Our visit to Hong Kong earlier this year reminded me of the delights of French Toast aka ‘eggy bread’. I particularly loved it slathered in melted butter, condensed milk and kaya (often translated as coconut jam). A staple of the cha chaan teng (Hong Kong style café) menu, the French toast is virtually deep fried for a crisp exterior and fluffy interior before being liberally drenched with the favoured toppings – golden syrup, jam and peanut butter are also popular. Some vendors even sandwich two slices of bread around a filling of jam, kaya or peanut butter before they dip in egg and fry.
To bring a taste of this treat home to London I started thinking about different ways to make the French toast and hit upon the idea of cooking them in our waffle maker. Of course, I quickly discovered that there are few ideas worth having that haven’t been had before – I wasn’t the first to hit upon this idea, but I still wanted to develop my own perfect recipe and combine it with kaya for that Hong Kong feeling.
Chatting to my friend and guest poster Diana Chan over dinner, I mentioned my plans and wondered out loud where to find good kaya. As luck would have it, Diana had recently come across some recipes for making kaya in a sous vide water bath and was excited to have an excuse to try them out. Once I’d experimented and perfected my French toast waffle recipe, we set a date for Diana to make the kaya and she duly delivered not one but eight little jars, each one a variation of two base recipes, giving us the chance to taste test which one we liked best.
Actually, all eight worked well but Pete and I agreed completely on our joint top four, though my favourite two and his favourite two were the opposite way around!
To make the kaya, have a read of a guest post from regular contributor Diana Chan. You’ll find step-by-step instructions for making Sous Vide Kaya, a note about the eight recipe variations she tried and which ones we loved best.
In the meantime, read on for my recipe for the French toast waffles and then dig out your waffle maker and get cooking!
French Toast Waffles
This recipe makes 3-4 waffles depending on the size of your bread and your eggs. It can easily be scaled up (or down) as needed. I've included sugar in the recipe as it gives a hint of sweetness which is lovely when eating these French toast waffles plain, however you could omit the sugar if you like when serving with super sweet toppings like kaya, chocolate sauce, maple or golden syrup. Likewise, omit the sugar and add a pinch of salt if you prefer your waffles to be more neutral.
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 60 ml (¼ cup) milk
- ¼ tsp vanilla bean paste
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 3-4 slices white bread medium thick slices, crusts removed
- Squirt of vegetable oil for waffle maker
Preheat your waffle maker according to the instructions.
In the meantime, combine the batter ingredients and beat well.
When the waffle maker is ready, spray with vegetable oil if needed, then dip each piece of bread into the batter, turning over a few times to let the egg mixture soak in, before transferring to the waffle machine. The aim is for the egg to soak in a little but not to completely saturate the bread.
Cook according to your waffle maker – ours takes 3-4 minutes to cook through and create a beautiful golden brown surface. You may need to experiment with your waffle maker to find the ideal heat settings and times.
When ready, remove carefully from the waffle maker, drench with your chosen sauce.
Eat while hot!
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I hope you give my French Toast Waffles a go! I’d love to hear about your favourite toppings.