It was 6:30 A.M. on a Saturday when they started calling me.
The beckoning cries echoed from our kitchen, up the stairs and into our bedroom. Although I was sound asleep minutes ago, the haunting calls forced enough adrenaline into my veins to ensure that falling back asleep wouldn’t be an option.
The “they” in this situation was a few remaining Krispy Kreme doughnuts. Stale and past their peak by a few days, but far from moldy. They knew I had a choice to make on this Saturday morning – a choice that could potentially alter the course of breakfast for the weekend.
I could simply throw out the glazed rings of stale dough…OR…I could REVIVE them into one of the most delectable breakfast items known to man: Doughnut French Toast.
Before I had time to even consider my options, the decision was already made. Like a waking dream I looked down and saw that my mise en place was ready to go: Doughnuts, eggs, milk, butter, coffee, fresh oranges, and a hot griddle. This was it. I had a job to do. Clear eyes, empty stomach, can’t lose.
I covet this breakfast because the texture reminds me of crème brûlée. The outer doughnut glaze forms a sweet caramelized crust, which hides a gooey custard-ish doughnut flesh.
This isn’t the first time I’ve made French toast out of doughnuts, but it is the first time I’ve tried to elevate it a bit. I wanted to incorporate coffee flavor, but I don’t typically keep cold coffee on hand for serious emergencies like this. And adding hot coffee to the egg-milk mixture was sure to turn out poorly. I decided to blend whole coffee beans and milk to see if I could at least force some coffee flavor into the milk in a similar way that one might make homemade almond milk.
My original idea was to use my Aerobie Aeropress espresso maker to filter out the coffee grinds. Yes, that was the plan…
I love my Aeropress, but it turns out that milk is too thick to easily go through the paper filter. After almost breaking my beloved bong-shaped coffee maker and pulling a muscle, I ended up just using a standard strainer to filter out most of the coffee grinds. Sure some of the grinds broke through, but who doesn’t like a little texture? Yes, texture became the new plan.
Since the doughnuts come pre-sweetened with glaze, no additional syrup is necessary (unless you’re Leslie Knope). But there is one more thing I like to add: A squeeze of fresh orange juice.
So freaking simple. Does the orange really add that much? (Spoiler alert: Yes, it does.)
This is a sweet, rich dish. Not only does the orange juice complete a comforting “breakfast trifecta” of doughnuts, coffee, and orange juice, but it actually brings out the taste of coffee. Cool, huh? Oh, it also adds some much needed acid to the dish (I’ve always wanted to say that).
Despite the struggles with infusing milk with coffee, I was really happy with this dish. Which is good, because if I’m going to wake up at 6:30 A.M. on a Saturday, I damn well better be making something delicious.
Coffee-Infused Doughnut French Toast
- 6 Stale Glazed Doughnuts (Krispy Kreme works great)
- 1 Tablespoon Coffee Beans
- 1/2 Cup Milk
- 1 Orange
- 2 Extra Large Eggs
- 1 Tablespoon Butter
- Confectioner’s sugar (for garnish)
- Blend milk and coffee beans in a blender until the beans are thoroughly ground and the milk has a light brown color from the beans. Use a separate cup to strain the coffee-milk twice. Most of the grounds shall be captured, but you do want a few to escape.
- In a glass pan or shallow casserole dish, whisk the eggs until the yolk and whites have become one.
- Stir the milk into the pan with the eggs.
- Slice doughnuts in half, lengthwise and dip in the batter pan before frying in Step 5. You don’t need to let them sit for very long, as the un-glazed side will soak up the batter fairly quickly. (You can also use whole doughnuts, but you’ll need to let them sit a little longer to make sure it soaks up enough batter.)
- Heat a griddle pan to medium heat (or around 300 degrees). Melt the butter on the pan, then fry up your doughnuts French toast style. It shouldn’t take more than 1-2 minutes per side. Keep an eye on them, as the glaze side will caramelize quickly and burn if you’re not careful. You want the sugar to brown and be a little bit crunchy, but not burnt.
- Slice the orange into wedges, which can be used to squeeze juice onto the doughnut French toast. Since there is inherent sweetness from the glaze, no syrup necessary!