You can thank Jackie at the Beeroness. I adore her so....
As per usual, I attempted to track down her beer recommendation, but only with moderate success. She based the French toast on Stone's Vanilla bean Smoked Porter.
Ross and I hit up our favorite local liquor store and their stellar craft brew selection. We were mildly let down. On hand was a bottle of Stone's Smoked Porter, but not the vanilla bean edition. (after poking around a little more I discovered this same porter was also brewed with chipotle...oh the fiesta we could have!)
I grabbed the bottle, my mind a whirl about how to up the vanilla essence without detracting from the smoky beer notes. Lost in thought, I almost passed up the vanilla imbided beer sitting next to the porter...Abita's Vanilla Doubledog...a 25th anniversary beer based on their Turbo dog. I almost squirreled the beer away to enjoy by myself, french toast be damned!
I'm glad I didn't
Each beer offered a unique taste, and I am wary to pick a favorite. You'll have to decide for yourself. The Stone offered a deeper more rounded flavor...calling to mind campfires and toasted marshmallow. The Abita was a sweeter variation.
adapted from the Beeroness
The Ingredients1 cup milk
2/3 cup porter or dark ale with caramel notes
1/2 cup vanilla sugar*
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract**
2 tbs butter (plus additional as needed)
1 large loaf of crusty Italian bread, cut into 1 inch thick slices
*vanilla sugar is simply sugar that has shared a container with a vanilla bean or two. cooking with vanilla pods, instead of tossing the spent pod, I allow it to dry and then stick into an mason jar full of sugar. Within a few days the sugars takes on a wonderfully rich vanilla flavor
**if you do happen to find a beer with vanilla essence, reduce the extract to 1 tsp.
The ProcessHeat a large skillet over medium high heat, and add enough oil or butter to well coat the surface.
In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, beer, sugar, eggs and vanilla.
One at a time, dip the bread into the batter, thoroughly coating both sides. Add to the skillet and fry, flipping once, until golden brown, (2-3 minutes per side). Keep warm in a pre-heated oven and repeat with remaining bread. Serve warm. With Bacon.