Cardamom, Vanilla & Orange French Toast (in a skillet!)

12 Feb

Winter has finally arrived here in New England, in mid-February. Well, maybe there isn’t any snow yet, but it’s frigid out. The sunshine and blue sky are deceiving. All I want to do is to be outdoors somewhere enjoying fresh air, but I hear the wind and bare tree branches clicking, and instead of outdoor activities, I think about what there is for me to eat.

And it’s that time on a Sunday between breakfast and lunch, so of course, brunch ideas come popping in.

You guys know about brunch, right? I ask only because a few weeks ago we were out enjoying some brunchy delights in Cambridge, and the couple at the table next to us HAD NEVER HEARD OF BRUNCH.

“You mean we can get something from the breakfast menu or the lunch menu? And what’s this ‘Brunch’ menu here? Can you explain ‘brunch’ to us?” Really?!?! REALLY.

They talked about what a great idea this brunch thing was for about 15 minutes. It was all very serious. And equally as disturbing. The term “brunch” was coined in 1895. 117 years ago. Perhaps I should have mentioned having a “midnight snack” to them and completely turned their world lopsided.

Anyway, brunch.

I got to thinking about what I felt like eating on this cold Sunday. French toast was sounding good. But so was something baked. And here was where I had a craving for a baked brioche french toast with hints of vanilla, cardamom and orange. (Totally normal craving, I might add.) I bundled up for a quick trip to the store and fifteen minutes later was back home in the kitchen.

This was one of the simplest and quickest meals to put together. Cut up the Brioche into thick slices and set 1/2 of the loaf aside. With the other half, break up the remaining slices into quarters. Leave them in a pile for a moment.

Add together the rest of the ingredients in a medium sized bowl and mix. Drop the bread in and let it soak.

The great thing about this recipe is that you can use the soaked bread pieces immediately or you could let them sit overnight in the fridge. This way, when you wake up in the morning, all you have to do is put this mixture in an iron skillet or glass bakeware and pop it in the oven for a half hour while you wake up, take a shower, hit the snooze button, etc.

Once the soggy bread is in the skillet, place it in the oven. Thirty minutes or so later you have breakfast. And an incredible smelling kitchen! Seriously, you’ll want to roll around in this smell. It’s good.

Carve out a slice and add on some fresh whipped cream and/or maple syrup (the real stuff!). This will be an amazing breakfast/brunch experience right at home. And because of the cardamom, this dish will pair very well with a citrus based drink, such as lemonade, orange juice or Mimosa.


  • 1/2 loaf of brioche
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup of cream
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup of light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • zest of 1/2 an orange

To make:

Preheat oven to 350°F

Slice 1/2 of a loaf of brioche into thick slices. Break those slices up into quarter pieces. Place aside.

Add the eggs, cream, vanilla, sugar and cardamom together in a medium sized bowl. Add in the bread pieces and the zest of 1/2 an orange. Mix well and let soak until the bread absorbs all of the liquid, tossing periodically. (Should take about 5 minutes or so.)

Place the soaked bread mixture into the skillet or baking dish and bake in middle rack of oven for 35 minutes, or until browned on top.

Top with whipped cream, syrup and fresh fruit!


One Response to “Cardamom, Vanilla & Orange French Toast (in a skillet!)”

  1. frugalfeeding February 13, 2012 at 11:34 #

    I’ve heard of brunch, but I never EVER eat it. I like having them separately and definitely do not want both. This French toast sound amazing though.

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