Coconut French Toast

Who doesn’t love those Hawaiian sweet rolls? But did you know they have full loaves? This Portuguese eggy sweet bread similar to brioche (that let’s be honest was perfected in Hawaii) is my absolute favorite bread to make french toast with. But making french toast with Hawaiian bread came to me like most of my recipes, which is me being starving and looking around my house to see what I can make so I don’t have to put real pants on to go to the store. We had leftover rolls that were kind of stale, so I thought “french toast” at the time we were out of cream and milk but we did have a leftover can of coconut milk in the fridge fried it up and topped it with a banana and some coconut. For one of my “struggle meals”, it was pretty damn good, but not perfect.

The next time I made these was for a family brunch this time I made more of a traditional custard with heavy cream and extra eggs, added a lot more fruit to the topping. We had this breakfast because Colby and just so happened to just be home from a trip to the big island of Hawaii. There was a breakfast place that we had just eaten at that had the best macadamia nut pancakes and this house-made coconut syrup, that I needed to know how to make. It was a perfect storm of elevating the struggle meal I had made with an excuse to figure out a new recipe and the outcome was such a crowd-pleaser that I keep making it.

The bright colors of the fruit remind me of Easter and spring. It is currently is that one day in March where the weather feels like it starts to turn and you think about yard work that needs to be done before you can have those backyard parties, but it’s only that one day. Tomorrow and into St. Patrick’s Day weekend we’re supposed to get anywhere between 2-7 inches of snow! Anything that reminds me that winter is on its way out is a good thing. Plus anything that reminds me of Hawaii is also great, which is why sometimes I’ll add li hing mui (dried salted plum that makes all fruit taste 1000% better) to the salad, and of course no Hawaiian breakfast can really be complete without SPAM.

Find this recipe in Spokane Coeur d’Alene Living Magazine

Yield: 6-8 servings

Coconut French Toast

Coconut French Toast
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


Coconut Syrup

  • 2 cups Sugar
  • 1 cup Water
  • 1 14oz can Coconut Milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon Baking Soda

Fruit Topping

  • 1/2 Mango, small diced
  • 1 Kiwi, small diced
  • 1 Banana, small diced
  • 1/2 cup Pineapple, small diced
  • 2-3 Strawberries, small diced
  • 2 tablespoons Coconut Flakes

Custard and Toast

  • 1 loaf Hawaiian Sweet Bread
  • 6 Eggs
  • 1 cup Heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup Coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2-3 tablespoons Butter


Coconut Syrup

  1. In a large (larger than you think you'll need) bring the water and sugar to a simmer, don't scrape the sides of the pan or anything just let it warm up and allow it to simmer for 10 minutes stirring to make sure it doesn't burn or carmelize.
  2. Once the water has evaporated about 1/2 way and is syrup-like, add the coconut milk and bring to a simmer then remove from the heat.
  3. With the syrup off the heat add in the baking soda, it will bubble up (hence the bigger pan) allow it to settle then remove the foamy top and serve warm. It can be kept in the fridge for 2 weeks.

Fruit Topping

  1. Mix all the fruit and coconut in a bowl.

Custard and Toast

  1. Slice the loaf of bread into 1 inch thick slices I suggest doing this the night before and allowing the bread to dry out a little, but not fully necessary.
  2. In a large casserole dish mix together the eggs, heavy cream, coconut milk, powdered sugar, and vanilla.
  3. On medium heat warm a large frypan with enough butter to cover the bottom of the pan. Dip the bread covering the entire slice with the custard place in the frypan and cook until golden brown on both sides. About 3 minutes each side, continue until all the bread is cooked.


I like to serve this family-style with fruit on top and syrup on the side served warm.


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