Begin by blanching the almonds. In a small saucepan, place 2 inches of water, and bring to a boil. Add the almonds and cook for 1 minute to blanch them. Remove the saucepan from the heat and set aside for 3 minutes to cool. Remove the almonds from the water, squeeze each almond between your thumb and forefinger to remove their skins, and set them aside for 5 minutes to dry and cool. Place the almonds in a blender or food processor and process for 1-2 minutes to finely grind them. Add 1/3 cup of the water and the brown rice syrup and process for 1 minute or until smooth. Add the remaining water, sugar, almond extract, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and process the mixture an additional 2 minutes or until very smooth and creamy.
Transfer the mixture to a large casserole dish. Place 4 slices of the bread in the almond mixture, flip them over to coat the other side, and then let the slices of bread soak in the liquid mixture for 2 minutes. Using a little safflower oil, lightly oil a large non-stick skillet (or griddle), and place it over medium heat. Using a fork, carefully remove the slices of bread from the almond mixture, and place them in the hot skillet. Cook the bread slices for 1-2 minutes or until golden brown, carefully flip the slices over, and cook an additional 1-2 minutes or until golden brown. While cooking the first batch, repeat the soaking procedure for the remaining 4 slices of bread. Transfer the French toast to a large plate. Lightly oil the skillet again with a little safflower oil and repeat the cooking procedure for the remaining slices of bread. Serve the French toast with your choice of jams, preserves, syrups, or fresh fruit.
Yield: 8 slices
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