We have made a lot of yummy recipes with fair trade ingredients, but this is our first foray into fair trade breakfast! This french toast is elevated with the sweet crunch of fair trade cinnamon sugar, and you don’t even have to get out your frying pan. It can even be made ahead — it is easy to prepare the night before and bake in the morning. Enjoy this treat even more with a steamy cup of fair trade coffee.
Fair Trade Cinnamon French Toast
Adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook (Knopf, October 2012)
- 1/2 cup fair trade sugar
- 1 tablespoon fair trade ground cinnamon
- 16 slices (from a 1-pound loaf) wheat sandwich bread (original recipe calls for white bread, but was delicious with wheat!)
- 1 stick (4 oz) unsalted butter, softened
- 3 cups whole milk
- 6 large eggs
- 1/4 teaspoon table salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract (make your own with fair trade vanilla beans)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Combine the cinnamon and sugar together in a small dish. Line two large baking sheets with foil or parchment paper. Place the bread slices on the baking sheets in one layer. Spread each slice of bread with 1 teaspoon of butter, then sprinkle each slice with one teaspoon of the cinnamon-sugar mixture. Toast the trays of bread in the oven until the bread is golden, and until the cinnamon-sugar makes a caramelized crunch on top, for 7-10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees and let the toast cool slightly. You want the toast to be crunchy and delicious on its own, ready to sop up all of the egg without getting soggy.
Generously butter a 9×13-inch baking dish (use butter leftover from spreading on the bread, if you have any remaining). Cut two slices of the cinnamon toast in half horizontally. Arrange the cinnamon toast down in two rows along the width of the pan. Begin with the bottom half of one slice of toast, then fan 7 more slices in a row, finishing with the top half of the slice. This ensures that every served piece is doubly thick and those served the end pieces do not receive thin slices. Repeat with another 7 full slices and 1 halved slice of cinnamon toast in the second row. Whisk the milk, eggs, salt and vanilla in a medium bowl and pour evenly over cinnamon toast in baking dish. Let sit for 15 minutes so that the custard absorbs a bit. We made ours the evening before, let sit in the frig overnight, and baked in the morning.
Before baking, if you’ve got any extra cinnamon-sugar (you’ll likely have a tablespoon or two), sprinkle it over the French toast. Bake for 30 minutes, until puffed and golden and until all of the egg is cooked. Cut into squares and serve plain, with a dollop of yogurt and fresh berries, maple syrup, or a dusting of fair trade confectioners sugar.