What to CookBreakfast

The Optimal French Toast is Crusted in Cereal

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Your French toast will be soggy no more: We partnered with Annie's to share a cereal-crusted version that brings the crunch—and a chance to win $475 for your dream breakfast setup.

The problem with French toast is the monotonous sop—or, on the opposite side of the spectrum, the dry sponginess. (You know you have this when a knife rubs against the bread like it's a foam mattress.)


But, by taking the time to add an extra step, or maybe two, to your usual method, you'll achieve a multidimensional French toast: not just custardy, but snappy, too.

Sesame-Coconut Crunchy French Toast
Sesame-Coconut Crunchy French Toast

Here's how: Dip thick slices of challah in eggs and milk (I use buttermilk for tang), then gently press it into a crumble of dry, crunchy ingredients (like cereal and nuts), using a spoon or your fingers to make sure the pieces have really adhered. Send the slice for a second dip into the wet and dry mixtures to ensure the shaggy outside really stays on, then fry in a skillet as usual.

Go French toast, get custardy, get crunchy.
Go French toast, get custardy, get crunchy. Photo by James Ransom

A few pointers: You want to make sure all of the dry ingredients are fairly crushed. Big pieces won't stick to the bread quite as easily. Don't get the heat in the skillet too high or you'll risk burning the somewhat delicate seeds and coconut shreds. And be sure, between slices, to remove any parts of the crust that fall off as you've flipped—those can smoke and burn.


Other ideas for customizing your crunchy French toast:

How to Make Fruit-Flavored Whipped Cream, White Chocolate & More

How to Make Fruit-Flavored Whipped Cream, White Chocolate... by Alice Medrich

How to Make Vanilla and Lavender Extracts at Home

How to Make Vanilla and Lavender Extracts at Home by Trisha Jones

  • Add ground spices: cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg—or go totally savory and try za'atar, smoked paprika, coriander
  • Extracts, too (whisk into the liquids): lemon, almonds, vanilla, rosewater, orange blossom water
  • Use pulverized granola as your base or a mix of your favorite cereals (or the boxes you have around)
  • Mix in freeze-dried fruit powder for strawberry or blueberry French toast
  • Throw in more nuts (sliced almonds, chopped hazelnuts)
  • And more seeds: poppy, black sesame, chopped pumpkin or sunflower
  • If your egg-milk mixture is unsweetened, add a tablespoon or two of raw sugar to the dry ingredients for sweet pops
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Sesame-Coconut Crunchy French Toast

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Serves 4
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 splash vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch salt
  • 1 cup flaky cereal, crushed
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup sesame seeds
  • 4 thick slices challah (1/2- to 3/4-inch thick)
  • Butter, as needed for frying
  • Zest of 1 lemon, for garnishing (optional)
  • Fresh fruit, for serving (optional)
Go to Recipe

Annie's is debuting three brand new cereals this summer, and they're also giving away $475 for your own dreamy breakfast tablescape—put your name in the hat here!

Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Tips & Techniques