Maple Goat Cheese & Jam Stuffed Brioche French Toast Rolls

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

I've been meaning to post a French toast recipe for what seems like ages now. Truthfully I'm more of a pancake girl, but every now and then I'll pick up a loaf of brioche or challah with French toast in mind. There's not much to French toast so unlike pancakes or waffles, there isn't a whole lot of cooking to do. Instead, you're more reliant on quality ingredients for it to be worth the indulgence. A rich eggy bread, fresh eggs, whole milk or heavy cream, pure vanilla extract and good butter will steer you towards a restaurant quality French toast. After a quick soak in the batter, thick slices of bread are pan fried in a heavy skillet to produce a buttery, crispy crust and custardy interior. I'm typically quite satisfied with dark maple syrup and fresh fruit to top it all off.

Over the weekend, I was all set to make French toast. I had my loaf of brioche. I had a carton of farm fresh eggs and caught a deal on some organic berries. Plenty of butter and maple syrup were on hand. I was all out of milk or cream but needed to use up the rest of some extra-thick buttermilk, so that would be my "twist" to the recipe. But as I scanned the fridge, I came across the goat cheese I was saving for a salad that week and a couple jars of wine infused jam. As it always inevitably does, my mind started racing and I threw the idea of regular French toast out the window.

The first time I remember seeing anybody make French toast rolls was years ago on Pati's Mexican Table. Pati Jinich prepared a simple kids friendly recipe by flattening white bread slices and spreading them with chocolate or jam. The bread was rolled up, dipped in batter and pan fried just like French toast, finished off by a roll in cinnamon sugar. I don't remember if I ever made them, but the idea remained tucked away in my massive mental library of recipes to try. A week ago or so, I saw a photo of a similar French toast roll recipe floating around and it immediately came to mind as I gathered my ingredients that morning. French toast rolls it was, only I was going to make a version impressive enough for adults.

Use any kind of jam or preserves that you love here. The tanginess of goat cheese goes well with sweet maple syrup and fruity jam, but a milder cream cheese or mascarpone would also work. If you don't have a thick, full fat buttermilk use heavy cream instead. I wouldn't compromise on the bread or butter though. Brioche or challah lend the rich, eggy texture you're going for, and you'd be surprised how much of a difference European butter adds in flavor! (I may already have converted you by way of my biscuits or pie crusts!) After rolling the French toast in cinnamon-cardamom sugar, the result was something that tasted remarkably like a churro.  I'm now intrigued by the idea of turning these into a dessert, maybe with chocolate and whipped cream...

By the way, if you're interested in buying the jam, it was a sample from my Hatchery tasting box. Always remember that you can get your first box for just $10 (that's 50% off) using code "kitchenista" at check out!

This was a fun and decadent treat for breakfast and a creative departure from the usual French toast. My kids loved it, grown up flavors and all. I was so excited about the recipe that I shared it right away on Twitter that morning, but here is the complete version I promised to blog. Enjoy!

Maple Goat Cheese & Jam Stuffed Brioche French Toast Rolls

1 lb loaf brioche or challah
4 oz goat cheese, softened
2 tbsp maple syrup, plus additional for serving
2 oz jam or fruit preserves
1 cup whole buttermilk or heavy cream
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup European style butter
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
Assorted fresh berries, for serving

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Yield: Serves 4
Special Equipment: heavy skillet, rolling pin, wire rack set over a heavy baking sheet

Slice your loaf of bread into 1" slices using a serrated knife. A square brioche loaf will be easiest to roll into uniform slices, but I'm sure you can make a traditional oblong challah loaf work. 

Use a rolling pin to flatten each slice of bread. Although most recipes call for it I didn't bother cutting the crusts off. Because I'm an adult and brioche ain't cheap.

In a small bowl, mix the softened goat cheese and 2 tablespoons of maple syrup together until creamy and well blended.

Spread each slice of bread with a thin layer of the sweetened goat cheese. Top with a teaspoon of jam, smeared across one end. Try not to get too close to the edges or it will all squeeze out when you roll the bread.

Roll up each slice of bread so that the filling is in the center. If you have any that are oozing too much, simply wipe off the excess.

In a shallow pan, whisk the buttermilk or cream, eggs, vanilla and salt until no streaks remain.

Working with a few rolls at a time, dip the bread into the custard batter and roll around so that it's completely soaked. Let them sit for 30 seconds or so. 

Transfer the rolls to the wire rack, allowing any excess custard to drip off. Repeat with the remaining rolls. Meanwhile, preheat your skillet over medium high heat and add the butter to melt.

Once the skillet is hot and butter is sizzling, add the French toast rolls. I was able to fit them all in at once, but work in batches if you have a smaller skillet (in this case, you may want to start with just half the butter, adding the rest with the next batch.)

Pan fry the French toast rolls on all sides until golden brown and crisp. Keep them moving around so they don't scorch on one side.

While the French toast rolls cook, mix together the sugar, cinnamon and salt. Spread it out on a clean baking sheet or plate. As you remove each French toast roll from the skillet, roll it around in the sugar mixture.

Plate and serve immediately with fresh berries and warm maple syrup!

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  1. Looks nice and delicious :)
    Maria V.

  2. This recipe was PERFECT for the frozen loaf of brioche I found shoved in the back of the freezer this weekend. Rolling the slices out flat took care of any "de-thawed bread" texture issues. Went with an apple butter/ goat cheese filling and a little bourbon in the custard.
    Thank you for another hit ( and looove the new web design)!

    1. Thank you! The apple butter sounds wonderful, so glad it worked out for you!