Sometimes I just want something sweet for breakfast, like pancakes, waffles or these Polenta French Toast Sticks.
How to make polenta French toast sticks
They may sound a little odd since polenta is not typically the base of French toast - bread is.
But if you have a bit of extra time and want to prep something really delicious in advance, these sticks are for you.
Plus, polenta is high in fiber, so it's really a win-win situation.
To make the sticks, you first have to make polenta. It's made with milk and cornmeal and is cooked like oatmeal. It cooks relatively quickly, but the cooking time really depends on the type of cornmeal you buy. If you get the original white or yellow cornmeal, it takes more like 10-15 minutes to cook, whereas "instant polenta" cooks in just a few minutes.
I recommend reading the directions on the bag so it cooks properly. Next, you mix in butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla for that flava flave, then it gets mixed with eggs and transferred to a baking dish.
The mixture is baked for about 25 minutes, then cooled and cut into sticks.
From there, we can make the milk and egg batter, dip them and fry them like French toast! I like to serve them with some maple syrup and a little powdered sugar, but they're also delicious dipped in honey butter.
Yes, yes, yes.
Polenta French toast stick make-ahead tips
There are several steps that can be done ahead of time. First, you can make the polenta and store it in the refrigerator in an airtight container for several days.
Second, you could make the polenta mixture with the butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and vanilla and store that.
Or third, you could bake the sticks in advance, refrigerate or freeze them and just finish "French toasting" them on the stove-top when you're ready to eat.
I'm a huge fan of any recipe where I can do any number of steps in advance. I don't know about you, but I'm starving in the morning and want breakfast to be ready in no-time!
Polenta French Toast Sticks
French toast sticks made out of polenta served with butter and maple syrup.
- Prep Time: 15-20 mins
- Cook Time: 45-50 mins
- Total Time: 1 hr - 1 hr 10 mins
- Yield: Serves 8
- Category: Breakfast
- Method: Stove-Top, Baking
- Cuisine: American
- 5 ½ cups milk, divided
- 1 ½ cups coarse ground yellow cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons butter, melted
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoons + ½ tablespoons cinnamon, divided
- ½ teaspoon nutmeg
- ½ tablespoon baking powder
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 5 eggs + 1 egg white, lightly beaten, divided
- Cooking spray
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup honey + 1 tablespoon melted butter
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Bring 4 cups milk to a simmer in a large sauce pan over medium-high heat.
- Whisk in cornmeal, lower heat and stir for 3-5 minutes until cornmeal is cooked.
- Whisk in 1 Tbsp. melted butter, brown sugar, salt, 2 tsp. cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and vanilla extract. Then whisk in 2 eggs + egg white until incorporated. If mixture is thick, whisk in ½ cup milk, or as much as needed to make it pancake batter consistency.
- Pour mixture into a 9x13 edged baking sheet that has been coated with cooking spray.
- Shake pan from side to side until the polenta is level. Place in preheated oven for 22-27 minutes, or until toothpick in center comes out clean.
- Allow to cool on the counter, then place in the refrigerator for 1 hour or freezer for 30 minutes. Slice in to French toast stick size pieces.
- Whisk together remaining 3 eggs, milk and cinnamon in a large bowl.
- Heat a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray to medium-high heat. Dip each polenta stick in to the egg and milk mixture and place on the skillet and cook on each side until browned and crispy (you can probably do 3-5 at a time, depending on how big the pan is).
- For dipping sauces, whisk together honey and remaining melted butter. Place honey butter in a small bowl, and pour maple syrup in a separate small bowl. Serve polenta sticks with honey butter and maple syrup.
Make Ahead Tip: Bake and cool polenta, then refrigerate or freeze until ready to coat and fry!
- Serving Size: ⅛ of recipe
- Calories: 322
- Sugar: 23g
- Sodium: 373mg
- Fat: 7g
- Saturated Fat: 3g
- Unsaturated Fat: 4g
- Trans Fat: 0g
- Carbohydrates: 53g
- Fiber: 2g
- Protein: 12g
- Cholesterol: 126mg
Keywords: easy, brunch, entertaining, comfort food, holidays, make ahead, do ahead