My caramel apple French toast is a deliciously sweet and cozy pick fit for apple season, prepared with a layer of caramelized apples and sweet, spiced cream cheese nestled between two pieces of fluffy French toast. Drizzle with warm, maple-caramel syrup, this apple French toast recipe has all those warm, spicy flavors of fall that we crave!
When a Caramel Apple Meets French Toast
I remember being utterly obsessed with caramel apples as a kid when fall would arrive and all things apple would begin to appear and beckon.
Being little, those caramel apples looked huge to me, like the biggest indulgence I could imagine, what with their glistening, thick layer of sweet, buttery caramel and the occasional additional topping of nuts, chocolate, or other candy bejeweling that glossy exterior.
Every now and again my parents would allow me to get one of those decadent apples to enjoy for a couple of days (I could never finish one in a single day!), and it was such a tasty autumn treat for me, such a special thing.
And me being me, childhood whimsies always inspire my recipes!
When we get a craving for warm, fluffy French toast in our household during the fall season, I like to make this caramel apple french toast as an extra special weekend breakfast, complete with a caramelized apple and a sweetened, spiced cream cheese filling nestled between two pieces of buttery French toast.
And the topper? A super easy-to-whisk-up warm, maple-caramel syrup to drizzle over top to seal the deal. Absolutely de-lish!
Talk about an ultra comfy-cozy breakfast fit for apple season, inspired by a childhood love of caramel apples!
My Recipe for Caramel Apple French Toast
For this unique apple French toast recipe, I have several components to give things an extra decadent caramel apple twist, and I like to have those prepped before making the French toast so things are quick and easy to layer and assemble when ready to serve.
The three extra components include the caramelized apple slices, the sweet, spiced cream cheese, plus the maple-caramel syrup as the topping.
I like to quickly caramelize fresh apple slices in a bit of butter, brown sugar and spices, for that sweet, tender and tangy slant to this French toast recipe.
The spiced cream cheese offers some richness which pairs deliciously with the apples (this tastes a bit like apple cheesecake), as well as some creaminess.
The maple-caramel syrup is super easy, as it's really just maple syrup plus good quality, prepared caramel sauce (I love Trader Joes' salted caramel sauce here) and a kiss of vanilla, whisked together and heated up so it's nice and warm to serve.
Here's a sneak peek at how I make my caramel apple French toast recipe: (or just jump to the full recipe...)
- To get started, I prepare my spiced cream cheese mixture and set that aside to have ready.
- Next, I caramelize my apples briefly just until brown, soft and sweet, and set those aside, keeping those warm. Then, I whisk together my maple syrup, prepared caramel sauce and vanilla, heat that gently until warm, and set that aside.
- I then prepare my French toast and keep it in a warm oven until all are prepared, so they stay nice and warm for serving.
- To assemble, I place a piece of French toast onto a plate, spread on a thick layer of my sweet, spiced cream cheese, spoon over some caramelized apples, then top with a second piece of French toast, so it looks like a small stack. I finish with a drizzle of the warm maple-caramel syrup, and serve.
Caramel Apple French Toast
by Ingrid Beer
This caramel apple French toast recipe is layered with caramelized apples and spiced cream cheese, and topped with warm maple-caramel syrup!
Yield: Serves 4
Nutrition Info: 1150 calories per serving
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Total time: 1 hour, 5 minutes
Apple French Toast Ingredients:
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened at room temp
- 2 ½ tablespoons powdered sugar, plus extra for sprinkling over top
- 1 ¼ teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, divided use
- 2 ¼ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons butter, plus extra for frying pan
- 2 large Honeycrisp apples, peeled, cored and halved, and sliced into ½” thick wedges
- 5 tablespoons brown sugar, divided use
- Pinch ground cinnamon
- 6 eggs
- 1 cup half & half
- 8 slices of day-old challah or brioche bread
Maple-Caramel Syrup Ingredients:
- 1 cup maple syrup
- ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoons prepared caramel sauce (good quality such as Trader Joe's brand)
- 1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Begin by gathering and prepping all of your French toast ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Next, heat the oven to 200° or “warm” setting, and place a wire rack-lined baking sheet into the oven.
- Add the cream cheese, the 2 ½ tablespoons of powdered sugar, ¼ teaspoon of the pumpkin pie spice, and ¼ teaspoon of the vanilla extract to a bowl, and using a hand mixer, blend the mixture until smooth and creamy. Set aside.
- To caramelize the apples, place a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, and add the 2 tablespoons of butter in. Once melted, add the apples in and saute them for about 4 to 5 minutes, until softened and lightly browned. Add in 3 tablespoons of the brown sugar and the pinch of cinnamon, and continue to saute them for another 1-2 minutes longer, then spoon into a bowl and keep warm.
- Next, gather and prep all of your maple-caramel syrup ingredients according to the ingredient list above to have ready and organized for use.
- Add all the ingredients to a small sauce pan, whisk to combine, and heat on low just until warm and well blended. Keep warm.
- Prepare the french toast batter by whisking together the eggs, the half and half, the remaining 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, the remaining 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice and the remaining 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract until well blended.
- To fry the french toast, place a large non-stick frying pan over medium heat, and once hot, rub a stick of butter in the hot pan to coat the bottom liberally. Dip a piece of the bread in the batter to coat both sides well, then add it to the hot buttered pan and allow it to brown for about 2-3 minutes per side (do a couple of pieces at a time if possible). Place the cooked French toast into the warm oven to hold while you prepare the remaining slices.
- To assemble the caramel apple French toast, place one piece of the french toast onto a plate, and spread on a couple of generous tablespoons of the spiced cream cheese. Add a portion of the caramelized apples over the cream cheese, then top with another slice of french toast.
- Dust with some powdered sugar if desired, and drizzle with some of the warm, maple-caramel syrup, and serve.
Tips & Tidbits for my Caramel Apple French Toast recipe:
- Honeycrisp apples, or your favorite variety: I happen to like Honeycrisp apples here as they are nice and sweet and apple-y, but you could certainly use Gala, Granny Smith or your favorite apples here wonderfully. Use which ever apple is fresh, firm, and most flavorful.
- Maple-caramel syrup, or traditional pancake syrup: Because I like to keep with the caramel apple theme here, and love a semi-homemade syrup for this recipe, I'm using a combo of real maple syrup and prepared caramel sauce along with vanilla. That's it, very easy. But feel free to save some time and use plain maple syrup, or your favorite pancake syrup here.
- Fresh spices for the most flavor: I like to use both cinnamon and pumpkin pie spice for this recipe, to really bring in that aroma of the fall season. And to get the most flavor of out your spices, make sure that they're fresh. If they've been there since last apple season or longer, it's time to toss those and get fresh spices. It really makes a difference!
- Make this apple French toast recipe ahead: While it's best to prep/fry the French toast just before you plan on enjoying this recipe, you can make the other components ahead of time. Just mix together the ingredients for the spiced cream cheese and keep that cold in a covered container, as well as caramelizing the apples, allowing them to cool, and keeping them in a container in the fridge. You can do the same with the maple-caramel syrup. Then, just gently re-heat the apples and syrup before assembling.
Craving more cozy apple recipes? Check out these spicy Baked Apples with Cranberry Nut Crumble, these moist Apple Muffins, these fluffy Apple Pancakes, this apple-infused Snickerdoodle Cake, this Apple Coffee Cake, or this Apple Bread with Cinnamon Sugar Streusel!
Cook's Note: This recipe was originally published in 2013, and has been updated with even more love!