During Spring Break for my girls, Dada took a few days off. Unfortunately it was raining hard so our plans to go to Tahoe were canceled. Instead we saw it as a blessing…we got to sleep in and have a lazy day. On days like this, we often have breakfast for lunch, so I thought it would be a great time to try something super decadent.
Peanut Butter and Condensed Milk French Toast is a Hong Kong-style treat that is enjoyed any time of day. Also, it’s usually deep-fried! But I just made it with regular French Toast custard and baked it in the oven.
I was also on a mission to shop at Smart and Final, to try out their store brand called First Street, and compare it to some famous name brands. My specific task was to compare Orowheat Bread and Jif Peanut Butter to Smart and Final’s more economical First Street Bread and Peanut Butter.
The day I shopped, the Orowheat Bread was being sold at a promotional price of $2.50 a loaf, with an original price of $3.99. In comparison, the First Street Bread was $2.29 a loaf, which is the usual price.
As for the Peanut Butter, Jif costed $3.39 for an 18-ounce jar, while First Street was $2.29 for a same-sized jar.
I would love to save money on staples like bread and peanut butter because it really adds up over time. I’d be willing to make the swap if the store brand tastes the same or better. But sometimes we stick to what we know. I know that Orowheat and Jif taste good. I’m glad, however, to have gotten this nudge to experiment and try something new.
I already had Condensed Milk at home (a Chinese brand my mom previously brought me), but out of curiosity I also checked out the selection at Smart and Final. While my brand wasn’t available at Smart and Final, my next choice probably would have been Eagle Brand. I noticed a huge difference between Eagle and the First Street condensed milk ($3.39 for Eagle, and $1.49 for First Street with a sale price that day of $1.29). Wow! Good to know for next time.
Here are more pictures from my Smart and Final Shoppertunity on Google+!
So on the first morning that my husband was home, all four of us slept in, followed by a cartoon marathon in Mama and Dada’s room. Finally I dragged myself out of bed to start the French Toast. I pulled my recipe up on my phone on my Epicurious app (look at what time it is haha!). This is a classic recipe for Baked French Toast from Bon Appetit.
I decided to use my two beloved Pyrex baking dishes to distinguish between the name brands and the store brands. Orowheat and Jif will go in the green dish, while First Street will go in the red dish.
As I was setting up, my girls came down the stairs and saw I was cooking and volunteered to help. It was actually a good thing because they helped me keep track between the two (I admit I almost mixed them up but they caught me!). It was also fun explaining to them the difference in prices. I put it to them this way…if we like the less expensive one, we will switch and save money…to buy more stickers. They got it and were even more willing to help!
Basically, you just make peanut butter and condensed milk sandwiches and pour the French toast custard on top. The girls spread the peanut butter, each only using one brand or the other.
I spread condensed milk onto another piece of bread of the same brand, and cut the sandwich on a diagonal. Then I arranged the halves in their assigned dishes.
I could totally stop here and munch on it as is! This was the Orowheat:
And this was the First Street:
By the way, here are the two peanut butters side by side. I did not notice any difference (Jif on the left, First Street on the right):
My girls did notice there was a difference in texture between the two breads. The First Street bread was denser and spongier, while the Orowheat bread was softer. That’s actually how one of my girls caught me mixing up the bread! Top: First Street, Bottom: Orowheat.
I made one and a half recipes of the custard, because it looks like I doubled the amount of bread! I should have used a smaller dish…oh well. I poured the custard into a measuring cup and poured it that way to ensure both pans got an equal amount of custard.
Then I baked them together at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes, turned them and baked for another 4 minutes. At that point, the custard around the bread was starting to set, but the bread itself was not browning. So I put them under the broiler for a few minutes…
…and they browned very nicely. Can’t wait to try them!
Now for the taste test. My husband doesn’t know which brand is in which dish. He tried the French Toast in the red dish first.
Then he tried the one in the green dish.
His verdict? While the one in the green dish was slightly peanuttier, overall he thought they were about the same. I think there was actually more peanut butter used on the green dish. Sorry I should have monitored that! So unscientific of me.
I agreed they did taste the same, as did my girls. And we all liked the slight sweetness of the condensed milk mixed with the saltiness of the peanut butter. Yum. I can’t wait to serve this at our next brunch or lunch gathering. And I’m glad to now have the less expensive option of the First Street brands of bread and peanut butter to save money for our family. I’ll definitely consider other First Street products the next time I’m at Smart and Final.
This shop has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Collective Bias #CBias. All opinions are my own.