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Cheese-and-Marmalade French Toast Sandwiches

If you grew up eating plain French toast made from generic white bread, this decadent stacked version filled with cream cheese and marmalade is a revelation. To ensure the sandwiches cook through, first brown them on the griddle and then pop them in the oven to finish.  

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs 
  • 1 cup milk 
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange  
  • 2 Tbs. fresh orange juice or orange-flavored liqueur  
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 8 thick slices challah or other egg bread 
  • 1/2 cup whipped cream cheese, at room temperature 
  • 6 Tbs. orange marmalade 
  • Canola oil for cooking   
  • Unsalted butter, at room temperature, for serving  
  • Pure maple syrup for serving  

Directions:

Preheat an oven to 350°F.

In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, orange zest, orange juice and vanilla. Lay 1 bread slice on a work surface and spread with one-fourth each of the cream cheese and marmalade. Top with another bread slice. Repeat with the remaining bread, cream cheese and marmalade.

Preheat a griddle over medium-high heat until hot. Lightly oil the griddle.

One at a time, dip the sandwiches into the egg mixture and turn gently to coat evenly, keeping the sandwiches intact. Let stand until the bread has soaked up some of the egg mixture, about 30 seconds. Remove the sandwiches from the egg mixture, letting the excess drip back into the bowl, and place on the hot griddle. Cook until golden brown underneath, about 2 minutes. Turn the sandwiches over and cook until browned on the other sides, about 2 minutes more. Transfer to a rimmed baking sheet. When all 4 sandwiches are on the sheet, place the sheet in the oven and bake until the cream cheese melts, about 10 minutes.

Serve the French toast sandwiches immediately with butter and maple syrup. Serves 4.

Variation: Experiment with other fruit preserves, such as raspberry or apricot, in place of the orange marmalade.

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Breakfast Comforts, by Rick Rodgers (Weldon Owen, 2010).