In a dutch oven, warm olive oil over a medium-low heat and add onions, tossing to coat. Increase heat to medium-high, stirring every 10 minutes. If they begin to burn instead of caramelizing, reduce heat. When done, they should be a deep golden brown and jam-like. You have probably been lied to in the past. Caramelizing onions takes about an hour, why many recipes say 20 minutes, I will never know. But those fuckers are lying!
I used coffee for this recipe, because, as you may have noticed, the soup itself is vegan, which is far from traditional French onion soup. I used one of my favorites, Philz Coffee’s Dark French. The coffee has these wonderful smoky and charcoal tones that just play well with this classic peasant dish.
Add 8 cups of vegetable broth, 1 1/2 cups brewed coffee, 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon miso, 1 clove garlic, a sprig of thyme and marjoram, and bring the soup to a low simmer. Cook for 30 minutes.
While that is simmering, we are going to make our croûtes. Cut the baguette into 1-inch slices (I like mine thick), place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, brush them with olive oil, and bake them in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees F for about 15 minutes, until toasty.
When the soup is done cooking, salt to taste and divide it into 8 oz ramekins. Top each one with one or two croûtes and some shredded Gruyere. Place them in a baking dish and broil them on low until the cheese is melted and bubbly.