Croissant French toast recipe for a special holiday breakfast that uses leftover stale croissants. When they're dipped in sweet custard and gently fried, they can't be beat! Top with whipped cream and fresh berries for a beautiful Christmas morning breakfast treat.
Slowly step away from the screen before you drop that mug of coffee. I know: you're looking at a croissant that's been battered and fried, and covered in maple syrup and freshly whipped cream. It's a little dangerous to be talking about such things on a weekday, no? I say it's never too early to plan for a special weekend.
This is what we make on Christmas morning, because Santa deserves a treat for all the hard work he did the previous night. So, naturally, Mom and Dad just enjoy the leftover French toast made with croissants, because we want to help with any leftovers. I've also served it on Easter morning as part of a brunch spread with a ham and cheese casserole for a savory component.
What is croissant French toast?
If you understand that French toast is slightly stale bread dipped in a custard mixture and then lightly pan-fried until crisp and golden, you can see where we're going with croissant French toast. Instead of using just any slightly stale bread, like we do with my French toast for two, to make things extra special, we're using stale croissants. Croissants are super buttery, flaky French pastries, and they soak up a sweet custard mixture so nicely.
The custard mixture we're using today is made up of eggs, half and half, sugar, and vanilla extract. They're truly simple pantry ingredients that you probably already have in your house! You can definitely use my small batch croissants recipe to make this, but it's easier to use store-bought ones.
With just a few ingredients, you can make this impressive brunch recipe that everyone will love! This recipe uses 4 croissants, so I can't quite decide if it serves two or four people, so you decide! As always, you can scale up the recipe to suit your needs.
- Croissants. You need 4 stale or day-old croissants for this recipe. Fresh croissants are too soft and tender for this recipe. On Christmas Eve, I slice mine open and leave them out overnight to really make them stale before cooking this on Christmas morning.
- Butter. We need extra butter for frying the French toast in the pan, just 2 tablespoons.
- Half and Half. When making custard, you need a high-fat dairy product. You can substitute milk here, but the results won't be as creamy.
- Granulated Sugar.
- Vanilla Extract.
- Eggs. Two large eggs, beaten.
- For serving: fresh berries, whipped cream, and maple syrup.
- Gather all ingredients: croissants, butter, half and half, sugar, vanilla, and eggs. Have the fresh berries, whipped cream, and maple syrup ready for serving. Ensure that your croissants are stale, or at least one day old. You can slice them open and leave them exposed overnight to quicken the process, if necessary. The drier the croissants are, the more delicious, rich custard they'll soak up.
- Add the butter to a griddle or nonstick pan over medium heat and let it start to melt and bubble. Lower the heat if it threatens to burn while you make the rest of the recipe.
- If you haven't already, slice all of the croissants in half. If you remember to do this the night before, it's even better.
- Next, make the custard mixture: in a large but shallow bowl, whisk together the half and half, sugar, vanilla and eggs very well.
- Next, dip each croissant half in the custard mixture. Leave them in the custard for 2 minutes, and then flip to the other side and soak for another 2 minutes. Use a large spatula to carefully flip the croissants without breaking them. The more stale they are, the easier this will be. Super soft fresh croissants will not work for this recipe! When moving them from the custard to the awaiting skillet, let excess custard drip off. You can even give them a gentle squeeze to remove excess custard.
- Move each croissant half carefully to the awaiting pan with butter. Cook on the first side until golden brown, about 4 minutes, and then flip and repeat on the second side.
- When both sides of the croissant are golden brown, remove them from the skillet.
- These croissant French toast pieces are amazing as-if, just sprinkled with powdered sugar and served. However, you can also add whipped cream, fresh berries and maple syrup for an even more decadent holiday breakfast!
- You can use any type of milk for the diary part of the custard. Half and half is my preference, and it will make the creamiest, richest custard. However, you can use whole milk or any kind of alternative milk.
- A proper croissant French toast custard really needs eggs, but I have used applesauce in its place.
- This recipe uses croissants, but you can use any type of stale bread when making French toast.
What to Serve with Croissant French Toast:
We use this recipe as a special holiday breakfast for days like Christmas and Easter. I like to serve it with bacon and scrambled eggs on the buffet table. A pitcher of mango banana smoothie is super festive and simple, too. A latte bar with a way for guests to serve themselves a caramel latte is fun, too. For the non-coffee drinkers, you can serve a batch of chai lattes. For the kids, strawberry milk is very requested in our house. And finally, for the tea drinkers: a London Fog drink is always welcome.
- 4 croissants that are one-day old and slightly stale
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 ¼ cups half and half
- ¼ cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- fresh berries, for serving
- maple syrup, for serving
- Carefully slice each croissant in half and set aside.
- Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large non-stick skillet or griddle.
- Whisk together the half and half, sugar, vanilla, and eggs in a shallow dish. Add the croissants and let soak for 2 minutes.
- Flip the croissants and soak another 2 minutes.
- Carefully remove the croissants from the custard mixture, letting much of the excess drip off. You can even give them a gentle squeeze.
- Place the croissants cut-side down on the griddle and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side.
- Sprinkle with fresh berries and maple syrup.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 717Total Fat: 29gSaturated Fat: 16gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 174mgSodium: 397mgCarbohydrates: 106gFiber: 3gSugar: 75gProtein: 11g