Benjy’s Crunchy French Toast With Maple Syrup

This wonderful brunch recipe comes from Benjy’s in Houston. Mmm. I can feel myself growing fatter just reading about it.

Coffee Maple Syrup

1 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup whole coffee beans, any type

Place syrup and coffee beans in a small nonreactive saucepan and simmer over low heat for a few minutes, then let steep for a couple of hours. Remove beans. (May be prepared a day or more ahead.)

Spiced Apples

4 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 cup apple juice
1/4 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves

Place all ingredients in a saucepan over low heat and cook for 30 minutes or until apples are tender. (May be prepared a day ahead.)

Crunchy Coating

1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pecans
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 cup brown sugar, loosely packed
1 cup Japanese bread crumbs, available in Asian food stores

Coarsely grind walnuts, pecans, and sunflower seeds in a food processor. Mix with cinnamon, brown sugar, and bread crumbs. (May be prepared a day or more ahead.)

French Toast Batter

2 eggs
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons sugar
1 loaf unsliced challah (egg bread)
1 tablespoon canola oil

Whisk first 4 ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl and set aside. Cut challah into 1-inch-thick slices (allow 3 or 4 per person).

Pour oil into a nonstick pan over medium heat. Dip each slice of challah in batter, then in nut mixture. Cook until golden brown on both sides.

To serve, place slices of French toast on each plate and arrange apples attractively around them. Offer syrup in a pitcher. Serves 4 to 5.

[musica!] Listening to: Ride the Tide – Lynn Cannon – Smooth Sailing (04:07)