Oh how I wish I could make these kind of breakfasts during the week; instead I stick to yogurt and granola and save the treats for the weekend mornings. This was exactly that: an awesome treat. I made French toast a couple months ago using Challah bread, and am convinced it's the absolute best bread for French Toast. It's thick, soft and perfect!
For some reason the strawberries from Central Market always taste better than ones I buy from anywhere else. Plus they're always huge! I sliced one cup of strawberries into bite size pieces.
Combine them with sugar in a medium bowl. Mix well and set aside for around 15 minutes. Take your cream cheese out of the fridge here so it's softened when you go to add it to the strawberries.
I cut four slices, two for me and two for C. I cut them pretty thick, because that's how I like my toast, but you can do whatever floats your boat! Once sliced to your liking, carefully slice a pocket into the center of each piece. Make sure not to cut all the way through to the other side. Heat the bread in a skillet over medium heat for a couple minutes on each side, then remove and let cool.
In a shallow baking dish, I used a 9x13 inch pan, whisk together egg and milk. Then whisk in the melted butter and vanilla.
Stir in the flour, cinnamon, and salt and whisk together until smooth.
To finish the filling, stir in the cream cheese until well blended.
Fill the pocket of each slice of bread with the filling. I will admit this was when I was getting a little worried these wasn't going to turn out well. I had to reach into the pocket and pull out some bread to make room for the filling. Even then it was messy and all over the place, and that's when I started calculating how long it would take to get to IHop, because I was hungry! Do your best, it won't be perfect and I had some filling leftover.
Place the filled slices of bread in the egg mixture, soaking for 30-40 seconds per side. Remove the bread and allow access to drip off. Add one tablespoon of butter to a heated skillet, and swirl to coat the pan. Add the slices of toast in a single layer. If you're making more than four pieces make sure you only work a couple pieces at a time so they don't get soggy. Cook until light golden brown and crisp, about 1-2 minutes per side.
Next time I think I will try and stuff a little more of the filling into these. I was worried it would fall out when I was cooking it on the stove, but as you can see it sort of sealed it off. These were very tasty, I added a little powered sugar on top, and didn't think they needed any maple syrup. The strawberry and cream cheese mixture went great with the challah bread. Breakfast of champions!
Strawberry Stuffed French Toast
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries
2 tablespoons sugar
4oz cream cheese, softened *I used fat free
4 thick slices of bread, challah or other soft Italian bread
1 large egg
3/4 cup milk *I used skim
2 tablespoons melted butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
maple syrup and powdered sugar *optional
To make filling, combine sliced strawberries and sugar in a medium bowl, and set aside for 15 minutes until cream cheese is softened.
Then stir in cream cheese until well blended.
To prepare toast, carefully slice a pocket into the center of each slice of bread, taking care not to cut all the way through to the other side.
Heat bread in a large skillet over medium heat for a couple minutes on each side, set aside.
In a shallow baking dish whisk together egg and milk.
Whisk in melted butter and vanilla.
Stir in the flour, cinnamon and salt.
Whisk until smooth.
Fill the pocket of each slice of bread with some of the filling mixture.
Place the filled slices of bread in egg mixture, soaking for 30-40 seconds on each side.
Remove the bread and allow excess batter to drip off.
Add one tablespoon butter to a heated skillet and swirl to coat pan.
Add the bread to the skillet in a single layer.
Cook until light golden brown, about two minutes on each side.
Serve immediately with maple syrup, powdered sugar or whatever you like!