Strawberry Cheese Stuffed French Toast

I was fed up years ago with the nonstop IHOP commercials about stuffed French toast and the fact that there wasn’t an IHOP for miles and miles around so decided to do something about it myself.  The opportunity to try their version has never presented itself to me so I have no idea how close this recipe is to the real thing, but my family and I have been happy with my IHOP inspired stuffed French toast recipe on the few occasions in which I’ve made it.

I knew my husband would be working late on Valentine’s Day, so a fancy dinner and luscious dessert shared between the two of us would be out of the question.  I planned, rather, to wake early and bring him breakfast in bed on that day since his shift wouldn’t begin until late morning.  All of that changed when he learned Saturday at work that he will again be working 14 hour days this coming week.  So much for breakfast in bed, romantic dinners, or even sharing a conversation this week.

Instead, I surprised him this morning by placing his Valentine’s presents on his chest before he even opened his eyes and made the Valentine breakfast immediately after.  I completely forgot about my plan to bring it to him and served it at the breakfast table to everyone at once.  The mmmms that moved from person to person told me that we all enjoyed the Valentine’s love.

Ingredients:

1 French baguette

4 oz. cream cheese

3 to 4 oz. strawberry preserves

4 large eggs

1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

3 tsp. light brown sugar

Pinch of salt

3 T cream or half and half

Butter

Canola oil

Confectioner’s sugar

Method:

Slice the baguette into 1 to 1/2 inch thick rounds.

Slice each round most of the way through to form a pocket for the filling.

Spoon about a tsp. of cream cheese into each.

Follow with a tsp. or so of the preserves.

Heat the oil and butter in two large skillets to about 1/2 inch depth.

Beat together the eggs, cream, vanilla, brown sugar, and salt to make a custard.

Dip each stuffed slice of French bread into the batter and fry in the fat in the pan.

Turn after a couple of minutes and cook the other side to golden brown.

Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve with maple or strawberry syrup.

Makes 6 servings.

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