This Epic French Toast Grilled Cheese Sandwich inspired by New Smyrna Beach and Grilled Cheese Social Cookbook is Perfect for Brunch!
It’s National Grilled Cheese Day! Who better to go to for inspiration than MacKenzie Smith, aka the genius creator of GrilledCheeseSocial.com, the world’s largest grilled cheese blog. It’s also Easter and we’re in quarantine. So a decadent churro french toast grilled cheese sandwich seems appropriate for a holiday in our upside down world. Or for any day, for that matter. Just add a glass of bubbles, call it brunch and celebrate!
I’ve combined two of her recipes, because why not? The Salted Caramel Churro French Toast from The Black Dolphin Inn to use as the “bread” in my grilled cheese. And for the filling component, I used the recipe for “Cinnamon Sugar Churro Grilled Cheese with Dulce de Leche and Strawberries” from her cookbook “Grilled Cheese Social – Super Fun Recipes for Super Fun Times.” It’s a double whammy of deliciousness!
Travel Inspiration: New Smyrna Beach
All the recipes I publish on GoEpicurista.com are inspired by travel. This one is no different. In addition to being a blogger, Food Network star and social media maven, MacKenzie Smith is also the Executive Chef at the Black Dolphin Inn in New Smyrna Beach.
The 14-room family owned and operated bed and breakfast has earned rave reviews on TripAdvisor, named the #2 Alternative Accommodations choice in the U.S. by Trivago and received four diamond status by AAA for its luxuriousness and amenities. No doubt, the decadent breakfasts made by MacKenzie are a big draw!
New Smyrna Beach located on the central east coast of Florida, just an hour drive east from Orlando, is more than just a sleepy beach town. Although you can definitely get plenty of rest if you just want to chill and relax. But NSB has lots to see and do. It’s not only been rated one of “Florida’s Top 10 Beach Towns” by USA Today, it’s also one of the “Top Surf Towns in the world”, and one of “The 100 Best Small Art Towns in America” thanks in part to being home of The Atlantic Center for the Arts(ACA). (In fact, that is where I met MacKenzie for the first time as she was whipping up grilled cheeses for a charity event.)
Foodies would be happy to know there are no chain restaurants on New Smyrna’s beachside. Everything is locally owned with only mom-and-pop style restaurants.
Can you tell I’m dreaming of my next beach getaway?
For now, let’s stay home and cook like crazy. This Grilled Cheese Social cookbook is a good place to start. And then look at this gorgeous NSB sunrise photo. And then pop open your browser and book that trip
The Grilled Cheese Social Cookbook is Full of Over The Top Recipes
Who said grilled cheese sandwiches were simply white bread, butter and American cheese? The Grilled Cheese Social Cookbook will dispel that myth and blow your mind in the process.
I purchased the cookbook directly from MacKenzie. I actually snatched it off her table at the Cows N Cabs charity event because I didn’t want to wait. Those outrageous grilled cheese sandwich creations were calling my name. BTW Mackenzie is as delightful in person as you see in her social media posts. Her and her husband Jeremy are good people. All the more reason to follow and buy her cookbook.
The book includes the ABC’s of grilled cheesin’, various cooking methods and lots of pro-tips to help you avoid grilled cheese disasters. MacKenzie’s philosophy that you can fill a grilled cheese with just about anything, leads to a plethora of recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Everything from Ramen to Cacio e Pepe to pizza can be turned into an epic grilled cheese sandwiched between the right bread and cheese. The recipes can be followed as is or used as a guide to help you invent and create your own. Get it!
Guaranteed “crazy good times” ahead.
Churro French Toast Grilled Cheese with Strawberry and Dulce De Leche Recipe
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp vanilla
- 3 tbsp butter divided
- 4 slices thick cut white bread
- 2 tbsp white sugar
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 4 tbsp cream cheese
- ¼ cup fresh strawberries
- 2 tbsp dulce de leche
In a shallow bowl, whisk together egg, milk, cinnamon and vanilla and set aside.
- Melt 1/2 tbsp of butter in a large nonstick fry pan over medium heat.
- Dip 1 piece of bread in egg mixture being sure to coat both sides and place it in the fry pan. Repeat with second slice.
- Cook both slices until golden brown then flip and add another 1/2 tbsp of butter.
- Repeat this process for the remaining two slices of bread.
- While the second batch is cooking, mix together white sugar and cinnamon and set aside.
- Once all the french toast is cooked, toss each piece in the cinnamon and sugar.
- Smear half the cream cheese onto each slice of French Toast.
- Top with sliced strawberries and sandwich both halves together.
- Heat on a cast iron skillet or panini press over medium low heat for 5 minutes, until cheese softens.
- Remove from heat and carefully pull top off the sandwich.
- Drizzle interior with dulce de leche and close the sandwich back up.
- Carefully toss the sandwich in the cinnamon sugar mixture to cover it.
- Serve immediately.
These are my notes and observations after following the recipes:
- I used whipped cream cheese and reduced the amount of time I heated the sandwich on a cast iron skillet since the cream cheese is already softened.
- You can use strawberry preserves if you don’t have fresh strawberries. You can also use other berries.
- Keep your pan on lower heat than you normally would to cook slower and get a golden brown bread. The butter burns easily at higher temps.
- If you don’t have dulce de leche, you can use caramel or toffee ice cream topping.
- I added more cinnamon to my French Toast batter because I like it more cinnamony. You do you!
- Don’t be afraid to be generous with the cinnamon sugar coating on the French Toast. It is freakin’ delicious!
I hope you’re inspired to create an epic grilled cheese sandwich like this Churro French Toast Grilled Cheese using the Grilled Cheese Social cookbook. And, go plan a trip to New Smyrna Beach when travel restrictions are lifted. We could all use a relaxing getaway! #MakeSomedayHappen one delicious bite, sip and trip at a time!