6 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup maple syrup, divided
8 slices of white bread
3 cups strawberries, stemmed and sliced, divided
2 eggs
3 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon butter or margarine
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Powered sugar, optional


1. In a small bowl, using a fork, mix cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of syrup until blended. Spread an equal amount of cream cheese mixture on one side of each slice of bread. Layer four slices with sliced strawberries to cover the surface. Close sandwiches with remaining four slices, cheese side down. Press together lightly.
2. In a shallow bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. In a large nonstick skillet, heat butter and oil over medium heat. Dip sandwiches into egg mixture, turning to soak both sides. Add as many sandwiches to the skillet that will fit without overcrowding and cook until lightly golden, about 4 to 5 minutes. Turn the sandwiches and cook until the second side is lightly golden.
3. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan, combine the remaining 6 tablespoons of syrup and remaining strawberries. Heat over low heat until warm and remove from heat.
4. To serve, sift powdered sugar over French toast, if desired. Cut each sandwich diagonally in half. Serve immediately with warm strawberry syrup.

This makes a good entr´┐Że for weekend brunches. Reduced-fat cream cheese brings a rich and decadent flavor to the filling without adding the extra calories and fat.

Strawberry Filled French Toast
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