Gluten Free French Toast with Apples and Cinnamon
This gluten free French toast recipe was actually something I threw together very last minute this past Sunday (as part of our Easter dinner), and we shamelessly enjoyed it while binge-watching Ozark. (#sorrynotsorry #quarantinelife #lazySunday) 😀
It was actually intended to be Easter brunch… sorry Michael! Gotta love breakfast for dinner, though – right?
And it was originally supposed to be my Aunt Elaine’s traditional fancy overnight baked apple French toast recipe that I used to look forward to every Easter…
But hey, life happens. There are only so many hours in a day! I practice what I preach, and a big part of what I do is help people incorporate quicker, easier, tasty and balanced meals into their busy lives. If you think I spend hours and hours in the kitchen slaving away each week, cooking from scratch… think again!
The idea that we need to be cooking everything from scratch with a laundry list of ingredients, and planning out all of our meals for weeks in advance is totally B.S.
But at the same time, I don’t recommend winging it. Alas, when cooking and keeping things easy/simple, it’s all about getting creative and working with what you have on hand…
This French toast came out rich, sweet, savory, buttery and delightful. The textures were on point too!
Ingredients: Quality is Key!
Choosing a bread
In my experience, the key to really fantastic, 5-star gluten free French toast is to make sure you find a high quality bread. Since gluten is what makes bread soft and doughy, most gluten free bread options are dry and crumbly compared to their “gluten-ous” counterparts.
Udi’s gluten free bread (plain or cinnamon raisin) is a great option from a taste and texture standpoint, in my experience. It’s available in most supermarkets. Going to a health food store or online, you may be able to find Outside the Bread Box gluten free oat bread which was actually recommended to me by a few clients!
The best gluten free bread I’ve ever had is by a local Texas vendor called Gluten Free Yourself (“GFY”). In Massachusetts, I love “Something Sweet without Wheat” too!
(Please note this recipe doesn’t have to be gluten free! If you aren’t on a gluten free diet, I recommend trying Dave’s Killer bread or Ezekiel bread which are both in alignment with my values from a health perspective as well as environmentally.)
Choosing a butter (or alternative)
For butter, when cooking at home we use Kerrygold butter because of the way they keep their cows happy and healthy. Butter that come from grass-fed cows is also higher in vitamin-A (you’ll notice the difference in the deeper golden yellow color, which comes from the extra carotenoid pigments!). (1)
For dairy free French toast:
You can swap the butter for coconut oil or vegan butter of your choice! I like Earth Balance.
- When choosing a staple dairy free butter, if you’re going to be having it all the time, I recommend making sure it does not contain partially hydrogenated oil (just check the ingredients list) which is actually a hidden source of trans-fat.
Swap the milk for a milk substitute like almond milk, coconut milk or rice milk.
- If you’re a foodie and you want to try something new during this quarantine, I challenge you to try out this homemade maple pecan milk!
What kind of apples?
It really doesn’t matter too much what kinds of apples you use. We happened to have a dozen organic Gala apples on-hand and it felt like gluten free apple cinnamon French toast would be an innovative way to use some up!
- Bottom line: If you prefer sweeter apples, I recommend trying out Cortland, Gala or honey crisp. If you prefer a more tart flavor, you may want to opt for Granny smith or Macintosh apples. 😀
This one usually goes without saying, but if possible I recommend using real maple syrup (the stuff that comes out of maple trees) versus a corn syrup based alternative like Mrs. Butterworths’ or Aunt Jemima.
I understand there’s something to be said about “all foods fit” and moderation. Honestly it’s your prerogative, but I believe this makes a big difference not just in the quality of how the French toast turns out (yup, I’m a food snob)… but also in your health!
(We talk more about this in-depth in week 5 of my Kitchen Alchemy Food Fundamentals e-course.)
Why cinnamon? Well, because it’s warming, tasty and timeless! It goes so perfectly with cooked apples. An added perk of using cinnamon is that it helps to keep blood sugar levels balanced, especially in a meal like French toast which is higher in carbs! (2)
But if you don’t have any on hand, that’s totally fine. You can also experiment with nutmeg, cloves, apple pie spice or even pumpkin pie spice if you’re feeling extra daring…
Gluten Free French Toast with Apples and Cinnamon
- Cutting board for apples
- Apple peeler and slicer
- Bowl and whisk
- Frying pans (2)
- 6 pieces bread of choice
- 4 apples peeled and sliced
- 1/2 cup real maple syrup
- 2 eggs
- 1 splash milk or milk substitute of choice
- 2 tbsp butter or coconut oil
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract (optional)
Apple cinnamon compote
- In a separate pan (or small pot), over low-medium heat, sauté the sliced apples with the 1/2 of the one teaspoon of cinnamon in a tablespoon of butter or butter substitute.
- Once the apples begin to cook down, add the maple syrup and reduce to low heat. This will make the apple topping.
- Let it simmer while you get started on the French toast!
- In a bowl, combine the eggs with milk/milk substitute, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (leave the other half) and the vanilla.
- Submerge one to two pieces of bread at a time in the egg mixture so that each side is completely coated.
- Heat one tablespoon of butter or butter sub in a large pan over medium heat for a few minutes, then start cooking the bread on each side until it’s golden brown. It should take two to three minutes on each side.
- Repeat the process until you have cooked off all the French toast.
- Plate it and top with your apple cinnamon compote, and enjoy!
- Gillam AE, Heilbron IM, Morton RA. Variations in the quality of butter, particularly in relation to the vitamin A, carotene and xanthophyll content as influenced by feeding artificially dried grass to stall-fed cattle. Biochem J. 1933;27(3):878–888. doi:10.1042/bj0270878
- Medagama AB. The glycaemic outcomes of Cinnamon, a review of the experimental evidence and clinical trials. Nutr J. 2015;14:108. Published 2015 Oct 16. doi:10.1186/s12937-015-0098-9