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Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

Breakfast isn't a meal that I cook often. Yes, we eat breakfast, but it's usually a toasted bagel or bowl of instant oatmeal. Not so exciting. It's hard when you've got to be out the door by 7:30am during the week! (I can't even imagine throwing kids into the mix.) So, one of my favorite things to do on the weekends is to actually cook breakfast. I love to whip up a batch of fresh-baked scones or cinnamon rolls. If I'm feeling really motivated, I'll mix up some pancakes or French toast. Which leads me to today's recipe. Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast.  

  A few months ago, my husband and I visited our favorite bed & breakfast up in Michigan, and they served this awesome strawberry stuffed French toast. After "mmmmm"-ing through the whole entire meal, I was bound and determined to re-create it. For this special French toast, thick Italian bread slices are stuffed with a sweet strawberry-cream cheese mixture, and grilled to perfection. It's crisp on the outside, and tender and chewy with a pop of sweet cream cheese on the inside. It might just be the best breakfast I've ever made. Start off with some good bakery bread. Rays and Chief Supermarkets have some great artisan breads to choose from - I chose an Italian loaf, but French or sourdough would be great as well.  

    Cut it into thick slices; you should get between 6 and 8 total. I cut my middle slices in half because they were really big.  

  Then, you want to cut a slit into each of the bread slices. Don't cut all the way through, but cut enough so you can spread the filling around in there.     For the filling, combine some softened cream cheese, strawberry jam, and diced fresh strawberries that have soaked in sugar for a bit.  

  Now here comes the tricky part. Spoon a bit of the cream cheese mixture into each bread slice, spreading it evenly to every nook and cranny. You might get a bit messy, but that's ok!  

  Now it's time for the egg mixture. Combine a few eggs, milk, cinnamon, and almond extract in a shallow bowl. (Better for soaking the bread in.)  

  After a quick dip in the egg mixture and a few minutes on the griddle, it's ready to be devoured!  

  Garnished with some fresh strawberries and a drizzle of maple syrup, this is the perfect decadent weekend breakfast. (Hint, hint - Mother's Day is just around the corner!) ________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Strawberry Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

Servings/Yield

4-6 servings
  • 1 loaf French or Italian bread
  • 4-oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 3 tablespoons strawberry jam or jelly
  • 1 cup diced fresh strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon almond or vanilla extract
  • 1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1-2 tablespoons butter
  • maple syrup, for serving
 

Method

Place diced strawberries in a bowl and sprinkle with the sugar to allow the juices to come out. Set aside for at least 10 minutes. Slice bread into 2-inch thick slices. (You should get between 6 and 8 slices.) Cut a slit in each of the thick slices, making a pocket in which to put the filling. For the filling, combine softened cream cheese with strawberry jam and sugared strawberries. Place a spoonful of the cream cheese mixture into each bread pocket, spreading it to the corners. For the coating, combine eggs, milk, almond/vanilla extract, and cinnamon in a shallow bowl until thoroughly mixed. Coat each side of the bread for about 5-10 seconds, until it has soaked up some of the egg mixture. Preheat a griddle to medium-high heat, and coat it with butter. Cook French toast 3-4 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Serve immediately with maple syrup. **Leftovers taste great heated in a 400*F oven for 10-15 minutes.
 Source: Adapted from Tasty Kitchen