Orange you glad for this breakfast treat in time for Mother's Day?

  • Spiced Orange French Toast is the perfect dish for getting the kids involved in making breakfast for Mother's Day.

    Spiced Orange French Toast is the perfect dish for getting the kids involved in making breakfast for Mother's Day. Courtesy of Leslie Meredith

 
 
Updated 5/5/2022 6:25 AM

I have "enjoyed" various Mother's Day meals brought to me in bed by my daughter. Now 22, she's an accomplished cook, but there was much trial and error along the way. Still, there is nothing sweeter than a kid-made breakfast, accompanied by a handmade card and maybe a dandelion in a bud vase.

This French toast recipe is easy to prepare, with only a little adult supervision needed around the hot skillet. No sharp knives are required, and the orange-butter topping doesn't need heat. The fresh orange zest and juice add bright color and aroma to the plate, and the cardamom, cinnamon and vanilla flavors make this breakfast feel like dessert.

 
Crushing the spices for Spiced Orange French Toast is a good job for kids.
Crushing the spices for Spiced Orange French Toast is a good job for kids. - Courtesy of Leslie Meredith

I can tell you that cracking eggs, scraping off the citrus zest and squeezing a juicer are three favorite cooking tasks for kids. So is dipping the bread and watching it soak up the egg mixture. I let them use a mortar and pestle to crush the cardamom seed pods for the added novelty and because the spice tastes much better when it's freshly ground. But feel free to use the powdered version or omit it entirely when you or your kids make this.

Zesting the orange for Spiced Orange French Toast is an excellent job for kids, with a bit of supervision.
Zesting the orange for Spiced Orange French Toast is an excellent job for kids, with a bit of supervision. - Courtesy of Leslie Meredith

Any thickly sliced white bread will do for this recipe -- French, Italian, challah or the brioche we used here. Even better if it's a little stale. In fact, 15th-century cooks created French toast, aka "pain perdu" or "lost bread," to salvage stale bread.

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It makes for more dishwashing but less of a mess to use both a mixing bowl and a pie plate or other shallow dish. It's easier for kids to whisk in the deep bowl, then transfer the mixture to a pie plate for soaking the bread. You can, of course, do it all in one bowl but be prepared to mop up the inevitable drips and splatters. In an ideal scenario, your kids make breakfast and clean the kitchen afterward.

Cracking eggs for Spiced Orange French Toast is an easy job for kids.
Cracking eggs for Spiced Orange French Toast is an easy job for kids. - Courtesy of Leslie Meredith

Serve with a dusting of powdered sugar and a pat of the orange butter (recipe follows) or drizzle with maple syrup. Orange marmalade or fresh, sliced strawberries would be good on this, too.

• Leslie Meredith is the winner of the 2019 Cook of the Week Challenge and teaches people how to grow and cook "real" food. She runs Farmhouse School on a historic homestead in Campton Hills. See the school's Facebook or Instagram pages @FarmhouseSchool or contact Leslie at food@dailyherald.com.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Cook Spiced Orange French Toast on a griddle or pan, and it will be ready in minutes.
Cook Spiced Orange French Toast on a griddle or pan, and it will be ready in minutes. - Courtesy of Leslie Meredith
Spiced Orange French Toast

4 large eggs

3 tablespoons milk

1 tablespoon honey

Zest and juice from one orange

teaspoon vanilla extract

teaspoon ground cinnamon

teaspoon ground cardamom

teaspoon kosher salt

8 slices of white bread, 1-inch thick, preferably a day old

Butter, for greasing the pan

Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl and whisk in the milk, honey, orange zest and juice, vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom and salt until well combined.

Pour mixture into a pie plate or other shallow dish. Dip bread into the egg mixture, soaking for a couple of minutes and turning once with a fork until thoroughly drenched.

Melt butter, 1 tablespoon at a time in a skillet or on a griddle, over medium heat. Once it starts to foam, cover the griddle or skillet with a single layer of bread and cook until browned, about 2-3 minutes per side. Repeat with remaining bread.

Serves 4

Leslie Meredith

Orange-Honey Butter

4 tablespoons ( a stick) of unsalted butter

1 tablespoon powdered sugar

1 tablespoon honey

Zest and juice from one orange

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and beat with hand mixer or a wooden spoon until combined and mixture smooths out.

Makes a cup

Leslie Meredith

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