If using cookie cutters, cut out desired shapes in the bread. (Reserve scraps for another use, or cook as a special treat for the cook.) I was able to cut out 4 large snowflakes and 4 gingerbread boys/girls out of 6 slices of bread.
In a small bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, eggs, sugar, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger.
Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Coat the pan with about 1 tablespoon of butter.
When the butter is heated through, quickly dunk one of your bread pieces into the batter, gently shaking off excess (you do not want it to get too soaked if you are using white bread. If you are using a thicker bread, like challah, then you'll have more wiggle room), and add to the pan. Repeat for remaining pieces of bread, working in batches, leaving at least an inch of space between pieces.
When one side of the french toast is golden brown, flip and cook for another minute or so more until golden on the other side.
As you work in batches, add more butter as necessary to the pan. If you are making 4 snowflakes and 4 gingerbread boys/girls like I did, you should be able to do this in two even batches.
Transfer to a serving dish and serve immediately with powdered sugar or maple syrup.
Notes on bread:
Very thin, presliced white bread is often too delicate for French toast. If using presliced, find the thickest bread you can find and air it out (make-ahead notes below). Other good choices for bread to use is challah or French bread.Make-ahead:
Making this on Christmas morning? You can make the bread cutouts the night before! Lay them out on a baking sheet -- airing out the bread overnight will actually make it better for soaking up the custard.If you wish, you could combine the ingredients for the custard and chill in the refrigerator overnight.