which is pretty great as well.

1 loaf of good sourdough bread, sliced thick

1 cup soy milk
1 cup vegan cream cheese
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
2 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp evaporated cane juice
2 tsp grated ginger
2 tsp orange zest
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cardamom
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees (or a "warm" setting, if your oven has one of those).

Combine all the batter ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour the batter into a wide, shallow dish.

Drop the sliced bread into the batter one slice at a time, turning it until completely coated. Let the bread soak the batter in a bit and soften up.

Put a skillet or griddle over medium-high heat and melt a nub of vegan butter. Carefully take the bread out of the batter, shaking it to release the excess. Gently drop the soaked bread into the pan.

Resist the temptation to turn it over when you think it should be turned. Trust me, it's not ready. You're looking for some caramelization and a bit of browning on the underside. That takes a little time. Don't turn the heat up too high, or it'll quickly burn.

Flip it over and...

There! That's what you're looking for. It may be a little wet in the middle still. That's okay, we're going to take care of that. Once both sides look like this, scoop it up with a spatula and move it to the glass dish in the oven. Repeat the process with the rest of the slices, putting each one into the oven with the others. Once they're ready, dust them with powdered sugar and serve with hot maple syrup.

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