It should be noted that I make a LOT of red velvet creations around the house. Given the fact that I only learned about this southern staple when the twizzlers turned one, I’m surprised that I like it as much as I do. I’ve made the regular red velvet cupcakes, cake, brownies, and now I’m sharing my recipe for red velvet french toast. Mine is a LOT different from what you will get in restaurants, because they use red velvet cake that is cooked just like french toast, while I use bread. I had to play around a LOT to get this recipe to the point that I liked it. The first batch was a bit too sour, because of the buttermilk, and then the next batch, I didn’t use day old bread like I was supposed to. Learning my way around the kitchen often leads to phone calls to my favorite baker – Aisha, where we figure out what we should be making during the current week. She’s a lot more versatile with baking, but I may just be catching up.
My first time making red velvet, I was given a recipe from my aunt Sheila. I can’t share it. She’d kill me. HOWEVER, this recipe is my own, based on a recipe for French toast that I’ve tweaked, and tweaked, and tweaked. You should always use a hearty/dense bread that’s a day old. ALWAYS. Please don’t think that I’m just typing those words for the word count. French bread, Italian bread, Texas Toast, Brioche or Challah should do the trick. Red Velvet French Toast should be decadent, and you need bread that will hold up to that.
In order for this to be a true red velvet french toast, you’re going to need to use buttermilk. Yep. That sour creation that your grandmother MAY have poured in a cup when you were younger, and drank like it was a fine wine. Or was that just MY granny. I’m not sure she enjoys it as much as she used to, but anytime I see a half-gallon of buttermilk in her fridge, I’m transported back to sitting in her kitchen in the basement with my legs swinging to and fro. Memories forever, and now I can appreciate the complexity that is buttermilk, and how it makes so much stuff taste SO GOOD!
For this recipe, you’ll need eggs, buttermilk, cinnamon, nutmeg, red food coloring, cocoa, sugar, salt, vanilla extract and vinegar. Yes. Vinegar. Just be patient. The vinegar is to keep that red food coloring from making everything a bitter nasty mess.
Then you blend everything until ALL ingredients are incorporated fully. The cocoa will try to float on the top, but with a good whisking, it should be fine. Then your bread is ready to soak in the batter. Why day old bread? Because it won’t fall apart. Just trust me. If you just can’t wait a full day, you can lightly toast your bread in the oven on the lowest setting for about 10 minutes. You don’t want TOAST, but you want bread that has been dried out a bit. Hence, day old bread. It also cuts a lot better once cooked.
It’s important to cook the bread on medium heat, and to have a spatula that can handle flipping of french toast. I have such a spatula, and I have NO idea where I got it from. I’m sure you can find one of appropriate size on Amazon, or at your local Target or Walmart.
I fry on medium heat until each side is crisp. It’s going to turn not the golden brown of regular french toast, but the cocoa is going to toast, and you’ll have a deeper browned side. Nothing wrong with it at all. I do keep unsalted butter out while I’m frying because I cooked sixteen slices of toast with this batch of batter.
Since I do so many slices (and I do this with homemade waffles and pancakes as well) is put the cooked pieces of toast on a platter in the oven set on the lowest setting. It’s not necessary, but it does make sure that when I cook the eggs and bacon to go along with this (yep, we go all out) everything will come to the table the same temperature, and I won’t have to reheat anything and it comes out rubbery.
Of course, this meal isn’t complete without some sort of glaze right? It’s only right to top it with cream cheese icing, and a dusting of powdered sugar. So, who wants breakfast?
A rich hearty french toast from a take on the southern classic
- 8 large eggs
- 2 cups buttermilk
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Freshly grated nutmeg
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 1 oz red food coloring
- 16 slices Texas Toast
- Unsalted butter, for frying
- Combine eggs, buttermilk, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, sugar, vanilla extract, food coloring, and cocoa in a medium bowl. Whisk together until thoroughly combined.
- Dip bread slices in egg mixture until soaked through to center.
- Chill, covered, on a baking sheet for 1 hour.
- In a large frying pan over medium heat, heat a small amount of butter.
- Cook slices in batches until golden brown on both sides.
- Keep warm in oven on lowest setting until ready to serve.
To make cream cheese icing:
Combine one softened (room temperature) brick of cream cheese with 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp of milk and 1/2 cup of confectioners sugar. Mix until combined, and pour liberally over french toast.
French toast can be frozen and reheated in the oven for future use.