I saw this recipe on allrecipes.com during Mother's Day weekend, but I was out of town on Mother's Day (don't worry, I was with my mom, we were just staying at a hotel on the other side of the state) and have kept the recipe printoff floating around in my purse since then. I looked forward to making this for my mother in-law all week.
Creme Brulee French Toast (adapted from allrecipes.com)
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons corn syrup (I used maple syrup instead)
6 (1 inch thick) slices French bread
1 1/2 cups half-and-half cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon brandy-based orange liqueur (Grand Marnier®)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Mix in brown sugar and corn syrup, stirring until sugar is dissolved. Pour into a 9x13 inch baking dish.
Remove crusts from bread (I left mine on, and they added a nice chewiness to the french toast), 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. (I carefully flipped the toast at this point, so that it was evenly coated on both sides).
Bake uncovered 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, until puffed and lightly browned. (You might want to set the oven to broil for the last 10 minutes or so, until the tops are lightly browned and crisp).
My thoughts: Super duper yummy, soft yet crispy and chewy. To the pre-baked mixture, I added a pinch each of cinnamon and cardamom, which made this taste so breakfasty and nice. As you can see, I added some sliced strawberries and bananas, so we weren't haivng just bread for breakfast. This dish creates its own syrup, and I actually added a bit more Grand Marnier to the mixture, because I really wanted to have that flavor come out. Be warned, though, this will make your baking dish terribly sticky, so you might want to line it with some tin foil. And if you choose to broil it at the end of baking, do NOT bake this in a Pyrex dish, because broiling will cause it to shatter. This would make a really great breakfast for a special occasion, or for whenever you want something other than pancakes or bacon & eggs or regular French toast.