When you have fresh challah bread, there is really only one thing to do with it: make amazing French toast! Luckily, when we went to the Saturday morning Natick Farmers Market, we had picked up a challah loaf from Birch Tree Bread (along with one of their famous cinnamon rolls and a pain au chocolat, of course!). Just in time for a wonderful Sunday brunch of French toast!

Now, we are still unpacking our boxes, and the books boxes are definitely the lowest priority. So our cookbooks, including our trusty Joy of Cooking (7th edition), are still (temporarily) unusable. Luckily, the Joy of Cooking’s French toast recipe can be found with a quick Google search.

Here’s where the differences in the editions of the Joy of Cooking become interesting. I wasn’t really aware that our preferred edition (7th ed.) is considered “controversial” until I read this Kitchn article by Dana Velden. Apparently the 7th edition “modernized” the Joy of Cooking in 1997 from its previous iteration in 1975 and made a lot of people angry in the process. Subsequently, the 8th edition (in 2006) went back to some of the original traditions and recipes. We received our Joy of Cooking for our wedding in 2007, so I had clearly researched the two most recent editions and decided that I preferred the modernized 1997 version. Fifteen years later, I definitely support that decision, as any “all-purpose” cookbook that does not include a grilled fish tacos recipe is not a cookbook that I would want on my shelf. 

But anyway, the point is that different Joy of Cooking editions will give different takes on a recipe. And when we Googled Joy of Cooking’s French toast recipe, we got a slightly different one than the one we remembered: instead of calling for a teaspoon of vanilla, it notes that you can use vanilla or a tablespoon of rum. Why, yes, please! Suddenly, Sunday brunch is getting a lot more interesting! We ended up deciding to use Malibu coconut rum, and thought that it gave a nice hint of coconut that matched the maple syrup and eggy deliciousness perfectly. 

Update (November 2022): Check out my Malibu French Toast YouTube video to see the recipe in visual form!


Malibu French Toast (modified from the Joy of Cooking recipe, courtesy of L is for Lucy)

Whisk together in a shallow bowl:

2/3 cup milk

4 eggs

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 tablespoon Malibu rum (you can also use 1 teaspoon of vanilla, but why not live a little?)

1/4 teaspoon salt


One at a time, soak both sides of 8 challah bread slices in the egg mixture. Brown the bread on each side in a hot well-buttered skillet. Serve hot.