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There are a million different kinds of french toast out there, but for me, there’s nothing like the classic. When I have some bread that is getting a bit dry it’s always my excuse to whip up a batch of french toast so it doesn’t go to waste.

Ina Garten’s Challah French Toast recipe is my go-to for Classic French Toast. It’s easy to adapt the recipe to what you have in the house, this morning I only had grapefruit around, so I used that. I ran out of honey earlier this week, so I used agave nectar. Still amazing! The citrus zest adds the perfect twist, and all I need is a little butter and syrup and I’m in breakfast heaven.

Oh, and don’t forget the bacon. Am I the only one who gets offended when a breakfast joint doesn’t include bacon with their french toast?


adapted from the Barefoot Contessa Family Style cookbook


  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups half-and-half or milk
  • 1 teaspoon grated citrus zest (orange, lemon, or grapefruit)
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon good honey or agave nectar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 large loaf challah or brioche bread
  • Unsalted butter
  • Vegetable oil

To serve:

  • Pure maple syrup
  • strawberry or raspberry preserves (optional)
  • Sifted confectioners’ sugar (optional)


Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, orange zest, vanilla, honey, and salt. Slice the challah in 3/4-inch thick slices. Soak as many slices in the egg mixture as possible for 5 minutes, turning once.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a very large saute pan over medium heat. Add the soaked bread and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Place the cooked French toast on a sheet pan and keep it warm in the oven. Fry the remaining soaked bread slices, adding butter and oil as needed, until it’s all cooked. Serve hot with maple syrup, raspberry preserves, and/or confectioners’ sugar.

Hot off the grill, awaiting butter and maple syrup...