We all remember those magical evenings when we were kids when our parents let us have “backwards” days, where we got the special treat of breakfast for dinner, or “brinner”.
For you Scrubs fans out there, you know I didn’t exactly invent the term brinner. Turk feels me.
There are so many brinner possibilities. You can go for the full-out inverted day, and eat waffles or pancakes with maple syrup. You can have a nice omelette or breakfast burrito and take the more savory route. Or you can really mix it up and use breakfast as the inspiration for a totally dinner-worthy meal.
In one of their early autumn issues, my favorite food magazine Cooking Light did just this, and had a feature spread of sweet/savory re-invented brinner delicacies. And one in particular struck me as the perfect grown-up autumn treat: Ciabatta French Toast with Warm Apple Maple Syrup.
I actually think I picked this recipe to try first because I already had all the ingredients needed for it — since I always keep a bag of apples and apple cider around during autumn — and because I’ve recently been won over to french toast.
I’m not a big egg fan, and I usually prefer savory breakfasts, so I’ve always ranked french toast near the bottom of my breakfast charts. But then this summer, my friend Rachael and I got together for dinner and cooked Ashley & Stephen’s basil pesto french toast. It was the perfect mix of sweet and savory and convinced me to give french toast another shot.
This recipe was surprisingly easy to cook up. First, prep the french toast by stuffing the Gruyere into the crusty bread. I actually did this step, dunked the bread and then cooked the french toast, keeping it warm while I made the sauce, rather than vice versa as the recipe suggests. This meant I had a nice warm maple syrup topping.
What really makes this recipe is the combination of shallots and Gruyere cheese. Without enough of those savory elements, I think this would be a delicious but very sweet fall-flavored breakfast french toast. But the melted Gruyere cheese and the tangy crunch of the shallots balanced this out perfectly. I ate two piece for dinner and the leftovers for lunch the next day.
Brinner is for me, one of those things that reminds me I’m really a grownup and I can do whatever I want. I could eat breakfast for dinner every night if I wanted to! I don’t, usually, but this recipe convinced me to indulge the kid in me just a little more often. And for the record, this brinner would be killer with a side of bacon.