When we were in elementary school, Mom packed healthy lunches for my sister and I to take to school. As a treat, we were allowed to choose a day or two each week to get hot lunch from the cafeteria. Mom would hang the calendar, torn from the school’s newsletter, on the refrigerator door. Whenever French toast sticks were on the menu, I’d count down the days.
The French toast sticks were soft and sweet and dusted with powdered sugar. We dunked them in syrup. They were served alongside triangular pieces of hash browns, which we dipped in ketchup. It was all perhaps a bit more sugar than my little eight year old body needed, but it was a treat, a break from the healthier peanut butter and honey sandwich, boxes of raisins and carrot sticks.
Occasionally, Mom would decide to support the school and treat us to a box of the French toast sticks ordered from Market Day, just like the ones from the cafeteria. She’d bring us to the cafeteria after school to pick up the white cardboard box covered with the green and red logo. When Dad worked late or was away on business, we girls had breakfast for dinner, French toast sticks.
On our long drive back from the midwest earlier this month, we passed a Market Day delivery truck, no doubt delivering boxes for another school’s fundraiser, and I’ve been craving the French toast sticks ever since. I finally decided to make a (slightly healthier, more grown-up version) of them, and they are just as wonderful as I remembered.
Serve these French toast sticks with a side of fruit for a weekend breakfast or "breakfast for dinner" meal.
- 4 thick (about 1" - 1 1/2" thick) slices of day-old sourdough bread
- 2 whole eggs
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- Powdered sugar, maple syrup and/or fruit preserves, for topping
- Cut each slice of bread into 1" -1 1/2" wide sticks. This should give you approximately 3-4 pieces per slice of bread.
- Whisk the eggs, milk, cinnamon and vanilla together.
- Heat 1-2 teaspoons of oil in a skillet over medium. Dredge a slice of bread in the egg mixture, making sure that it is coated on all sides. Drop on the preheated skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes on each side, turning as each side browns and begins to crisp. I can fit 2-3 pieces on my skillet at a time.
- Move the cooked French toast sticks to a plate. Add a bit more oil to the skillet and repeat the bread-in-egg-mixture-then-cooked-on-skillet routine until all the bread has been turned into French toast sticks.
- Dust with powdered sugar, drizzle with maple syrup or serve topped with fruit preserves.
Make Ahead and Storage
Leftovers can be reheated by toasting in a 350F oven for 5 minutes.