One day when I was strolling along the streets of SoHo in New York City, I passed by a nice cafe hosting a beautiful, white table-clothed brunch. One dish that caught my eye was a decadent, piled high, creme brûlée french toast! Since neither creme brûlée, nor french toast is typically vegan, I decided this was a great opportunity to introduce some luxury into my weekend brunching, even if it consisted of lounging in my pjs, while reading.
For those of you who aren’t aware, creme brûlée consists of a glass-like layer of sugar, which is actually torched, over a ramekin of custard (don’t worry I have a trick if you don’t have a little flame torch of your own!). One of the best parts of creme brûlée is the initial crack into the sugar layer (if you’ve seen Amelie, then you might remember the scene in the movie where she cracks the creme brûlée). So, one of the main things you need for this recipe is sugar!
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Here’s something that might surprise you, not all sugar is vegan. I never learned about this until after months of being a vegan! It’s not that sugar secretly comes from an animal, but the processing of sugar consists of using animal bi-products. Sugar is filtered through charcoal and often times this charcoal consists of charred bones, and as a result the pieces of bone end up in the refined sugar, finalized product.
Sometimes at the grocery store you’ll see the sugars that are labeled vegan. Whole foods and other health food stores typically have vegan sugar, just look at the package for the little “v” for vegan symbol. Recently I was approached by Maui Brand, who specialize in premium source, slow-batch sugar! Their sugars come in two formats, the Maui Whites, which is a crystallized natural cane sugar, and Maui Raws, which is a turbinado natural cane sugar.
What I love about Maui Brand sugar is that all their sugar is vegan, made in the USA, with slow-batch preparation, and it’s a nice alternative to heavily processed sugars that you find in the grocery store (check to see if Maui Brand is in your grocery store or you can buy it on Amazon!).
But what I realized after a few trials and errors with making a vegan creme brulee is that the type of sugar you use is key! I’ve found that the raw turbinado sugar crystalizes the best! So I prefer to use Maui Brand’s vegan raw, turbinado sugar for this recipe! In order to lighten up this dish a teeny bit, I decided to make a vanilla, custard coconut whip for between the slices of french toast.
- French Toast
- 1 loaf of day old, crusty bread, sliced to your preferred thickness
- 1 cup non-dairy milk
- 1 Tbl pure maple syrup
- 2 Tbl all-purpose flour
- 1 Tbl nutritional yeast
- pinch of salt
- coconut oil for the pan
- Crème brulee whip
- 1 can of full-fat coconut milk or can of coconut cream, chilled in the fridge overnight
- 3 Tbl Maui Brand raw turbinado natural sugar
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped or 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- ½ tsp nutritional yeast
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- Maui Brand raw turbinado natural sugar for brulee-ing
- Strawberries for garnish (optional)
- Place a medium bowl in the freezer.
- In a medium bowl, combine your non-dairy milk, maple syrup, flour, nutritional yeast, and salt.
- Heat your skillet (cast iron preferred) over medium heat with coconut oil.
- When your skillet is hot, dip one slice of bread into the mix and coat both sides briefly. Add it to the skillet.
- Cook the toast on both sides until the sides are browned, for approximately 3-5 minutes. Set aside, or keep the French toast in the oven at 200 degrees F until ready to serve so that it stays warm.
- If you have a partner, while the French toast is cooking, prepare your crème brulee whip.
- Remove your chilled coconut milk and flip it upside down and pour out the coconut water, leaving just the pulp. If you’re using canned coconut cream, you don’t have to worry about removing the water since it’s all cream.
- You’ll want to scoop out all the coconut cream into the bowl you had in your freezer.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the coconut cream until fluffy, but be careful because if it heats up the whip will melt, but don’t worry because the flavor will still be great!
- Add in your sugar, vanilla, nutritional yeast, and salt and beat until it’s combined, but don’t over whip otherwise your whip might collapse. If you’re not going to use it right away, place it in the freezer, but I suggest using it immediately.
- Now, brulee your French toast. Lay a coat of the raw turbinado over your French toast slice and use your brulee torch to melt the sugar until it turns golden. If you don’t have a torch, you can broil the toast with the raw sugar on the top. But keep an eye on it so it doesn’t burn everything!
- Assemble the French toast! Lay 1 piece of French toast on a plate, layer some coconut whip and another piece of French toast topped with more whip and strawberries!
- Snob away!
If you want a less decadent breakfast, you could just use this recipe for some delicious, vegan french toast!
Happy Snobbing and Happy Brunching,
Full Disclosure: Although I received a free sample for review, I am not affiliated with Maui Brand Sugar and I did not feel obligated to write a positive review in exchange. I am just an exploring vegan excited to share all my vegan-y discoveries with whomever may want to read! Read more about my philosophy on product reviews here. Please note that if you buy a product through my links, I receive a small percentage from Amazon.