When I attended college, I moved out of state to do so. My grandparents were an hour away but I knew no one else. I quickly met a number of local friends and was swept up into their weekend outings and meeting their families, having no social obligations of my own.
One friend invited me to accompany their family to visit a longtime friend in the wooded area of Mendocino California. The friend, fondly known as ‘Dr. Dick’, being a retired physician with the first name Richard, had a quaint, charming rustic complex with cabins and out buildings, and a river running through everything. The best part however was that Dr. Dick was a chef. My memories are faint about the origin of his talents but they were impressive to me. I was dazzled by his exotic cuisine. He made Goetta, Pecan Waffles (I’d only ever had basic waffles at this stage of life) and the big gasp for me was Croissant French Toast; enchanting in its own right but even more so to a girl existing on dorm food. It seemed sheer brilliance to me to make French toast from something other than bread, and his made of the buttery, soft croissants was sublime.
I recently had a mental collision of my memory of Dr. Dick’s Croissant French Toast with some Udi’s brand gluten free Cinnamon Rolls. A food blessing in our gluten free household has been Udi’s products. Something I did not appreciate before becoming gluten free was the convenience of good, quality pre made foods for the times I could not muster preparing every meal from scratch. After becoming gluten free, it was an abrupt realization that those prepared food resources were virtually nonexistent until the past few years. Udi’s bagels and bread are now staples for us as are the muffins.
Over the holidays I picked up some Udi’s Cinnamon Rolls but had an itch to make them into something ‘more’, so I created Shortcut Cinnamon Roll French Toast with Homemade Satsuma-Vanilla Syrup. The delicious familiar flavor of the cinnamon rolls are softened and elevated with the French toast treatment. Slathered with the seasonal tangerine syrup and they are a breakfast for any time of the day!
Shortcut Cinnamon Roll French Toast with Tangerine-Vanilla Syrup
Ingredients for each French Toast serving:*
- 2 Cinnamon rolls (1 -2 per person depending on size)**
- 1 Egg
- 1 ½ tablespoon Milk
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon unsalted Butter
Ingredients for Tangerine-Vanilla Syrup:
- Juice of 6-7 Satsuma or other variety tangerine (total yield 2 cups juice between tangerines and orange below)
- Juice of 1 Cara Cara or Blood Orange
- 1 1/2 teaspoon Arrowroot Starch (can substitute cornstarch)
- 2 tablespoons warm Water
- ¼ cup Honey
- ½ teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- Optional: ¼ - ½ teaspoon tangerine or orange zest
Instructions for making the Tangerine-Vanilla Syrup:
In a small bowl combine the arrowroot starch and water; whisk until dissolved.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat combine tangerine juice, orange juice, starch-water mixture, honey, vanilla extract (and zest if adding it for a marmalade flavor). Whisk to combine and dissolve the honey. Note: Taste the mixture. Citrus fruits vary with regard to sweetness. If the mixture is not sweet enough for your taste, add honey by the teaspoon full until it is sweet enough. The cinnamon rolls are sweet so the syrup does not need to be overly sweet unless you desire that.
Bring mixture to a boil and reduce to a low simmer, stirring often. Allow to simmer for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to fully cool. The mixture will begin to thicken while cooking but will fully thicken when cooled.
Instructions for making Cinnamon Roll French Toast:
Slice cinnamon rolls horizontally making slices approximately ¾ inches thick (2-3 slices per cinnamon roll).
In a shallow flat-bottom bowl or pie pan, combine egg, milk and vanilla; whisk until egg is lightly beaten and the mixture is fully combined.
Place slices of cinnamon roll into the egg-milk mixture. Allow them to sit on each side for a few minutes to soften and soak up some of the liquid.
Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Melt butter in the skillet. Place coated cinnamon roll slices in the heated skillet and heat until browned on each side (approximately 1 minute per side) to your liking. Remove from heat.
Serve Cinnamon Roll French Toast with the Tangerine Syrup when warm.
*The egg wash amount detailed in the ingredients should be enough for about 4 cinnamon rolls worth of French toast. The recipe can be doubled.
**To make French toast gluten free I recommend using Udi’s gluten free cinnamon rolls.