- 1 lb slightly stale bread, sliced thick — brioche, challah or Little Northern Bakehouse Wide White Slice gluten-free all work well
- 6 eggs
- 1 15 oz can full fat coconut milk
- 1 cup almond milk (or other milk of choice, but the richer the better)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder or 1 tsp extract
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp orange zest
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 3 tbsp butter, ghee or coconut oil, melted
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- Toppings: whipped cream, fresh strawberries, powdered sugar and maple syrup
- Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan with butter or coconut oil.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, both milks, maple syrup, cardamom, cinnamon, salt, orange zest and orange juice until well-combined. Dip each slice of bread into the egg mixture and arrange dipped slices in the prepared baking pan in a shingle pattern, overlapping or tearing the slices as necessary to fit in the pan. Pour any remaining egg mixture over the bread and lightly press the bread to further absorb the egg mixture. Cover pan and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°. Uncover the pan and drizzle the bread evenly with the melted butter or coconut oil and sprinkle the coconut sugar atop the bread.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the french toast is golden brown and the center is set. Check after 30 minutes, and if it is browning too quickly cover lightly with aluminum foil.
- While the french toast bakes, slice fresh strawberries and prepare whipped cream, if desired — coconut cream or regular cream are both delicious. See notes below.
- Serve french toast with a dollop of whipped cream, a handful of sliced strawberries and good glug of maple syrup. Enjoy!
- Be sure to use slightly stale bread. Either leave the bread out all day or overnight or lightly toast the bread in the oven before proceeding with the recipe. You want the bread to dry out so it can soak up more of the delicious custard.
- Whipped cream: For coconut cream, whip the hardened coconut cream from a chilled 15 oz can of coconut milk, reserving the liquid for another use (e.g. smoothies). For regular whipped cream, use 1 cup of very chilled heavy cream. For both, once the cream forms stiff peaks, whisk in 2 tbsp powdered sugar or honey and 1 tsp vanilla extract. I also like to whip in another 1/2 to 1 cup whole milk greek yogurt for a delightfully tangy (albeit slightly less fluffy) whipped cream.