4heaping tablespoonscream cheeseuse low fat if desired
1tablespoonmaple syrupOR honey OR powdered sugar
8strawberrieshulled and sliced
8slicesstale breadchallah, brioche or thick whole wheat toast all work!
4teaspoonsoil OR butterdivided
additional strawberries and syrup (optional)for serving
Prep: To make the filling mix, the cream cheese with your choice of sweetener and set aside. In a shallow dish, whisk the eggs and milk together. On a large plate, combine 2 tablespoons bread crumbs, 1 tablespoon sugar and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon.
Assemble French Toast: Spread a slice of bread with 1/4 of the cream cheese mixture. Top with two sliced strawberries and cover with a second slice of bread. Coat first with the egg mixture and then with bread crumbs.
Cook: Heat 1 teaspoon oil OR butter in a large non-stick frying pan. Fry over medium-high heat until golden brown and crunchy, gently pushing down on the edges of the bread to sea (NOT the middle, or you'll squish it!)l.
Finish: Continue the same way with the other six bread slices. Halfway through wipe the plate with the breadcrumb mixture clean and mix the rest of the bread crumbs, sugar and cinnamon for making the other two French Toasts.
Serve warm with additional strawberries and syrup, if you like.
cream cheese: full fat, reduced fat and fat-free are all OK to use here; they just all turn out richer or less rich depending on their fat content.
honey: please use a mild, liquid honey - you don't want it to completely overpower the dish. You could also use maple syrup or icing sugar to replace it. Regular sugar won't work and would make the filling gritty.
breadcrumbs: I always just use regular old plain breadcrumbs (please don't use seasoned crumbs, ha!). Panko is fine to use.
strawberries: use ripe, fresh strawberries here. They should be fairly sweet for best results.
bread: stale bread is best, and please use a soft variety. Challah, brioche, Texas toast or a soft French bread work best.
careful when spreading the cream cheese: make sure you don't rip any holes into the bread when spreading the cream cheese. Also, there's no need to completely spread it - leaving it in a thick layer in the middle with a small edge is just right.
avoid clumping of breadcrumbs: As a little trick, I only use half of the breadcrumbs/sugar/cinnamon mixture at first, do two French toasts and then add the other half. That way you won't end up with a big clump of sticky breadcrumbs in the bowl that won't stick to you third and fourth sandwich.
avoid burning the toast: please do really use moderate heat here! It takes a few extra minutes to cook the French toast, but that's definitely better than eating a burnt breakfast.