Monday, November 26, 2007

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

I've been waiting several weeks to post this recipe. But that isn't the reason it's been so long since I last posted. I've just been lolly-gagging around while a cold virus kicked my butt. And a cold in my nose equals a cold kitchen. Well, I did make some cookies and pumpkin bread for Thanksgiving. And there was a failed attempt at pie crust that we will NOT be discussing just yet. But aside from that I pretty much didn't go near the kitchen. However I wouldn't let myself post this recipe because it's relation to Christmas made me feel as though it should be saved for the right time. And now that Thanksgiving has come and gone the time has come to share.

For the second year in a row I will be hosting my mom, brother, and sister-in-law for Christmas morning. Last year I made pancakes, scrambled eggs, and sweet & spicy bacon. We had a delicious breakfast, but a late breakfast. I had a lot of trouble timing everything, especially in my teeny, tiny, apartment kitchen. The kitchen where I took up almost all counter space with the electric griddle for the pancakes. Leaving me to balance the bacon plate on the small ledge in front of the sink to drain. And Josh and I bumping into each other constantly as he scrambled eggs and I flipped pancakes. It all came out well in the end, but I was a bit frazzled when it was all said and done. So I pretty much decided from there out that things would be different this year. Now, I can't predict the future, so I can't say for sure that things will go more smoothly, but I am doing my best to try and ensure that it does. And part of that effort has been the search for a great baked french toast recipe. I decided that this dish would be the ideal Christmas morning dish. I tried one from all recipes that was okay. Josh liked it, his co-worker loved the leftovers I sent him to work with, but I only thought it was okay. Does okay sound good enough for Christmas? No, I didn't think so either. So, I continued the search. That's when I came across a recipe for Boozy Baked French Toast from Deb over at Smitten Kitchen. I gave this recipe a shot and ladies and gentleman (Josh, you're likely the only man who reads this), we have a winner. As soon as I took my first bite I knew that I had found what I was looking for. So, to start off the holiday season around here, here is the recipe we shall be dining on Christmas morning.

Baked French Toast
Recipe from Smitten Kitchen; Serves 6

1 loaf Challah bread in 1-inch slices
3 cups whole milk
3 eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • Generously grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with salted (my choice) or unsalted butter.
  • Arrange bread in two tightly-packed layers in the pan. If using braided Challah, cut one slice into smaller pieces to fill in gaps.
  • Whisk milk, eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla and pour over the bread. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
  • Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The bread will absorb all of the milk custard while you sleep.
  • Bake at 425 for 30 minutes, or until puffed and golden. This will take longer if you have additional layers.
  • Cut into generous squares and serve with maple syrup, fresh fruit, powdered sugar or all of the above.
My notes: This is the teetotalers version of this recipe. I was looking for a recipe with just a hint of sweetness, which the teaspoon of vanilla and sprinkle of cinnamon sugar provides. For those of you who are more adventurous than I, Deb had the following advice for flavorings: "I use 3 tablespoons Bailey’s and 3 tablespoons Cointreau, but Frangelico (hazelnut), Chambord (raspberry), Crème de Cassis (black currant) Grand Marnier or just a teaspoon or two of vanilla or almond extract can do the trick. You can bump up a citrus flavor with a teaspoon of zest, add a half-cup of chopped nuts such as almond slivers or pecans between layers or on top or a similar amount of raisins or other dried fruits." If you're going to add any fillings, like nuts or dried fruit, then that needs to be done the night before while arranging the bread in the dish.

2 comments:

i'm kelly said...

yum! my mouth is watering!

Holly said...

Ohmygod.

I am drooling for real.

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