About Classic Strawberry Stuffed French Toast
When I was brainstorming about what I should write for this post, my first inclination was to talk about Mimi’s Cafe. Because for a very long time, that was my absolute favorite place to go to breakfast. Between the prohibition-era vibe to the super indulgent menu to the fact that it was a 5-minute drive away from our house (best reason of all), I’d be hard pressed to find something I didn’t love about Mimi’s.
The only problem?
The Boyfriend wasn’t the fan of it that I was.
So if I was ever lucky enough to find myself browsing a Mimi’s Cafe menu before 10 AM, it usually meant it was my birthday or our anniversary or I had done something super awesome and deserved a reward.
Or I won a bet.
That is, until the Mimi’s Cafe near us suddenly closed its doors. And when I found out, I was absolutely heartbroken. It’s been almost a year since “that day” and I still get a little of that stomach-dropping feeling whenever I catch sight of the deserted building, windows boarded up and a shadow of the old logo in the peeling paint.
But why am I telling you all of this? Well, because one of my most favorite things to order at my most favorite restaurant was their stuffed french toast. And even though I had to battle through a couple different menu changes, I was always able to “work something out” with the waiter so I’d have the same glorious meal every time: stuffed french toast, strawberries, and syrup. And once I was sure my breakfast was in good hands, I’d enjoy a Sparkling Strawberry while waiting for the food to arrive.
Sniffle. Oh, how I miss those days.
But because it’s been nearly a year since I’ve had my beloved strawberry stuffed french toast (yeesh!) I figured it was high time I quit my sulking and fixed the dilemma myself.
Because, food blog. That pretty much negates all the arguments I would have to keep dragging my feet about not getting in the kitchen and making it happen.
It also didn’t hurt that I’d just made my very first loaf of french bread (completely from scratch!) and I was itching for some fancy way to eat it. And maybe it’s just the southerner in me, but I couldn’t think of anything more fancy than bread, cream cheese, and fruit.
Okay, so that seemed a little more glamorous in my head than it looks in text, but I’m sure you understand. I mean, you’ve read this far, right?
I’ve made french toast before – and I’ve even got a favorite bake-in-a-dish version that I whip out whenever we have company over before 11AM – but this is the first time I’ve attempted stuffed french toast.
For some reason, I had it in my mind that it would be this ultimate test of dexterity and wits, but I learned that the real trick is just to resist over stuffing the bread with cream cheese goodness. Because as glorious as that sounds like it would be, there’s a 95% chance that all that extra filling will end up oozing out and sizzling on your skillet.
I know this because my dreams were shattered when it happened to me. Four times.
I was more conservative with the cream cheese on my next attempt, and the results were… well, you’ve seen the pictures. And honestly, the balance of the filling was much better with a “less is more” approach, anyway. Because really, just look at this. This is what you want for breakfast.
The vanilla is subtle, the cinnamon adds depth, and the strawberries bring some seasonal flair. I have a pretty good feeling this will be a staple in my morning routine going forward! But, don’t worry Mimi’s Cafe – you will always hold a special place in my heart, even as I work my way toward replacing you. You’re the one who left me, after all.
Classic Strawberry Stuffed French Toast
Strawberry & Cream Cheese Filling
Using a stand mixer (or a hand mixer + large mixing bowl), add softened cream cheese, sour cream, powdered sugar, and vanilla. Beat on low until cream cheese has broken down, then mix on medium high until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Use a spatula to scrape around the sides and bottom, then beat again on medium for 30 seconds. Set filling aside.
For the strawberries, slice them as thin as you are able. If using frozen strawberries, use a paper towel to absorb any extra juice; wet strawberries will cause the french toast pieces slip and be hard to flip while cooking. When strawberries are sliced and ready, place them in a small bowl with 1/4 cup sugar. Gently toss strawberries until they are all coated in sugar.
Vanilla Cinnamon French Toast
In a small bowl with a flat bottom (or pro tip: use an aluminum pie tin), whisk together milk, eggs, vanilla, and cinnamon. Make sure cinnamon has fully mixed with the wet ingredients and is not just floating on top, still dry.
Putting it all Together
- Spread a layer of cream cheese filling on one side of sliced french bread. Filling should be spread thin (not globbed on) but still thick enough to thoroughly cover bread.
- Arrange strawberries in an even layer on top of the cream cheese spread, keeping a 1/4 inch gap around the sides of the bread
- Spread another thin layer of cream cheese on a new slice of french bread, then gently press it to the other slice with the strawberries (like a sandwich).
Spray a skillet with cooking spray and warm over medium heat.
- Dip the french toast into the egg and milk mixture, coating both the top and the bottom.
- Drop the french toast in the skillet and cook each side until golden brown, about 2-4 minutes per side. To make flipping easier, use a thin spatula to scoop under the french toast and gently press your finger on top to secure it while the toast is flipped. Save time by cooking 2-3 sandwiches at once.
- Serve immediately with powedered sugar and syrup.