Coconut Cream Pie French Toast

Breakfast is definitely my favorite meal of the day, followed by dinner and lunch comes last. I can't function without breakfast. If I don't eat breakfast, rather than simply skipping the meal, I'm just more hungry the entire day, so I'm pretty sure I end up eating the same amount (or more!) than if I do. I like variety - my breakfasts range from cereal (this one is so good!), overnight oats, chia pudding, hot oatmeal, french toast, bircher muesli, granola and yogurt, eggs (scrambled are my favorite) with some hearty toast, pancakes, breakfast pastries, smoothies, and when I'm tired of the rest, toast with some delicious spread. And one important thing I haven't mentioned - fruit! Breakfast isn't breakfast without some fruit, for me. 
Of all of these, if you were to ask me what my favorite was, my answer would unequivocally be french toast. There's just something about it that knocks my socks off. Its egg-y, custard-y, sweet (I need the sugar kick!), and there are so many varieties and ways you can play around with it with different flavors and toppings. 

This buzzfeed article seems like it's made for me (and I'm sure a lot of other people as well, but definitely me!). All the french toasts look so good - I'm drooling.

This coconut cream pie french toast was inspired from that article, which led to this recipe from Minimalist Baker. I changed it up a little bit, but it's essentially the same. I lightened it up slightly by swapping out the coconut milk in the custard mixture for regular milk and replaced that lost coconut flavor by adding some dessicated coconut to the custard mixture. I served the french toast with some coconut whipped cream, toasted coconut flakes, fresh berries, drizzle of honey and a homemade salted caramel frappucino using this homemade salted caramel to go along with it. Definitely a decadent breakfast, but when I break it all down, it isn't actually all that bad. Not diet-friendly, for sure, but not unhealthy either! Protein from the eggs, healthy fats from the coconut, and calcium from the milk - a balanced meal, right?

The coconut flavor is not overpowering, but it's definitely detectable. And absolutely wonderful! Because the bread is first quickly seared on the pan, but finished in the oven, it has an unbelievable texture - crispy on the outside, but soft and melt-in-the mouth on the inside.

If you like french toast, coconut cream pie, and/or love breakfast, this recipe is a must-try! And the best part is that you prepare it all the night before and 20 minutes of cooking in the morning (total!) and you've got a delightful breakfast on the table!

Serves 4 hungry people!
8 slices of a thick crusty loaf (I used a white baton)
5 eggs
1 1/3 cup whole milk
2 tbsp agave nectar
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp dessicated coconut
2 tbsp cinnamon sugar
butter, for cooking
To serve (optional): coconut whipped cream, toasted coconut flakes, honey, fresh fruit

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, agave, salt, vanilla extract and dessicated coconut. 
Arrange the slices of bread in a flat layer in a glass dish(es).
Pour the wet custard mixture on top of the bread and let set for 10 minutes. Flip the bread over to soak the other side. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, preheat the oven to 185 C.
Heat one or two medium-sized pans over medium heat and add some butter for cooking. 
Lightly sprinkle one side of the slices of bread with the cinnamon sugar. Place a slice of bread, cinnamon sugar side down on the pan and cook for 1-2 minutes, or until toasty and golden brown. Sprinkle the top with cinnamon sugar and repeat on the other side. Do this with all the slices. 
Place all the slices of bread in a baking dish(es) and place in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through and puffed up. 
Carefully remove from the oven and serve warm with desired toppings.
As always, enjoy (I'm sure you will)!

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