Sunday, January 30, 2011

Today would have been a good day for French toast.

During the week, the weather here had been in the 50's, the sky clear and bright blue; not an inkling of bad weather.  Oh, wait, there was that little snow flurry that lasted for about 5 minutes the other day.  While in the post office, I heard the post mistress say to an older gentleman, "it's just a minor disturbance in the atmostphere."

Was it no wonder, that as I left, I said under my breath, "Luke, I sense a disturbance in the force."

Anyway, upon awakening this morning, the wind was cold and bitter; the sky to the west was dark and ominous.  Weather reports were saying snow for Monday and Tuesday...oh joy....not.  For breakfast, I decided that today would be a perfect day for French toast.  I've always made it using Challah bread.

Challah is a loaf of yeast-risen egg bread that is traditionally eaten by Jews on Shabbat, on ceremonial occasions and during festival holidays. The word "challah" is also used to refer to the portion of dough that is traditionally separated from the rest of the dough before baking. The plural of "challah" is "challot."  There is no dairy in the bread, and most recipes use honey instead of sugar.

Can't find Challah, a wide loaf of French bread (it is French toast), or Texas toast will work just as well.  When hubby went out yesterday, I did ask him to buy a loaf of Texas toast, since the local stores don't carry the other types of bread.  What I didn't realize is, he went to the store, purchased items he felt the need for (cigarettes and Mountain Dew), but forgot the bread.

So, no French toast for breakfast this morning.  I did go shopping in Cortez this afternoon, and got a loaf of French bread....I'm getting my French toast eventually.

Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup

1 loaf Challah bread, or a wide French bread loaf (13 to 16 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash salt
Praline Topping, recipe follows
Maple syrup


Slice bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each.  Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended, but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.

Praline Topping:
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Makes enough for Baked French Toast Casserole.

I made this for the members of my gaming (Dungeons and Dragons) group who had stayed overnight leftovers.

Mary Cokenour
January 30, 2011

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