There are recipes for French toast dating back to the fourth century. It’s the poor man’s rib-sticking fare that makes use of all the things in the kitchen. It’s the kind of recipe Alton Brown might call, “refrigerator Velcro.” And it’s a household favorite for us.
So, what sets this apart? The combination of flavors: White chocolate apricot bread, Nutella, cinnamon and vanilla. This food is big on aroma.
My toddler decides what he’s willing to eat based on how it smells. When Drew was a baby we began playing the spice game. I take him to the spice cabinet, open spice jars for him and let him smell the wonders contained inside. Think of it – vanilla bean, cinnamon, saffron, coriander, dill, star anise, lavender, nutmeg, paprika, curry powder and more. Each is uniquely its own. Each can be foreign and challenging for a toddler. It’s important to me to introduce these aromas early and to inspire kitchen curiosity. His face lights up when he finds one he likes. He asks to play the spice game again and again.
We like to keep breakfast simple but big on flavor, and this two-step recipe is the ace in the hole. I can always count on my toddler to eat a hardy breakfast, especially where Nutella is involved. This is key when we’ve planned a day of big adventures.
Even better, little hands can be employed in the preparation phase. I had Drew pick cinnamon from a few other spices, based on smell. Then he scooped it with the teaspoon measure and put it into the batter. He did the same with the sugar and stirred away.
A loaf of pre-sliced white chocolate apricot bread
Nutella (Who doesn’t have this in their pantry?)
For the eggy dip, whisk together:
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla
Take two slices of bread, spread some Nutella and make the “chocolate sandwich”
Dip the sandwich in the eggy dip (both sides). Then, sauté over medium-low heat like you normally would a French toast, about 1 to 2 minutes per side or until golden brown. Cover the pan when you’re not flipping so that it heats through well.
I serve with maple syrup and butter. Drew likes his with a side of Loveaby Dragon by Barbara Joosse, a delightful picture book that we read together about a lonely girl who befriends a dragon who scares away the monsters and keeps her safe. The book reminds us that whether we are big or small, on the inside, we are all exactly the same size. And, after this breakfast, our insides are all warm and stuffed with stuffed French toast.
What was Drew’s favorite part? He got to lick the Nutella spoon. But hey, those are the perks of getting dirty in the kitchen.