Thursday, May 8, 2014

Overnight Caramel French Toast

I love breakfast foods!  Pancakes, hashbrowns, eggs, waffles, coffee cake, I love it all.  We recently had some friends over for breakfast and I wanted to make something decadent and delicious.  Since I have a baby, I don't always have a lot of hands-on time to cook in the morning.  Enter the overnight breakfast casserole.  Overnight breakfast casseroles are a busy mom's dream come true.  I have made lots of different versions, some savory, some sweet, but this is one of my favorites!  When Josh got home from work, Jake rushed over and yelled "Dad, Mom made CHALLAH french toast with CARAMEL!!!!"  He was pretty excited and you will be too once you take a bite of this Overnight Caramel French Toast.

It comes together really quickly and then overnight the challah absorbs the delicious custard.  It bakes up all golden and when you have that thick caramel sauce oozing over the top you will be in breakfast heaven.  This would make a perfect Mother's Day breakfast!

Start out by melting a stick of unsalted butter with a cup of brown sugar and a little light corn syrup (it's not just for pecan pie).   

While that is melting, tear or cut up your challah into bite sized chunks removing most of the crust.  Pour the caramel into the bottom of a 13 x 9 baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.

Take the challah chunks and put them all over the caramel in a single layer.

In a big measuring cup combine some half-and-half, eggs, vanilla paste (you can use vanilla extract if you don't have any), a little Grand Marnier, some salt, and some pumpkin pie spice.  If you don't have any pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon would be delicious too but I love the way that the citrus flavors in the pumpkin pie spice complement the Grand Marnier.

Pour the egg mixture over the bread and use a spoon to press any chunks that are sticking up into the custard.  Cover it with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, pull it out of the fridge about 45 minutes before you are going to bake it.  Then bake it at 350, uncovered, for about 40 minutes.  It will be puffed up and golden.  Be careful not to overcook it or the caramel will start to harden.

Invert it when you serve it so that the gooey caramel is on top.  It may not be the prettiest dish, but it is oh so good.  The warm caramel sauce, combined with the sweet custardy challah makes a perfectly decadent breakfast treat!  I recommend serving it with some crispy bacon and fruit. 

Overnight Caramel French Toast
Adapted from Epicurious
Serves 4-6 
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbls. light corn syrup
  • loaf of challah
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla paste
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Grand Marnier
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  1. In a small saucepan melt butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup over medium heat, stirring occasionally until smooth.  Then pour into a 13 x 9 inch baking pan sprayed with cooking spray.
  2. While the butter mixture melts, cut or tear the challah into about 1-inch chunks, removing most of the crust.  Place the challah chunks on top of the caramel sauce in a single layer.
  3. In a large measuring cup, combine the half-and-half, eggs, vanilla paste, Grand Marnier, pumpkin pie spice, and salt.  Pour over the bread and use a spoon to press any chunks that are sticking up down a little.
  4. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  5. About 45 minutes before baking, remove the french toast from the fridge so it can come to room temperature.
  6. Bake uncovered at 350 for about 40 minutes, until puffed and golden.  It will deflate after it comes out. 
  7. Serve hot.  When serving, invert on plates so caramel layer is on top. 

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