French Toast Madness

By Mike
Thanks to all of you who tuned in for our Banana Bread quest that wrapped up this week, and congratulations to Doree, Sally, Sweet Caroline, Dawn, and all the other fantastic recipes we tried last year. With every end comes a new beginning, and we’re embarking on our next quest with our final recipe from Hong Kong, a Hong Kong-Style French Toast.

That’s right, this year we’ll be breaking down the world’s best French Toast recipes, culminating in an NCAA Basketball Tournament-style Final Four. See, with French toast, it’s not exactly simple to just make it, freeze a slice, then break it out when it’s time to pick a champion. So in the great spirit of college basketball, we’re going to test recipes throughout the year, then when March Madness rolls around next year, the selection committee is going to hole up in some secret location, armed with spreadsheets, data, stats, photos, and years of expertise. We’ll choose our Final Four entries, seed them into our tournament bracket, and square them off in a winner-take-all series of head-to-head matchups in a quest for that One Shining Moment

Now, no analogy to college basketball would be complete without rankings and pre-season hype. In last year’s quest, our preseason favorite (Doree) survived until the end. This year, my preseason favorite is Bermuda French Toast, though I don’t know if the rest of the voters feel the same way. As for ranking the rest of the French toast, well, I think it’s a little early for that. One thing’s for certain, though…Hong Kong Phooey is still #1 Super Guy.

And that brings us to our first French toast recipe in the quest: Hong Kong French Toast, which ranked #38 in last year’s “World’s 50 Most Delicious Foods” as culminated by CNN. French toast is generally pretty straightforward (probably why they make it all the time on Chopped) and this is no exception. It’s messier than most, though, thanks to the peanut butter.

Mr. N. helped slather it on both sides of the bread, nice and thick.

Then it was my job to try to manage the peanut buttered bread without getting the slices stuck together.

Miss A’s job was beating the eggs that we used to coat the French toast.

After that, we coated the peanut butter-covered slices in the egg and tossed them in a whole lot of butter. We used enough butter to fill about a quarter-inch of the pan, so it’s almost like deep-frying rather than just coating the pan to prevent sticking.

I cooked the slices for a fairly long time. They were really drippy and sloppy when I put them in the pan after soaking them in the egg mixture, and cooking them longer helped them stay together and firm up.
I think I would do two things differently next time if we make this again. First, I’d use chunky peanut butter for texture, and second, I’d leave the peanut butter spreading until right before the dipping. Mr. N did an exceptional job of coating them with peanut butter, but I did less well at keeping them from sticking to each other. The first two slices looked great, though, especially with the drizzle of golden syrup.

They came out with a little bit of a crust on them, which was really nice. The longer they cook, the more they crisp up.

There’s a ton of flavor in these, and they really don’t need much syrup with all the peanut butter, though the syrup certainly doesn’t hurt. They’re extremely filling too–two slices was more than enough even for me. Next time I just need to stop after two slices.

The final verdict: 3 spoons from Kristy and I, 2-1/2 from Mr. N and Miss A. It was good, but the bar on French toast is high, and it didn’t look like a contender to me. The peanut butter flavor is nice, especially in the first few bites, but it gets to feeling a little heavy pretty quickly.

So there you have the second recipe for our French Toast Madness (Bermuda French Toast being the first contender). We’ll be featuring many more French toast recipes throughout the next year, and similar to the Quest for the Best Banana Bread, we’re open to any suggestions and recipes you’d like to throw in the mix. Go Chief…I mean Bermuda French toast.

Print this recipe: Hong Kong French Toast

59 comments on “French Toast Madness

  1. [...] going to do some traveling, spend some time with friends and family and of course be working on our French Toast Madness event. In the meantime, we’ll post some pics of what we’re up to, some recipes [...]

  2. [...] – Pumpkin French Toast with Apple Cider Syrup. And yes, this latest challenger for our French Toast Madness, is as good as it [...]

  3. [...] Play, Love will appreciate my interest in french toast experimentation. They’re currently on the hunt for THE BEST french toast recipe and what they’ve come up with so far has been a tasty troupe of french toast fabulousness. If [...]

  4. Deborah says:

    I love your foodie competitions, and I look forward to the French toast recipes to come. I love that this one is a little different from the norm!

  5. Karen says:

    I will enjoy your new challenge for the best french toast. I guess I’m kind of boring but I really like mine on the simple side. Very crispy, just a little syrup and some powdered sugar.

  6. I have never thought about putting peanut butter on the bread before dipping. I have seen recipes that call for a fruit filling after the toast leaves the pan. This will be an interesting challenge to watch.

  7. Great idea to hold a french toast quest! I was drolling when I read your Bermuda French Toast recipe — I must make that one sometime soon. I just read a recipe for Donut French Toast in Nigella’s Express Cookbook. It might be a good one to try in your quest!

  8. Stefanie says:

    I loved your banana bread quest, and I love your new french toast quest!! I can’t wait to see what you come up with! This Hong Kong one looks delish…

  9. Frensh toast sounds like a great challenge.
    My kids just love it and I can’t wait to explore all the recipes you’ll be making

  10. I remember thinking in college that if only I could get married and wake up each morning and make french toast! LOL! It is my favorite breakfast food EVER! Sad to say though I don’t make it nearly enough- this has got to stop though- you have made me crave it now! Looks amazing

  11. Kate says:

    French toast is something I enjoy at least once a week yet never really seem to talk about.Beautiful and inspiring as always! Yum!

  12. I love French toast! I have many versions but don’t think I’ve posted one yet. PB is one of our favorites and we also have done PB and J french toast! I look forward to your french toast adventures and I agree wiht the other’s, you gotta try Courtney’s Creme Brulee French Toast! I’m going to go check it out right now!

  13. Sydney Jones says:

    I haven’t had French toast in years, I really want to try some stuffed French toast….Your above suggestion sounds right up my alley :)

  14. What a fabulous new smackdown food. French Toast! Gotta love it. This one did have promise but I can see how the peanut butter would get heavy. Thanks for always being honest with us about your spoon review. We readers appreciate that!

  15. What a delicious looking plate of French toast! I think I know what I’m making for breakfast next weekend… Thanks for sharing. You have a very nice blog and I’m glad to have found you!

  16. Purely.. Kay says:

    Hey Mike.. it’s great to see you around here again :). Now I have a question for you about this wonderful french toast recipe.. do you think they will go better with jelly than syrup? Yes, the PB&J kid in me was thinking about that lol. But I think the french toast looks delicious and would love to see what you do differently if you make these again

  17. spicegirlfla says:

    I was wondering if you’d be picking another challenge!! French toast is a good idea, many possibilities and easy to freeze and reheat! I’m looking forward to seeing lots of yummy recipes. I like what Courtney offered..hope you make that one!!

  18. Yum! These look delicious! :D The PB is a new addition to the toast I haven’t come across before :)

  19. You would think that PB would produce an incredible FT, Mike, and I wonder if it had been stuffed with a combo of PB, cream cheese and confectioners sugar if it would have garnered more spoons? Slathering on the outside is a bit strange, no matter how expertly done by Mr. N. The lyles golden syrup is quite sweet, but would go well with PB. I am sure looking forward to the other FTs in the coming months.

  20. Charles says:

    Haha, I’m not sure if I could handle that much French toast as you’re going to be eating over the next few weeks :D

    Still, I think my wife has a nice recipe – I’ll ask her about it. The addition of peanut butter is curious for me… I could never understand the whole peanut butter love that a lot of Americans seem to have – I recently found out that apparently a lot of peanut butter in the US is sweetened. Makes a bit more sense now, because the stuff we have here is completely unsweetened and kinda salty.

    Also – yay for Golden Syrup. Make some porridge and have it with cream and golden syrup – you haven’t lived until you’ve tried that!

    • ChefDad says:

      I don’t think our peanut butter is terribly sweet, but just a little to take the edge off I guess. I’ve had unsweetened peanut butter, I don’t think it’s as good. Healthier though, I suspect.

  21. Awesome – French Toast Quest – brilliant choice! You can’t beat Lyle’s Golden Syrup, it is the best! :-) Mandy

  22. Caroline says:

    If you want a perfect HK style brunch/breakfast you should have your French toast with a proper HK style milk tea. Black tea with either condensed milk or evaporated milk. Classic HK combination (:

  23. This is so cool. So many options. I say no banana ones for awhile. Hee, hee. I know, I’m in the minority on that one.

  24. Eftychia says:

    Yummy, yummy, yummy! I can even taste this…

  25. Dawn says:

    Kristy – such a great idea with the French Toast – I just love your process!! I never thought about making french toast with peanut butter, but it actually looks amazing, but then again, pretty much anything with peanut butter for me is amazing.

  26. Oh my… nothing like the sight of golden syrup and melting butter on bread… the peanut butter twist is fabulous in this version – I love that it adds protein (not to mention yumminess), to a carb rich dish. Your photo is great too Kristy. I’m looking forward to following your French toast adventures…. p.s. I hope you make Courtney’s creme brulee version…OMG ;).

  27. I am looking forward to a new year filled with new exciting recipes:) :) this looks very good:) :)

  28. Courtney says:

    I love french toast and am so excited to see who wins… (btw, I have an amazing recipe for you, and I’d be honored if you tried it: Creme Brulee Baked French Toast http://cookingmisadventures.com/2011/10/11/creme-brulee-baked-french-toast-2/ ) I am very intrigued by the peanut butter in this version, I do have to say. And it’s fun to see you, Mike, posting! I finally got my husband to post a couple weeks ago and it was very fun. :)

    • ChefDad says:

      We’ll certainly try it. And glad to see your husband jumping in with a solid effort in his debut.. I like doing it, but best if I keep it on an occasional basis.

  29. ChgoJohn says:

    At first read, I though that these would be some of the best French toast ever made. Your critique, though Mike, makes perfect sense and I’d probably walk away with the same feelings about the dish. The first few bites are great but, after that, the thrill is gone, so to speak. Still, there’s a whole lotta tournament ahead. And that means plenty of great French toast on the horizon. :)

  30. A_Boleyn says:

    You must be really fond of french toast to go through another of these marathon sessions … or just a little OCD. :) In any case, I’ll enjoy your journey vicariously and look forward to the final judgment in the months ahead.

  31. sallybr says:

    AWESOME! I will be following your new adventure, all ears – rather, all eyes…. :-)

    Now, would you believe if I told you I’ve never had French toast? Are you there? Did you faint? Need some smelling salts????

    yeap. Pretty amazing, but true. Actually, I’ve never had waffles either. Gotta fix these handicaps, so once March Madness comes, I promise to make your winning recipe AND blog about it! There. Commitment made in public!

    • ChefDad says:

      I didn’t faint, but I have to say I’m filled with sadness that you could have missed the wonders of french toast. I’m sure we’ll find a good one for you.

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