What is on your bucket list? One of my bucket list items is to travel to Hawaii one day. My whole family has lived in Hawaii, with the exception of me! Before I was born, my father was reassigned to an Air Force Base in the Midwest. So, my family packed up and jetted to the land of corn fields before I was fortunate enough to experience island life. As expected, living in Hawaii made a huge impact on my family. The Hawaiian culture has been celebrated by my family members for as long as I can remember. Since we aren't traveling much at the moment, I decided to embark on a journey to Hawaii from the comfort of my kitchen. My King's Hawaiian Bread French toast recipe will whisk you to the Hawaiian islands, if only for the morning.
Please note, this post contains affiliate links which means I will receive a small commission on the sale of these items at no cost to you. This is not, however, a paid sponsored post - I just love King's Hawaiian Bread!
What Makes This Hawaiian French Toast Special?
Not only is this Hawaiian bread French toast easy to make, but it might just be my favorite weekend breakfast or brunch treat.
This French toast made with Hawaiian bread has just the right amount of sweetness. Thick slices of King's Hawaiian Bread are dipped in a custard mixture comprised of eggs, cream, vanilla, and sweetened coconut cream and then pan fried in salted butter.
Instead of using store-bought maple syrup (which you could do...), I make a rich, velvety coconut caramel syrup to drizzle on top of the toast.
To garnish, I like to toast coconut in the oven and sprinkle it on the Hawaiian French toast. I also always serve this dish with a side of seasonal tropical fruits, like pineapple and kiwi. Mango and papaya go well with this dish as well. You could also sprinkle some lime zest on top to cut through the richness of the dish.
What Is The Secret To Good French Toast?
There are a couple of secrets to good French toast:
Secret #1: The bread needs to be dry and not too soft.
King's Hawaiian Bread is very soft bread, so you will need to dry it out prior to using it to make French toast. You can accomplish this one of two ways:
- You can buy the King's Hawaiian Bread a couple of days in advance. I would also ventilate the bag by opening it, to let in some air that will help dry the bread out. OR....
- If you are short on time, here's a time-saving super hack for preparing your bread for French toast! Preheat your oven to 200°F/93°C. Remove the bread slices from the packaging and place them in a single layer on 1 or 2 sheet pans. Bake the bread slices in the oven, flipping them halfway, for about 15 minutes. This will lightly dry the bread and make it a MUCH better texture for French toast! P.S. You can do this with any bread to prepare it for French toast OR bread pudding!
Drying your bread before making French toast is the KEY to making sure your French toast does not come out soggy.
Secret #2: Pan fry the bread in salted butter.
I love the addition of salt to anything sweet. If you pan fry the Hawaiian bread French toast in salted butter, you will get these lovely, salty, crispy edges. Yum!
Secret #3: Serve the French bread with something acidic.
Because King's Hawaiian Bread is sweeter than normal bread, you really want to be sure to serve the Hawaiian French toast with something acidic. As mentioned above, I love to cut up tropical fruits to serve on the side. Not only do the tropical fruits play a thematic role in the dish, but they add the level of acid needed to cut through the sweetness of the bread and syrup.
What Kind Of Bread Is King's Hawaiian?
So, what exactly IS King's Hawaiian bread?!
I am inclined to answer: King's Hawaiian Bread is manna from Heaven! It is so delicious, sweet, and amazing that you may never want to make French toast with any other bread EVER!
A more "down-to-Earth" answer is this:
"King’s Hawaiian began as Robert’s Bakery, in 1950s Hilo, Hawaii. Taira’s recipe, while indeed delicious, was a type of bread already well-known in Hawaii, known as Portuguese sweet bread. The recipe combines milk, sugar, yeast, flour, and sometimes pineapple juice to add that delightful sweetness to the roll, and reflects the strong Portuguese influences in Hawaiian cuisine. "Reader's Digest
If you have never had this bread, I highly recommend you get a package and make this recipe. It truly celebrates all things Hawaii.
Host A Memorable Brunch
If you are looking to put together a great brunch menu, here are some great ideas for brunch recipes:
- Quick and Creamy Cheese Grits
- Easy and Sophisticated Raspberry Brie Tartlets
- Quick Stone Fruit Salad with Mint and Goat Cheese
- Savory Spinach and Mushroom Quiche
- "Hot Toddy" Spice Cake with Apple Cider Caramel Sauce
- Hot Honey Mojito Mocktail
All of my posts contain my recommendations for essential tools. I have researched these tools. Many of them are already in my kitchen. The ones that are not come highly rated. I do the research so you don’t have to and I only recommend high-quality tools.
If you are just starting to furnish your kitchen with tools or if you are looking to expand your kitchen toolkit, be sure to reference Expert Guide: Equip Your Kitchen for Less Than $200. This guide contains links to all of the equipment items I recommend for a basic kitchen set up.
My essential tools when making this recipe include the following:
Hawaiian French Toast with Coconut Caramel Syrup
For the Coconut Caramel Syrup
- ½ cup butter unsalted
- 1 cup light brown sugar packed
- ½ tsp. salt
- 7 oz. unsweetened coconut cream (half of a 14 oz. can of unsweetened coconut cream)
For the Hawaiian French Bread
- 12 slices King's Hawaiian Bread day old or dried in oven - please see blog post above for instructions on preparing the bread
- 3 large eggs
- 15 oz. sweetened coconut cream
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ¼ cup butter salted
- Optional garnishes: toasted coconut, chopped pineapple, kiwi, mango, papaya, or any other tart tropical fruit. You can also garnish with a sprinkle of lime zest on top of the French toast.
Coconut Caramel Syrup
- In a 1 quart saucepan, melt butter, brown sugar, and salt over medium low heat, whisking occasionally until sugar is fully dissolved - about 5 minutes.
- Increase heat to high and whisk in unsweetened coconut cream.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer (on medium low heat).
- Simmer caramel syrup for 5 minutes and remove from the heat. Set aside. Mixture will thicken as it cools.
Hawaiian Bread French Toast
- While your caramel is cooling, make the Hawaiian Bread French toast.
- In a large shallow dish, whisk together eggs, sweetened coconut cream, heavy cream, vanilla, and salt.
- Dip bread into the egg mixture, coating both sides evenly.
- Set a large skillet or griddle to medium heat. Lightly grease skillet/griddle with salted butter.
- Cook bread slices until browned on both sides.
- Serve French toast with a drizzle of coconut caramel syrup and garnish with your choice of toasted coconut, chopped tropical fruits and/or lime zest. Serve warm and enjoy!