Between a picky toddler and a husband who doesn’t even like chocolate chips or blueberries to alter his standard buttermilk pancakes, when it comes to breakfast in our house, simple and predictable usually wins the race.
Because I subject them to so many foods outside of their comfort zone during dinnertime, I try to oblige and keep breakfast pretty straight forward. Plain pancakes, scrambled eggs, toast and bacon, and waffles – no fancy toppings allowed — are all a part of our rotation. (Although it’s not evidenced well here, here or here.)
So, as you can imagine, as a person who loves anything but cookie cutter, whenever I go out for breakfast, you won’t ever find me ordering any of the aforementioned.
Typically my eyes dart straight towards anything smothered in hollandaise sauce, but a few months ago, as I perused a new-to-me menu, I was immediately drawn towards an elaborate version of French toast stuffed with blueberries and cream cheese. After reading further and finding out it came with orange-infused whipped cream and thick slices of smoked bacon, I didn’t even have time to browse over the benedicts before making my decision.
It was delicious. Ridiculously delicious, and while it did veer away from a standard version of French toast, I felt like it resembled the original version enough to warrant a replication at home.
I started with a base French toast recipe, which is just thick slices of brioche drenched in a milk, egg and vanilla mixture and fried in butter. Next, the naked slice is slathered with a dollop of sweetened, whipped cream cheese and blueberries cooked down in a little bit of sugar.
The mixture is topped off with another piece of French toast, covered in more blueberries and then served traditionally with softened (salted!) butter and maple syrup.
Even though this isn’t a light recipe, I like to cut fat where I can if I know it won’t make a difference in taste, so instead of using full-fat cream cheese, I swapped it out for the 1/3 fat version, and honestly you can’t tell the difference. Also because cane sugar tends to release moisture, making the cream cheese a strange texture (but the same taste), I like to use powdered sugar instead. But again, it won’t change the taste, I just like the way it has a tendency to blend into the cream cheese a little bit better.
The second time I made this, I didn’t want to be quite as over the top, so instead of a double decker, I simply took one piece of French toast, topped it with a dollop of cream cheese and used the blueberries as the “syrup,” and skipped the butter and maple syrup. Still indulgent with just a touch of restraint.
Whether you go double decker or single-style, these guys are a showstopper breakfast dish!
- 12 oz. blueberries
- 2 tsp water
- 2 tbsp powdered sugar, divided (more if you like your blueberries sweeter)
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 loaf sliced brioche bread (Trader Joe's), 10 slices
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter
- 8 oz 1/3 fat cream cheese
- 1 tsp lemon zest
- softened, salted butter (optional)
- maple syrup (optional)
- Non-stick skillet
- Mixing bowls
- small saucepan
- Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a cookie cooling rack.
- Add blueberries, water and 1 tablespoon powdered sugar to a small saucepan. Turn the flame on a medium heat. Once the blueberries start to bread down and boil, turn the heat on simmer. Simmer until blueberries are slightly broken down and sauce-like, but still have some berries in tact. It should take about 5-6 minutes. Set aside.
- Add eggs, milk and vanilla to a shallow dish or bowl. Whisk to combine. Soak bread in mixture, about 30 seconds per side.
- Heat a large non-stick saute pan to a medium heat. Add 2 tablespoons of butter. Once the butter is hot, add four pieces of soaked bread. Cook until golden brown, about 2 minutes, flip and cook other side until brown. Transfer cooked bread pieces to the cooling rack and keep warm in the oven while you prepare the rest. Add another 2 tablespoons of butter and repeat with four pieces of bread. Repeat with remaining butter and remaining bread.
- In a small bowl, combine cream cheese, lemon zest and remaining powdered sugar.
- Serve each piece of french toast with a dollop of cream cheese and some of the blueberry mixture along with maple syrup (if desired.) For an even more indulgent version, follow above and then top with another piece of french toast. Serve with softened butter and maple syrup.