July 7, 2008

Making Breakfast for the First and Maybe Only Time

I really like the idea of a nice weekend breakfast but it sort of never happens because by the time we get up and go to the gym on Saturday, it's rather too late to have breakfast and on Sunday we have church at nine a.m. so you can make a guess as to how often I get up early enough on a Sunday to make and eat a nice breakfast AND get ready AND get to church on time.

The answer is generally "never," but last week, I had a major breakthrough.

I'd heard rumors of Baked French Toast that you assembled the night before, let sit all night in the fridge, and then popped in the oven and cooked for 40 minutes. Now that I could do.

And I did.

But did I stop at simple Baked French Toast? Of course not. I made Creme Brulee Baked French toast.

Creme Brulee Baked French Toast

4 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon corn syrup
3 thick slices of French Bread (crusts on or off - I left mine on)
2 large eggs
3/4 cup half-and-half
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon orange juice
1/8 teaspoon salt

In a small saucepan melt butter and add brown sugar and corn syrup, stirring over moderate heat until smooth and pour into a 6 x 9 casserole dish (this is my go-to size whenever I half something that is supposed to be in a 9 x 13).

Lay the slices of bread in the dish.

In a bowl whisk together eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, orange juice, and salt until smooth and pour evenly over the bread slices.

Chill bread mixture, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.

In the morning, preheat oven to 350° F. and set the dish out to warm up slightly while the oven heats.

Bake uncovered until puffed and edges are golden, about 40 minutes.

Serve immediately.

Anyway, it was a very good dish, but Bart definitely like it more than I did - it was just a little too sweet for me. So I made a more straightforward version a few days later from Smitten Kitchen (I skipped the alcohol, of course, and used vanilla and almond extract). This one was quite a bit faster and I liked it better, but Bart preferred the first one because it didn't need any additional jam or maple syrup. I guess it's all about your preferences and sugar tolerance.

All in all, I'm completely sold on the whole overnight French Toast idea and both of these recipes are top notch. And clearly this is my new company recipe because it's super easy to toss together and impressive to boot (you're impressed, right?)

[By the way, I'm participating in Whip It Up and this is my recipe for week #1. Check it out - there will be a lot of cool new recipes by the end of the summer, I think].


  1. Love this kind of french toast. It's my staple for feeding overnight guests.

  2. Can't beat that sugary bottom!

  3. I can't wait to try this, but it won't be on a Sunday morning. My kids usually eat juice boxes and granola bars in the car on the way to church and I have a yogurt smoothie and a granola bar. Even this would take too long.

  4. Yum! I just checked out Whip It Up--can't wait to see what else you come up with!

  5. Goodness, Janssen! Way to go for Week 1! It's like breakfast/dessert in one! I can't think of a smushed word for that, but I'll get back to you on it.

    And, uh, Bart's comment made me laugh in a 12-year-old-boy way. Heh.

  6. Whoa! Anything that makes cooking go by faster is a great idea, and that sounds amazing!! Thanks for sharing, I can't wait to try it!!!

  7. This sounds so good, I almost want to make it for myself right now. The prepare-ahead part is right up my alley.

    Also, I love that you are in library school right now. I just got my MLIS in 2005 and I have been enjoying every minute of it. Well, ALMOST every minute of it!

  8. I've made this a bunch of times, and I love it, and I normally hate french toast.

  9. Oooh, I love make-a-head dishes. The Pioneer Woman has a make-a-head breakfast casserole that I'm itching to try out as well. I'm going to add the french toast to my try-it-out list as well.

  10. that sounds SO good! I may need to try making it sometime soon!


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