Breakfast can often be boring. We easily fall into the rotation of cereal, eggs, yogurt, cereal, eggs, yogurt, cereal…you get the idea. And when you want to spice things up, the awesome-looking recipes you see on places like Pinterest can be intricate in process, or require an obscure hard-to-find ingredient that without it the recipe falls flat.
The secret is threefold:
First, you start with layered bread. Hong Kong cafes use Asian milk bread, a lighter, less eggy brioche that comes in rectangular loaves and slices are square, but this may not be easy to find (although there are recipes online if you would like to make your own.) Use brioche, challah, or even sweet Hawaiian bread instead. Be sure to cut off the crusts to create a perfect square as this shape is key to the dish presentation, all things being equal.
Second, you smear the layers with peanut butter. If you can’t eat peanut butter other options are Nutella or jam.
Third, you dip the layered peanut-buttered bread in egg and shallow fry it in oil. But the last secret comes with how the finished product is served: with creamy condensed milk and butter. The condensed milk is rich and decadent and may be too much for you at breakfast so opt for maple syrup or honey instead.
It’s a simple, low-ingredient recipe but according to Christie at Home there are a few things to keep in mind:
- Spread the peanut butter between your bread BEFORE your slice off the corners of your bread. This allows a clean line and makes it easy for you to dip and coat your French toast.
- Don’t overspread your peanut butter. Just a thin layer will do or when you fry it, it will leak out and spill into your oil turning it brown which will make your French toast char.
- Keep your oil at low-medium heat. If you keep it on medium, be prepared to cook your French toast on all sides very quickly or it’ll burn.
- Only cook your French toast on each side until golden brown (about 15 seconds for the sides and 30 seconds for the larger surface areas).
You may look at the ingredients and say “No way, too sweet a breakfast for me.” Serve it for dessert instead. But I assure you that biting into a Hong Kong toast after you dip it in a little coffee is a magical way to start your morning.
- 6 pieces milk bread, or sweet bread like brioche, challah, or Hawaiian
- 4 tbsp peanut butter
- 2 eggs
- vegetable oil
- Toppings: condensed milk, butter, maple syrup, honey
- With three pieces of bread, spread a thin layer of peanut butter on 2 of the three pieces. Sandwich them together. Repeat for the other sandwich.
- Slice off the crusts of your sandwiches with a very sharp knife to create a square.
- In a shallow bowl, whisk 2 eggs.
In a deep pan, fill it with a shallow layer of cooking oil. Bring it to low medium heat. Do not bring it to medium or the toast will burn.
- Lightly coat one sandwich in egg. Don’t let the bread stay in the egg wash too long or it will get soggy and won’t crisp up.
- Carefully lower the sandwich into the hot oil. Fry on all sides until golden brown (15 seconds on the sides and 30 seconds on the larger surface area).
- Repeat steps 5 and 6 for the second sandwich.
- Remove from the pan and serve with your toppings of choice. Enjoy!
You can watch a video on how to make Hong Kong Style French Toast here.
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