Monday, April 22

Baked Cinnamon Walnut French Toast

My fiance and I had a great time hosting brunch for some friends on Saturday. I had been looking forward to this gathering for a while and thought a lot about creating an easy menu that would satisfy a diverse group of eaters. Some brunch foods aren't doable for a crowd (like making poached eggs to order), so I chose dishes that could be prepped in advance and served family style. I made bacon and scallion loaded home fries, this brussels sprout and cheddar frittata, and baked brioche french toast with cinnamon walnut crumble. Normal french toast isn't a crowd-friendly dish but this recipe calls for all the bread and custard to soak and bake in one dish like bread pudding. The cinnamon-walnut topping adds a little crunch and extra sweetness, making this a killer dessert for a brunch party.

Baked Cinnamon Walnut French Toast:
  • Slice 1 loaf of brioche bread* into 1" thick slices and arrange, slightly overlapping, into a large baking dish.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together 8 eggs, 2 c. milk, 1/2 c. sugar, 1 tsp. ground cinnamon, and 1 tsp. vanilla extract until smooth and all the sugar has dissolved.
  • Pour the egg mixture over the bread and keep in the fridge for a couple hours or up to overnight.
  • Meanwhile, combine 1/3 c. brown sugar, 1/3 c. all-purpose flour, 1 tsp. cinnamon, and a pinch of salt in a small bowl.
  • Work 4 tbsp. diced cold butter into the sugar mixture until it resembles coarse meal.
  • Sprinkle the top of the french toast with the topping and place in a 375F oven.
  • Cook for 45-60 minutes, remove from the oven, and let cool slightly.
  • Serve with maple syrup and/or fresh berries.

Serves eight-ten
*I like to leave the bread out uncovered overnight to dry it out a bit.