Emeril's Favorite French Toast

from Emeril's There's a Chef in My Soup

Oh, man, talk about a walk down memory lane. This is one of the first things I ever made in the kitchen when I was a little boy. Even back then I liked to experiment to keep things interesting, and this is the result of one very successful experiment. The orange flavor in this French toast will just about knock your socks off. Try it-I bet you'll be back for more!
Yield
4 to 8 servings

Ingredients
4 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1 tablespoon orange zest
(page 21)
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
8 slices bread
8 teaspoons unsalted butter
Confectioners' sugar
Maple syrup or cane sugar (optional)

Tools
Measuring cups and spoons, orange zester or fine grater, large mixing bowl, wire whisk, plate, 6-inch nonstick skillet, plastic turner, baking sheet, aluminum foil, oven mitts or pot holders
Directions
1. Preheat the oven to 200ºF.

2. Crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk well.

3. Add the milk, orange juice, orange zest, granulated sugar, vanilla extract, and salt, and whisk until well combined.

4. Working quickly, dip each bread slice into the egg mixture in the bowl, turning it to coat both sides with the mixture. Transfer the coated bread slices to a plate while you finish coating the remaining slices.

5. Heat a small skillet over medium heat until hot, about 3 to 5 minutes.

6. Melt 1 teaspoon of the butter in the skillet, then add a slice of coated bread, and cook until the bread is golden brown and crusted on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn with a plastic turner and cook until the second side is golden, about 1 to 11/2 minutes.

7. Transfer the French toast from the skillet to a baking sheet. Cover lightly with aluminum foil and place in the oven to keep warm while you cook the other slices.

8. Repeat with the remaining slices, being sure to add 1 teaspoon of the butter to the pan before every slice.

9. Sprinkle the French toast with confectioners' sugar and serve with maple syrup or cane sugar if desired.
The freshness of the bread is important. Fresh bread will absorb batter more quickly than stale bread. Depending on the size of the bread, you may find that there's a bit of batter left over. If that's the case, just go ahead, add a bit more butter to the pan, and cook up another slice or two. If you don't want to eat these today, refrigerate them, tightly covered, for up to one or two days, and reheat in the oven or microwave for a really quick breakfast or great afternoon snack!

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