As I was doing my research for a fantastic Valentine’s breakfast that my guests would never forget (that is always the goal, whether or not I accomplish that is another story), I found a recipe for Creme’ Brulee French Toast. When you go to a Bed & Breakfast you would expect to see French Toast on the menu. I constantly challenge myself to provide my guests with a breakfast they would not cook for themselves or something different than what they would order when they go to their favorite restaurant for breakfast. So, if I am going to make French toast, it had better be something pretty spectacular. I found this recipe on AllRecipes.com I thought would be good. My, oh, my, let me tell you, good is an understatement! You know I always say a clean plate is the best compliment an innkeeper could ever ask for, and I had clean plates across the board. I like this recipe because you prep the night before and then pop it in the oven the next morning. I served with pork sausage links we buy from the butcher in Chippewa Falls, along with a locally made maple syrup to drizzle over the French toast, and, because it was Valentine’s weekend, chocolate covered strawberries.
Gather the following ingredients:
1/2 cup unsalted butter 1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
1 cup packed brown sugar 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 Tbs corn syrup 1 teaspoon brandy-based orange liqueur
6 1-inch thick slices French bread 1/4 tsp salt
Melt butter in a small saucepan, mix in brown sugar and corn syrup, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Pour into a 9×13 inch baking dish.
The recipe says to remove the bread crust, I did not do this and found the presentation to be just as beautiful as posted on the allrecipes.com website. Also, I did not use Grand Marnier® as recommended in the recipe. I went to the local liquor store and purchased an airline sized bottle of a brandy-based orange liqueur. While Grand Marnier® is delicious, and I am sure substitutes are just that, substitutes, there are plenty of things going on in this recipe, so I felt the real deal was not missed. Since the recipe calls for 1 teaspoon, I did not see much reason to invest in a large bottle of liqueur. There are purists who feel there is no substitute for Grand Marnier®, so if you don’t want to make a sizeable investment in the large bottle, look for the airplane size bottle of Grand Marnier®.
Remove crusts from bread, and arrange in the baking dish in a single layer. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, half and half, vanilla extract, orange brandy, and salt. Pour over the bread. Cover, and chill at least 8 hours, or overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Remove the dish from the refrigerator, and bring to room temperature.
Bake uncovered 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, until puffed and lightly browned.
I know your friends and family will enjoy this recipe as much as we did at Pleasant View Bed & Breakfast. You could save it for a special occasion, such as a birthday or holiday celebration. Or, sometimes just getting the entire family together at the same time to the breakfast table is reason enough to celebrate. I am willing to bet if they know you are serving Creme’ Brulee French Toast, they will be seated anxiously waiting for you to serve breakfast. And who knows, you may start a new family tradition.