IHOP used to be my go-to restaurant for everything. The hot place to be after school dances? IHOP. The spot to go after a long shift at work in college? IHOP.
I’m no longer a frequent patron, but a few years back I had a very specific craving for their stuffed French toast. Much to my shock and horror, I was informed the dish had been discontinued from their menu. Now, don’t get me wrong: French toast on its own is already pretty perfect. But something amazing happens when you add cream cheese filling. The tanginess of the cream cheese pulls everything together and makes it incredibly decadent without being overly sweet.
This recipe is a remedy for my stuffed French toast cravings, and every bite brings me back to those late nights and early mornings in a booth at IHOP. Drizzle some maple syrup on top or dust with powdered sugar, and you’re guaranteed a very happy breakfast crowd.
Breads like brioche and challah — sliced one-inch thick — are best for stuffed French toast because of their density. Skip flimsy sandwich bread, which won’t be able to hold up to being stuffed and dipped in the egg mixture, resulting in soggy French toast.
STUFFED FRENCH TOAST
6 ounces cream cheese
1/4 cup powdered sugar, plus more for serving
2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
1/2 tsp. kosher salt, divided
12 (1/2-inch-thick) slices brioche or challah bread
3 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 tbsp. unsalted butter, divided
Maple syrup, for serving
Place 6 ounces cream cheese in a medium bowl or bowl of a stand mixer and let sit at room temperature until softened, about 30 minutes.
Add 1/4 cup powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract, and 1/4 teaspoon of the kosher salt. Beat with the paddle attachment on high speed until smooth and spreadable, about 45 seconds.
Divide the cream cheese mixture onto 6 (1/2-inch-thick) slices brioche or challah bread. Spread onto the bread, concentrating more toward the middle so that the filling doesn’t spill out. Top with the remaining 6 bread slices and gently press down on each sandwich.
Place 3 large eggs, 1 cup milk, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and the remaining 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt in a wide, flat bowl or pie plate. Whisk to combine.
Heat a 12-inch nonstick frying pan over medium-low heat (or an electric griddle set to 325 degrees). Add 1 tablespoon of the unsalted butter and swirl to coat the pan (or brush over the griddle). Dip each sandwich in the egg mixture on both sides and place them on the skillet (do 2 at a time) or griddle. Cook until golden-brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Add 1 tablespoon unsalted butter to the skillet in between each batch.
Dust with powdered sugar or drizzle with maple syrup and serve immediately.
Leftovers can be refrigerated in an airtight container up to four days.