Say What You Want, but Melted Ice Cream Is the Easiest, Most Delicious Base for French Toast

File this one under the best brunch party trick of all time.

Here at Real Simple, we love discovering a smarter, easier way to cook a dish for a crowd—and if it comes out even more delicious than the original recipe, we're over the moon. So naturally, in this episode of Hit or Myth, we couldn't wait to test this genius French toast cooking trick.

French toast is already easy to cook: Dunk stale bread into a custard base (typically eggs, milk, and maybe a splash of vanilla or cinnamon), and then sear it in a skillet with butter and oil until golden brown.

But can it get even easier? The simplest swap we could think of for the custard base is melted ice cream. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it, because ice cream is simply a more delicious version of milk (or heavy cream) and eggs whisked with sugar. Better yet, it's likely you have a pint of ice cream in your freezer, meaning you're only some bread and butter away from having the best-ever breakfast tomorrow.

How to Make French Toast With Ice Cream

To start, we thawed two pints of ice cream (we chose vanilla- and coffee-flavored) for a couple hours at room temperature, but you can also microwave the frozen pints at 15-second intervals for about a minute. You want them melted, but not hot.

Next, we poured the liquified ice cream into separate casserole dishes, and then soaked several slices of slightly stale challah bread in each for about a minute per side.

Meanwhile, we heated a tablespoon each of butter and neutral cooking oil in a nonstick pan. This butter-oil combination gives French toast a mouthwatering browned-butter flavor without burning the outside before its interior is sufficiently warmed.

Finally, we dropped the slices, one by one, onto the skillets and let them cook about five minutes per side. When evenly browned, we removed the French toast from the skillet and plated.

What Happened Next

Results. Were. Delicious. It may have tasted better than classic custard-dipped French toast. And I mean, of course it did—we fried challah bread in melted ice cream! And butter!

The outside of the bread browned beautifully, and the extra sweetness from the ice cream made our vanilla French toast taste like crème brulee—caramelized sugar is cool that way. The inside of our thick slices was extra melty and sweet, too. The coffee ice cream flavor was subtler than we anticipated, which worked well—it didn't dominate the toasty, buttery notes from the bread.

Even more than the extra-easy recipe prep, our favorite part of this cooking trick is the endless opportunity. Think of all the flavors of melted ice cream you can dunk bread into! Cookies and cream, salted caramel, strawberry, pistachio… my head is spinning. Talk about the best brunch buffet ever! And we haven't even talked about toppings.

We also love that those with allergies can swap in a non-dairy ice cream here: Coconut ice cream or another alt-milk base would work splendidly.

A word to the wise: French toast is already a way to (let's be honest) eat dessert for breakfast, and this recipe is even richer. We recommend topping yours with fresh fruit and/or peanut or almond butter because, for some of us, maple syrup puts the sweetness over the top. Not that we're discouraging it! We took one for the team and tasted it with maple syrup, and we approve.

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