French Toast 2 Ways: Sheet-Pan vs. Soufflé | Melissa Clark | NYT Cooking
Home » French Toast 2 Ways: Sheet-Pan vs. Soufflé | Melissa Clark | NYT Cooking

French Toast 2 Ways: Sheet-Pan vs. Soufflé | Melissa Clark | NYT Cooking

Wait it's the morning have we had all of Our caffeine I mean I actually did I Have no Excuse hi I'm Melissa Clark and I here In the nyt cooking kitchen Studio to Bring you another episode of short cut Versus showstopper the brunch Edition Today I'm going to go through two entire Brunch Meals one simple easy but still Incredibly delicious and one over the Top spectacular a little bit harder and More timec consuming but you will learn Some techniques along the way and you Will give your friends and family a Blowout Meal for me honestly brunch is bagels And locks like I don't cook brunch I Order brunch brunch comes to me I lay it All out on platters that is my ideal Brunch but I have to tell you that my Family really likes the whole like bacon French toast thing so that is their Ideal brunch so sometimes we do bagels And locks and sometimes I make French Toast I I mean a french toast is a great Thing plus it has to have bacon and Because I'm a mom I have to have fruit Salad so to me that is the ideal brunch If we're not having bagels and Locks the shortcut brench menu is my Favorite recipe for French toast it's Brown sugar sheet pan French toast so The French toast is a star of the menu And then bacon of course sheet pan bacon

Really easy you just put your bacon out On a sheet pan and throw it in the oven Along with your French toast at the same Temperature so everything is ready at The same time and while that's cooking You can make a nice big fruit salad and I have flavored my fruit salad with Lemon and cardamom and a little bit of Sugar just to give it that extra special It's brunch it's not just a bowl of Fruit it's special feeling the the joy Of a sheet pan for this recipe is that It makes a lot you can make this entire Loaf all at once which is great so you Don't have to stand at the stove cooking Your French toast so I'm going to cut The bread fairly thick you know the Ideal for french toast is stale bread But I never have stale bread do you have Stale bread I feel like most of us don't Have stale bread but if you plan ahead Buy your your bread a few days before And just leave it on the counter Unwrapped and let it get stale because What that does is it lets the moisture In the bread evaporate and there's more Room for custard however I will just Tell you the truth I never do so I know It works almost as well without it I'm Going to soak my bread in a sheet pan Just because it'll all fit in one layer And that way it can absorb the custard Quickly evenly but if you don't have Room in your fridge for a sheet pan you

Can just do it in a smaller Bowl you Could do it in like a 9 by3 you just Have to flip it maybe an extra time to Make sure that the custard gets on all Parts of the bread yeah see one loaf of Hala cut into thick slices exactly fits In a sheet pen and all these little Crummy bits honestly you can just do That to make the custard I'm using whole Eggs for it all whole Eggs sometimes if I want to make it a Little bit richer I will use some extra Yolks and you can do that I mean Custards are really forgiving like There's not like a magic formula that You have to use this many eggs to this Much milk and you want to beat your eggs Before you add the milk so that you're Easier to Incorporate vanilla Extract cinnamon which I think is just Cinnamon and brown sugar is just one of Those ageold perfect combinations And salt you can flavor this however you Want that is it I'm going to just pour It right on top and put it in the fridge The best French toast I think needs to Be really saturated with custard and What you want to do is do it the night Before and then it'll be ready for you In the morning about halfway through the Soaking or at least like an hour before You want to cook it you want just want To flip all the pieces over so that they

Can absorb on the other side so you can See that the bread has soaked up all the Custard or most of it and we're going to Prepare the baking sheet so I'm going to Do the brown sugar butter treatment to This it's so easy it's such a it's like A cheaters caramel but it really works Well and you know what it is it's a Butterscotch this it's not even a Caramel it's a butterscotch which I like Just as Much Oops come back here I'm just a messy Cook that's the thing I feel like if you Clean your own kitchen you can be as Messy as you want you could do this in a Bowl but when you do this in a bowl and Then you try to transfer it it gets Sticky and it's I find find it harder to Do I find it easier to do it this way I Mean basically the point is you don't Want too many bald spots any bald spot On this pan is a piece of French toast That doesn't have its Topping I do have to say if you do use More yolks than whites you don't get That those snotty Strings something to consider so for the End pie these little end pieces you want To do cuts side down for maximum caramel Absorption and all of this brown sugar Around is going to Bubble Up and make This like lovely sauce that you're going To put on top so we're going to do 375

And it'll be ready in 20 to 30 Minutes bacon there are so many ways to Cook bacon and all of them are good the Reason that I like Chic pan bacon is Because you can make a lot of it all at Once you know you don't have to stand There frying it the stove and it also Gets really really crisp it takes longer But in the end I like bacon that doesn't Bend I'm like I like to Crunch it and it Should just like shatter the key to Sheet pan bacon is you must line your Pan either parchment or foil just to Make clean up easier the pan will clean Up if you don't do it it's just just It's less of a headache so line your pan First I don't cook it on a rack I have Tried that some people like to cook Their bacon in the oven and put a rack In the pan I don't find it gets it's any Crispier I think that leaving the bacon To kind of almost fry in its own Rendering fat gets you a better more Evenly cooked slice so but again if you Are using a rack and you like that just Keep doing what you're doing you want to Leave a little space in between your Bacon is going to shrink but it'll cook More evenly and more quickly if you can Spread it out evenly one pound of bacon You do need two sheet pans for one pound Of bacon cuz if you crowd it then it's Really it's going to take so much longer To Brown I feel like this isn't even a

Recipe this is like a cheat it's a Technique more than a recipe I guess my Daughter and I really like our bacon to Not Bend we like to pick it up and it Should be straight and completely crisp Completely cooked all the way through my Husband likes his bacon a little floppy Here's another thing about when you do Bacon on a sheet pan the center pieces Of bacon tend to cook more slowly than The parts at the edges of the pan Because there's a little bit less heat There so those pieces generally stay Floppy enough for Daniel and then the Edges are crisp enough for us so it all Works out here's another thing about Bacon in the oven any temperature it Doesn't matter what temperature your Oven is set at so if you are just making Bacon I like 400 personally sometimes I Want to put other things in the oven and My bacon just has to go along bacon just Goes along for the ride so if I have French toast in there no matter what Temperature I bake the French toast at The bacon is happy for this recipe I'm Doing 375 because that's the same Temperature that I'm going to bake the French Toast don't don't you need fruit salad Or brunch don't you need some like some Fruit is it just me as a mom when you're Having brunch especially if you're Having french toast and you're having

Bacon you need fruit you need like Brightness and juiciness to contrast With all the richness I wanted it to Just be a little bit more than just Fruit in a bowl so I'm going to make a Super simple lemon dressing I've got a Little bit of sugar just using a little Bit of ground cardamom you could use any Spice I love fruit and cardamom I just Think it's a great combination and then Lemon juice the acidity is going to Dissolve the sugar mix it up a few Minutes ahead of time so I'm going to Let this sit while I cut the fruit up It's going to give the acid a chance to Just dissolve everything I mean honestly You don't really have to measure at this Point air on the side of it being a Little bit sweet and then you can adjust It later so we'll just leave this here In case we need it so this is going to Hang out I'm going to cut up the [Music] Fruit I think probably this amount of Melon is going to be the right amount [Music] This is Daniel bacon it is beautifully Browned but it is floppy so I'm going to Take off this but I'm leaving the other Tray of bacon in the oven for people who Like it crisp I have actually at home I Have a designated really kind of standed Dish towel that I use for bacon we make A lot of bacon if this was my house

Instead of the nyt cooking kitchen Studio I would save that I have a little Jar and I save my Bacon fat in the Fridge and I use it for stuff it's Really amazing for sauté and greens um I Don't think we have one here a bacon jar A bacon grease jar maybe we should start One see even after today we're going to Have enough to uh sauté some greens Spinach sauteed and bacon greased is Delicious Okay and this is the extra crispy bacon Lovers bacon it bends a little now but As it cools down slightly it will firm Up that's my piece right on the edge Really dark brown love [Music] It who wants some Bacon so the showstopper menu is French Toast but it's french toast EX ra Instead of being just a classic slices Of French toast I'm doing a French Toast Casserole that is sued and it gets puffy And it has lemon sugar in it and gronet And then lemon sugar on top so it's just This beautiful puffy casserole we also Are going to do candied bacon crispy Delicious and then a gorgeous citrus Salad with rose water syrup pistachios And dates now because this is your show Stoper brunch we're going to add an Extra layer of flavor to the French Toast and this is actually a good idea In general for french toast if you have

Time is you want to toast the bread Before you start soaking it toasting it Caramelizes it it also removes some of The moisture the drier the loaf the more Easily it really soaks up that custard And the more custardy it gets and we're Going to toast this in a 375 degree oven For about 15 minutes I'm going to make Lemon sugar for this French toast which Is basically sugar with lemon zest and I'm going to smush it in and I'm going To enjoy the aroma therapy this is a Technique that I learned from Dory Greenpan who's amazing and it just works The lemon oil so the oil in the Citrus Zest into the Sugar now the mushing happens this is so Good this is just it just smells so good And then I'm just basically I'm just Rubbing with my fingers and the sugar Turns into the texture of damp sand Probably build a little sand castle with It could you not quite damp enough I'm going to save some of it for the Topping so I'm going to take out two Tablespoons and then the rest is going To become the basis for our custard Everything else just goes right into the Bowl for French toaster actually for any Kind of custard I'll you know add extra Yolks to the whole eggs but for this one I'm using all whole eggs because this is A sued French toast I want the actual Volume from the egg whites so I want

Them in there believe me it's plenty Rich you want to whisk up your eggs and Break them up before you add the rest of Your liquids it just makes it easier and They won't Splash as much so this is Whole Milk that heavy cream I Mentioned yum yum it's like you know When a recipe has heavy cream it's just Going to be a party yes heavy cream it Is a very large whisk this is way bigger Than my whisk at home it's like I feel Like this is like a Kenji whisk you Know actually would even do a smaller One that's yes yes yes that yes this is In proportion to My overall size this is A better Fit oh Perfect so that is nice and toasty this Is what you want a nice light golden Color you don't even need to flip it Because check it out it is toasted on The other side it can just cool down While we finish making the custard so I'm going to flavor this with a little Bit of nutmeg and and some granet I'm Going to use a tablespoon of the Ganier so now what I'm going to do is I'm just going to pour the custard on Top of the bread to let it soak in okay So I'm going to flip them now put it in The fridge and then I'm going to flip it In a couple of hours after it has Absorbed much but not all of the liquid

We have our soaked Hala and this is a 2 quart casserole Dish and some melted butter I'm just Going to butter the inside of the dish Which just encourages Browning and makes It you know buttery and then I'm going To use half of my lemon sugar in the Bottom of the dish and we're just going To fill the dish with our soaked Hala this is all lemon zest and I'm Going to just smear it on the top Because I want It going to bake it at 350 for 50 to 60 Minutes and then halfway through I'm Going to add the rest of the sugar to The top and then that way when it comes Out of the Ed it'll be a little Crunchy so how do you make bacon better I mean there's no way to make bacon Better it's just a perfect food but We're going to make it a little I don't Know like we're going to just add a Little Sparkle to our bacon by doing a Sweet and spicy candied bacon so I have Brown sugar light brown sugar I have a Little bit of cayenne just going to mix Them together you want it to be even Because you don't want any hot spots on Your bacon so like we did before I'm Just going to lay the bacon out on the Baking sheet this is a slightly thicker Cut on the bacon so it's going to need a Little more time in the oven I'm going To sprinkle this on top of the bacon and

I'm going to use all of it and I'm going To try to evenly distribute it there's So many different ways to make candied Bacon I've seen recipes that use maple Syrup and mustard instead of brown sugar And cayenne and that's great too maple Sugar is great you can add other spices If you don't want it spicy say you want It like spicy like sweet spicy You could add cinnamon you could add Nutmeg okay so for this recipe again Very forgiving anywhere between say 325 And 425 just watch it carefully and take It out when it's ready for this batch We're going to do 350 because that's the Temperature we're going to bake our French toast Out how do you make a fruit salad over The top so I decided that what I wanted To do was do a beautiful citrus salad With all these different textures and Flavors it has a rosew waterer demera Simple syrup chewy dates and then Crunchy pistachios on top and a little Bit of mint just to make the color pop Honestly also when you're using things Like blood oranges and tangerines and Grapefruit all together it's so Beautiful that it is absolutely show Stopping so we'll start with the syrup Dem rare Sugar and water equal measure and this Makes a runny um not too sweet not too Heavy simple syrup it'll be just right

For the fruit we actually always have Demara sugar syrup in our fridge this is Just like a regular refrigerator item For our household because we use it in Cocktails instead of regular sugar syrup Just adds that little something Something okay the sugar is dissolved You can see from the bottom there's no Sugar crystals left so rose water is Potent you want to go slow when you add It if you're rose water curious start With a half teaspoon this is a Tablespoon so I'm going to use about Half of it if you are not a rose water Person you can flavor the simple syrup With with vanilla oh a cinnamon stick in There would be really good or a couple Of cloves or some cardamom pods you have A lot of options for flavoring This now it's perfect some people don't Like rose water because it smells like Their grandmother's perfume but my Grandmother didn't wear Rose perfume so I am good and then I'm just transferring It here so it's easier to drizzle on top Of my fruit Salad okay so to do the citrus cut the Piff off and then we're just going to Cut the Citrus into rounds you can Really use any kind of citrus for this Salad the key is though I think you Should always have a combination of Oranges or grapefruits that you cut into Wheels and then tangerines that you cut

Into segments so you have different Textures okay now I'm going to cut it Into thin slices you want thin here so That they're easier to Eat get rid of any seeds as you go Nobody wants the Citrus seeds don't Worry if they fall apart by the way Doesn't matter [Music] Sorry the bacon was calling you can just Smell it you know when you start to Smell that irresistible bacon scent it Is time to go check your bacon one pan Was done this one is done the other one Needs a couple more minutes which gives Us lots of time for fruit [Music] Salad yeah bacon can hang out here's the Thing about bacon super forgiving if it Is ready before you ready to serve it Let it hang out and then stick it back In the oven if you want to heat it up a Little bit it might be the perfect Food look at that stunning yeah I mean The key here is the different shapes cuz That's what makes it look so pretty you Don't want to slice these too thinly you Want them to have a little bit of chew So and pistachios do you want the raw Pistachios because I want the bright Color you know the roasted ones are Really good roasted salted as a snack But for pastry and desserts the raw ones Are where it's

At and then as much of the syrup as you Like I'm just going to use a little of It and a little bit of flaky sea salt Grapefruit and salt is like the best Combination not too much just a little Bit here some mint so we just have to Wait for the French toast to finish Which will just be a couple more minutes And then we get to have brunch This is one impressive spread I mean Come on right this is amazing what is Brunch without a little bubbly right I Have classic mimosas orange juice and Champagne and then I have a little uh Treat for the showstopper I saved the Demera rose syrup and we're going to add It to the sparkling wine for a little Special showstopping brunch cocktail so The thing about this brown sugar French Toast is you want to serve it flipped Over so that the glossy brown sugar side Is up fruit salad and bacon I can feel How custardy it is when I cut into This I'm just using my hands cuz you Know it's my House okay I'm going to start with the Um the shortcut cheers French Toast you do not need any maple syrup on This this has everything it needs right In I forgot to do this but if you want You can just take some of the extra Caramelly bits from the bottom of the Pan and kind of just smear it right on

Top and what I love about it is the Softness of the Hala the way it's just Soaked up all of the [Music] Custard oh good I mean it's perfect Tastes like cardamom tastes like lemon It is not too sweet it just has the Right amount of sugar and it just cuts The Riches of the French toast and you Know [Music] Bacon bacon is always Good this is a delightful brunch it Wasn't that hard and now our showstopper So for the lemon sule French toast I Like a little bit of lemon on it taste It first to see if you do you may not This is sweet enough it does not need Syrup how ever if you wanted to put Maple syrup on it I'm not going to say No I love this so much and then just That little squeeze of lemon just that Little bit of acidity brings out the Lemon and the fruit Salad so good chewy dates Rose flavored Syrup but just a little bit it's just Such a beautiful light refreshing fruit Salad and then candy bacon [Music] It's like bacon but ever so slightly Better oh wow that's really good we just Made this up on set for the first time I'd never done this before this is Delicious I highly recommend it shortcut

Versus showstopper brunch Edition is so Fun it is all so good I don't know which I like better I mean this one you know It's a little bit more involved a little Bit more beautiful a little bit more Special but this one is darn good and You can serve this on any weekend and Everyone will be happy so cheers to you Happy rest of your day happy brunch [Music]

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