I feel like we all get spoiled in comfort of our own kitchens. We always keep our special staples on hand, and everything is always in its proper place when it needs to be found. Cooking in someone else’s kitchen is always a challenge, but I find it rather exciting, especially in my parents’ home. I love to cook breakfast for the family when I visit, but I never know exactly what is going to happen. Sometimes I arrive completely empty handed, other times, when I know my parents haven’t had time to grocery shop, I bring one or two ingredients to build from.
The challenge and thrill of breakfasts at my parents house, however, is scavenging for ingredients amongst my parents culinary choices. Sometimes I find some eggs and random vegetables and make omelets, other times, I can make some makeshift pancakes.
This weekend, I wanted to make some Challah French Toast, so I brought a loaf of Chocolate and Orange Confit Challah that I baked a while back and have been storing in my freezer for a special occasion.
I found eggs and half and half, so French toast was possible! However, no syrup was in sight, and my parents do not buy sugar regularly. I found some strawberries in the fridge and a lump of brown sugar that had solidified into a mound in the back of the pantry. Perfect! Butter and brown sugar strawberry sauce it is!
Today, I wanted to share my quick recipe for French toast, as well as the recipe for my Dark Chocolate and Orange Confit Challah.
Dark Chocolate and Orange Confit Challah
1/2 cup warm water
2 1/2 tsp yeast
3 1/2 cup bread flour
2 eggs + 2 egg yolks
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp butter, melted
6 oz dark chocolate shards
1 cup water
1 rounded cup sugar
1 orange, seeded, thinly sliced
1 tbsp water
- Combine sugar and water for confit in a small pot. Set half aside.
- Add orange to the remaining syrup and simmer for 3-5 minutes until softened.
- Strain our the syrup which will have become bitter and replace with the reserved syrup. Simmer 10 minutes longer. Cool.
- Mix water and yeast together. Leave 10 minutes.
- In a stand mixer, combine all except for the chocolate. Mix on slow setting until it comes together. Knead on medium setting for 3-5 minutes.
- Knead by hand on the counter for a few minutes.
- Take a dough scraper and make some cuts all over the dough.
- Add 1/3 cup strained orange confit and all of the chocolate shards. Cut with the scraper a bit more to break up the confit and some larger shards of chocolate. Work into a ball.
- Cover dough in oil and place in covered bowl. Rise in oven with pilot light on for 1 hour.
- Divide dough into three balls. Stretch and roll each ball into a plait.
- Line a cookie sheet with parchment. Braid your three plaits into a simple (or crazy complicated) braid and tuck in corners.
- Combine egg wash ingredients and brush on dough.
- Cover loaf with oiled plastic and let rise another hour.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees with convection fan on.
- Uncover loaf and bake for 20-30 minutes until golden brown and shiny.
Challah French Toast with Strawberry Sauce
1/2 loaf Challah, sliced into 9-10 slices
1 cup half and half, or milk
a few tsp sugar, if available
1 tsp vanilla, if available
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp butter
3 cups strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup water
confectioner’s sugar to serve, if available
- Whisk eggs, cream, vanilla, and sugar together.
- Soak challah, two slices at a time to absorb egg mixture.
- Heat some oil on a skillet and brown until golden on both sides. About 2 minutes per side.
- I soak the next batch while cooking. Repeat with remaining slices of bread. Add more butter as needed.
- Meanwhile, sauté 2 tbsp of butter in another skillet.
- Add strawberries and sauté for 4-5 minutes until softened and starting to juice.
- Add brown sugar. Cook until combined and sticky, 2-3 minutes.
- Add water and simmer until thickened again, 4-5 min more. Add a drizzle of orange or lemon if you have it.
- Serve sprinkled with confectione’s sugar.
Total cooking time: Challah 3 hours, French toast 30 minutes, serves 4 for French Toast