It's hard to whip yourself into a frenzy over scrambled eggs or buttered toast when there's bûche de Noël to be had. But you must nourish yourself (breakfast is the most important meal of the day), and there's no reason why it shouldn't be absolutely weak-in-the-knees delicious.
Enter gingerbread French toast. A simple update of classic French toast, this recipe combines traditional gingerbread spices (cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and nutmeg) with milk and eggs. Soak your bread in the spiced liquid, then cook it in a hot pan until it gets crisp and browned on both sides.
Using butter and oil to cook the toast gives it a more even browning and better flavor than using just one or the other. And while you can use any bread you have on hand, a soft bread like brioche is ideal.
The inside is soft and custardy, the outside crunchy and buttered, and the spices are reminiscent of sweet, fragrant holiday baked goods. Top it with butter, confectioners' sugar, or maple syrup.
If you happen to have guests anytime this holiday season, I highly recommend feeding them this French toast for breakfast. Double the recipe to make enough for a crowd and they'll be clamoring for more when the last slice is gone.
Adapted loosely from Pepperidge Farm
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
6 3/4-inch thick slices bread (brioche, challah, or Pullman)
2 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons oil, divided
Photos by Posie Harwood and James Ransom