Sunday, March 22, 2020

Recipe Battle: French Toast Rolls Family Recipe vs. Food52

Now that I have a maple syrup I like, I'm on the hunt for ways to use it.

Growing up, one of my favorite holiday dishes was my aunts French toast rolls, cream cheese filled rolls with a crispy, cinnamon sugar coating. No matter how many she made, they were always gone by the end of the night.

Just last week, I ran across a similar recipe on Food52, Pati Jinich's French toast rolls (youtube, print). The main difference between the two was that my aunt's recipe was baked and used a butter-based coating, while the Food52 version was pan-fried and used an egg & milk based coating.

Both sounded great, so I decided to compete them against each other.

The first step was to modify the recipes to be low-carb. To do that, I made the following changes:

  • Replaced white bread with Chompie's multigrain bread (any absorbent low-carb bread will work. Recently I've been experimenting with Diedre's low-carb bread, which is amazing).
  • Replaced sugar with allulose (1:1 by weight)
  • Replaced milk with almond milk
  • Changed the cinnamon:sugar ratio to 1:4 (I prefer a stronger cinnamon taste)
  • Increased baking temperature to 400 °F to get a crispier outer layer.
Then I made the recipes, using the same batch of cream cheese filling (full recipe below). Both turned out fantastic. The sweetened cream cheese contrasts really nicely with the slightly savory bread and then the layer of crispy/sweet/cinnamon outer layer. 

Detailed notes:
  • Cooking:
    • The most labor intensive step was flattening the bread. Both recipes call for using a rolling pin, but I think a grill press would be a lot faster.
    • I overfilled the cream cheese, which led to some of the rolls unraveling during cooking. Still tasted good, but not as visually appealing. You really need only a thin layer of cream cheese (2-3 mm). 
    • Low carb bread doesn't absorb liquid as fast as regular bread. To adjust, just dip longer.
  • Convenience:
    • Both recipes were fairly easy to make, but the Food52 recipe cooks faster (~5 min. in the pan), while my family recipe is less labor intensive, especially in large quantities (~15 min. in the oven, but you can bake a lot at once). 
    • My family recipe can be frozen before cooking, so you can make it ahead of time and then just bake right before serving. I tried this and it tasted exactly the same as fresh.
  • Taste & Texture:
    • The two recipes are similar, but my family recipe adds the cinnamon sugar before cooking, giving it a more intense flavor and a crispier texture. 

Overall, I significantly prefer the family recipe, both for taste and convenience, which I'm sure will make my aunt happy.

The winner! Zoomed in because they look great.
I've included both recipes below if you want to try them yourself.

Hope you enjoy it!

- QD

French Toast Rolls (Stovetop & Oven Baked)

Yield: 16 rolls
Prep time: 15 MCook time: 15 MTotal time: 30 M


  • 1 loaf of low-carb bread (e.g. Chompie's or Diedre's)
  • 1 tbsp. butter (for Stovetop only)
Cinnamon "Sugar"
  • 1:4 cinnamon:allulose by volume or 1:6 by mass (you can use other sweeteners, but they won't brown as well)
Cream Cheese Filling
  • 226 g cream cheese, room temperature
  • 12.5 g allulose
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
Stovetop Coating
  • 1 egg
  • 120 g almond milk
  • 1/4 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 pinch salt
Baking Coating
  • 2 sticks butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt


How to cook French Toast Rolls (Stovetop & Oven Baked)

  1. Trim the crust from the bread and flatten with a rolling pin or grill press.
  2. Mix sugar, cream cheese, and vanilla until homogeneous.
  3. Spread ~1 tsp. of filling on each bread slice, roll tightly into a cylinder, cut in half, and set aside.
  4. Mix together allulose and cinnamon to make the cinnamon "sugar."
  1. Whisk together egg, almond milk, vanilla, and salt.
  2. Melt buter in a skillet over medium heat. Soak the rolls in the milk mixture until fully coated, add to the skillet, and cook until golden brown on all sides.
  3. Toss each roll in the cinnamon mixture and serve warm.
Oven Baked
  1. Heat oven to 400 °F.
  2. Dip each roll in the melted butter, then roll in the cinnamon mixture. Rolls can be frozen at this stage until ready to bake.
  3. Bake for 12-15 min., until heated through and browned.
Fat (grams)
Carbs (grams)
Fiber (grams)
Net carbs
Protein (grams)
Calculated per roll for the oven baked recipe. Stovetop recipe is ~60 cal and 3.8g fat/roll, same carb and protein count.
Created using The Recipes Generator

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