A Squared: Just For Fun: Make Ahead Baked French Toast

Monday, December 31, 2012

Just For Fun: Make Ahead Baked French Toast

Happy New Year's Eve!

I wanted to share another recipe with you that may come in handy during this snowy (for most of you) winter break or perhaps as something to plan for your sleepy New Year's Day brunch.  This baked french toast recipe is one of my favorites for a special breakfast or brunch and could not be easier.  The prep for this recipe is super simple and the results are delicious-- a big change from my semi-disastrous cinnamon rolls of last Christmas!

The full recipe feeds a crowd, but for Alex and me I split it in half and froze the other half of the challah loaf.  It made the perfect amount for us to eat for Christmas morning breakfast and then for some leftovers the next day.

The challah bread is the secret here-- it's soft and dense and soaks up the egg mixture nicely so that you end up with great flavor and each slice is soft on the inside and crispy around the edges.  You can serve this plain, with maple syrup, or with fresh fruit or a fruit sauce.  I was planning to cook down some blueberries and make a sauce, but I got busy squeezing fresh orange juice and forgot.  However you serve it, it is sure to be a hit with your family, friends, and brunch guests!



Ingredients:
  • 1 loaf challah (egg) bread
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk *I used 2% here
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 6 Tbs. unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup pecans, chopped
  • Confectioner's sugar, for serving
Coat two 13x9x12 inch baking dishes with cooking spray.  Slice the bread into 12 equal slices, roughly 1 inch thick.  Arrange slices in prepared baking dishes.

In a large bowl, whisk together half-and-half, eggs, milk, vanilla, nutmeg, cinnamon, and salt.  Pour mixture evenly over the 2 baking dishes.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

When you are ready to serve and eat, preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a small saucepan, melt butter.    Stir in brown sugar and pecans until fully combined.  Spoon evenly over all of the slices in the baking dishes.  Bake for 30-40 minutes or until lightly browned.

Dust with confectioner's sugar and serve warm with any additional toppings of your choice.

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