Unless you’ve been living under an Instagram-less rock, you know that fancy toast is taking the upscale food scene by storm. Restaurants all over the world are serving up their own versions of golden brown sliced bread, topped with goodies from avocado to nut butters and everything in between. While it may seem pretty simple, these fancy toasts are way more than plain old sliced bread.
Inspired by the many Instagram photos of crazy delicious fancy toast and this video of rainbow bagels reimagined as vehicles for sweet toppings, I set out on a mission to create some sweet and savory artisanal toast à la dining hall.
Many of these fancy toast ideas utilize ingredients from all areas of the dining hall: the coffee bar, salad bar, and ice cream station are some of your best friends here. As a rule of thumb, try to go with the thickest slice of bread you can find, as it will stand up best to these wild toppings.
Chai-Spiced Caramel Apple Pie Toast
This is just about as complex as the sweet fancy toast gets. Head over to the coffee area, where you’ll find chai spice and cinnamon. Add a bit of each to your cream cheese frosting base and stir until combined.
Note: If your dining hall doesn’t have either one of these add-ins, don’t worry. It’s going to be delicious either way.
Next, grab some granola from wherever you can find yogurt and pick up an apple. Slice it as thinly as possible (although it’s not going to be perfect if you’re using a dining hall knife). For a more rustic look, cut apples into chunks.
Spread your spiced dining hall cream cheese frosting on a slice of golden toast (use whole wheat bread for a slightly nuttier taste). Next, cover it with a layer of granola. Add the apple slices, drizzle with caramel sauce (found near the ice cream), sprinkle with a little more granola and cinnamon, and devour.
Trail Mix Remixed Toast
For our first peanut butter-based fancy toast, we’re hitting the trails with GORP (good ol’ raisins and peanuts) toast. If raisins aren’t your thing, leave them off and use plain white bread. Otherwise, spread a piece of toasted raisin bread with crunchy peanut butter. Top with granola, more raisins, and M&Ms. Perfect fuel for a day on the mountains—or more likely, a day at the library.
Chunky Monkey Toast
Inspired by the classic Ben and Jerry’s flavor, this piece of toast is a slightly healthier way to enjoy the iconic taste without some of the added junk. Spread a slice of toast with peanut butter—crunchy or creamy, it’s really up to you. Next, slice half a banana into coins and arrange on the bread. It wouldn’t be Chunky Monkey without the chocolate, so drizzle with chocolate sauce.
If you’re eating this before 11 AM, you might want to try swapping the chocolate for a drizzle of honey and a dash of cinnamon for an awesome breakfast. Or, take this topping to the next level by placing it on top of a slice of french toast (if it’s on the menu that day).
Funfetti Fairy Bread Toast
The first and most important step in mastering the art of sweet dessert toast is learning how to make the glue that holds most of these recipes together: dining hall cream cheese frosting. It couldn’t be easier to make. It’s literally just a schmear of cream cheese (enough to cover a piece of bread) mixed with sugar to taste. Sounds weird, I know. But trust me, it tastes exactly like cream cheese frosting. Artificial sweeteners work just as well, but use them at your own risk.
This birthday cake/fairy bread-inspired treat is one of the easiest fancy toast recipes to make. Simply mix rainbow sprinkles (found near the ice cream) with dining hall cream cheese frosting base until you achieve your desired sprinkle-to-frosting ratio. Then, spread the mixture on top of toasted white bread. If you want to be true to the classic fairy bread, cut off the crust before you put your bread in the toaster. Be sure to add a few more sprinkles for good luck.
#SpoonTip: For a variation on the same theme, try swapping the sprinkles for Oreo cookie pieces or your favorite breakfast cereal. If you prefer your Oreos Parent Trap-style, mix them up with peanut butter instead of your frosting and spread liberally. Feel free to drizzle any of these with peanut butter, chocolate sauce, or caramel sauce to your heart’s content.
DIY B-Y-Avo Toast
Just because your dining hall doesn’t actually serve avocado doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to eat avocado toast. If you’re one of the lucky ones whose dining hall does have avocado, simply pick some up from wherever avocado can be found. If not, you’re going to have to sneak one in under your jacket or something.
As far as avocado toast goes, you can’t really go wrong. Slice up 1/4-1/2 of the avocado and mash in a bowl. Go naked or add some salt, pepper, lemon juice, or whatever else you like. Spread generously on a perfectly golden slice of toast.
For a kick of spice, head over to the pizza station where you’re sure to find red pepper flakes to sprinkle on top. If eggs are on the menu, you can add some of those too. The world is really your oyster.
#SpoonTip: Don’t see any avo on the salad bar and don’t have one to bring yourself? Try looking near the sandwich station to see if there is any avocado spread. You may just get lucky.
Crunchy Thai Toast
For this next fancy toast idea, you’re going to be making the dining hall version of Thai peanut sauce. In a bowl, make a modified version of this recipe for dining hall Thai peanut sauce by mixing together a tablespoon or so of creamy peanut butter, a splash of soy sauce, a small squeeze of lemon or lime juice, a little bit of honey, some Sriracha, and a dash of garlic powder (if you can find it). Stir until you’ve made a slightly thicker version of the classic thai dipping sauce.
Spread it on thick and top with matchstick carrots, cucumber slices, and edamame. Drizzle with a little more Sriracha or some Asian sesame dressing. Shake on some sesame seeds for an extra gourmet touch and add crushed red pepper flakes for a little bit more spice.
Next time you’re feeling like your dining hall meal plan needs a little extra gourmet boost, try one of these outrageous fancy toast recipes. You’d be surprised how easy it is to make something new and innovative out of the most seemingly boring ingredients. With a little bit of creativity (and a little bit of mess), you’ll be well on your way to a delicious dining hall creation, or at the very least, a killer Instagram.