- Eggs: 4 large eggs are beaten with half and half to create the egg mixture that soaks and softens the bread.
- Half and half: Is ideal for the egg mixture but you can also use whole milk. Try to avoid skim milk if possible, it will deliver the least creamy French toast.
- Cinnamon: Is a must or French toast! It adds a fabulous depth of flavor.
- Vanilla: Is used in both the egg mixture and the cream cheese filling. Use quality extract for the best flavor.
- For frying: Butter and a neutral oil such as vegetable oil are both used to fry the French toast to create the tantalizing buttery crust. The butter adds the flavor and the oil prevents the butter from burning.
- Cream cheese: Is the “cream” in the creamy filling! You’ll need one 8-ounce block that’s very soft so it mixes up smoothly.
- Powdered sugar: Sweetens the filling. Don’t use granulated sugar or it will taste grainy.
- Lemon juice: Brightens up the filling and compliments the strawberries.
- Strawberries: 8 ounces, or 1 heaping cup for the filling. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but you’ll slice the strawberries thinly so the little becomes the perfect amount.
- Granulated Sugar: Is mixed with the strawberries so they soften and release some of the juices.
Macerate the strawberries. We want to soften the sliced strawberries first so they become super sweet and juicy. To do this, simply add a few tablespoons to the sliced strawberries and stir to evenly coat. Set them aside to work their magic, preferably 10 minutes, while you make the cream cheese filling and egg mixture.
Make egg mixture. Add the eggs, half and half, cinnamon and vanilla to a shallow dish like an 8×8 pan or cake pan. Whisk thoroughly until combined.
Assemble: Spread a thick layer of cream cheese filling on one side of sliced bread, leaving ¼-inch border all around. Arrange strawberries in an even layer on top of the cream cheese. Spread another layer of cream cheese on a new slice of bread and place it on top of the strawberries (cream cheese side down) to form a sandwich. Repeat to make 5-6 sandwiches total.
Batter: Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat along with a drizzle of vegetable oil. Dip one sandwich into the egg mixture and turn to evenly coat then transfer to the skillet. Repeat with a second sandwich.
Pan fry: Cook for 2-3 minutes per side, or until golden brown and crispy on each side. Repeat with remaining sandwiches. Serve warm!