Cherry-stuffed French Toast

Happy National French Toast Day!

French toast rocks my socks. Sugar and spice bread for breakfast? It’s genius. I used to be the type of person who enjoyed my French toast plain with a little bit of syrup, until my husband and I stayed at Country Hermitage Inn, a bed and breakfast in Traverse City. The inn keepers made us the most delightful breakfasts each morning, one of them being a cherry stuffed French toast. It was probably the best French toast I’ve ever had.

I’m almost positive they chose to stuff their French toast with cherries because most of Michigan’s cherry production takes place in Traverse City. There’s actually a place called Cherry Republic that we visited while we were in TC that sells all things cherry – it was awesome. Cherry salsa, pie, chicken salad with cherries. You name it, they’ve got it, but with some sort of cherry spin. More importantly, TC is also known for its beautiful wineries. If you’re looking for a place to visit for a long weekend in the Summer or Fall, I’d highly recommend visiting. There’s so much to do and the sites are serene and beautiful.

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Now that I’ve channeled my inner Tim Allen, it’s time to talk about this French toast. This recipe calls for thick slices of sour dough bread sliced in the middle to be stuffed with a cream cheese and cherry mixture. The secret ingredient that makes this French toast unlike any other is the couple teaspoons of almond extract added to the cream cheese/cherry mixture. It adds such a sweet flavor! The bread is soaked in an egg and cream bath and then transferred to a griddle or pan where it gets nice and crunchy on the outside.

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The cherries, almond and crunchy bite of the bread always bring me back to our relaxing trip to Traverse City, when it was just the two of us. I loved all of the memories we made on the trip and hope we can go back in the next couple of years. It’s been one of my favorite vacations so far.

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If you end up making this cherry-stuffed French toast, don’t forget to tag #marinamakeseats!

Cherry-stuffed French Toast

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

  • Loaf of sour dough bread
  • 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup of frozen cherries
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 1 tsp of almond extract
  • 5 eggs, beaten
  • 3/4 cup of half and half
  • 1 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 1-2 tablespoons of butter

Directions

Cut about 3 inch thick slices of bread out of the loaf and cut each one down the middle, without slicing all the way through. This will create a pocket for the filling.

With an electric mixer, mix the cream cheese, cherries, sugar and almond extract until combined. Fill each slice of bread with a tablespoon or two of filling. Set aside in a large baking pan.

To create the custard egg bath, whisk the eggs, half and half and vanilla together until combined. Pour egg bath over the bread in the pan and let it soak for about 45 minutes, flipping the bread over about half way.

After the bread has soaked, heat a skillet or large frying pan over medium heat and melt about a tablespoon of butter (use less or more depending on the size of your pan). Once the pan/skillet is warm, place bread in the pan and let it cook until brown on one side. Flip and repeat until the other side. Repeat with other slices of bread.

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