Sarah came into town this weekend and it was fabulous! Hours of talking, shopping, REAL margarita-making, fried chicken eating and silly TV watching. Not only did we view the Tony’s and talk theatre, I also introduced her to Toddlers and Tiaras. And this horror.
And, proof that she’s a nice person, Maggie ADORED her. The dog that runs from everyone in the entire world let Sarah pet her within five minutes of meeting her and then proceeded to spend most of the weekend licking Sarah’s toes or climbing in her lap for cuddles. However, that also meant that she got to experience Maggie sneezing on her more than a few times. I like to pretend that it’s an expression of love and not just doggie allergies.
She even got to meet Jethro, who had been in Oklahoma at the farm, and realize that I’m really and truly not lying when I say the man does not talk.
While I completely forgot to send Sarah home with mini brownies, I did make sure that she was well-fed before boarding her flight by making Smitten Kitchen’s Boozy Baked French Toast.
This is the same recipe that DDay has made for her, which I was grateful for because I had no idea how it would turn out. And what it turned out to be was heaven in our mouth.
SK warns that it’s a little more of a bread pudding than French toast, so if you don’t like custard-y amazing bread pieces slightly sweetened, dusted with cinnamon and drizzled with maple syrup, well then, stay away. Because you won’t like this.
And also, you’re a Communist who hates all things true and good.
You’d also be my husband. You see, he didn’t think I’d notice, but I totally called him out on it later. While Sarah and I were eating and chatting, Jethro grabbed a piece and some bacon. (Of COURSE there was bacon. Who do you think we are?!?) He sat on the other side of Sarah and I saw him take a big giant bite and then immediately get up and go into the kitchen. And judging by his face, I knew exactly what he was doing. He was SPITTING IT OUT.
Oh, he played it off like that wasn’t what he was doing, but I know him. Apparently, he thought it was cinnamon rolls. He’s not a French toast eater, and definitely not a bread pudding eater. He said the warm and mushiness of the bottom layer of bread was too much for him. He also said it felt like it was covered in a substance that is definitely not appropriate for me to reprint on a blog read by female members of both of our families.
He’s a terrible person. AND a Communist.
Baked French Toast
Prep time: 20 minutes, but needs to be refrigerated overnight Cook time: 30 minutes
1 loaf supermarket Challah bread in 1-inch slices*
3 cups whole milk**
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Flavoring of your choice ***
*We used french bread, because the Challah I bought was pre-cut fairly thinly. Any bread would work, but as Sarah pointed out, the denser the better. You want it to soak up all that eggy goodness.
** It still works well if you use a milk with a lower fat content. I used lactose-free 2% milk because 1. I did not want Sarah to run away and never come back and 2. I never have whole milk on hand because it’s gross. I bet you could also use coconut milk, but I’d be hesitant on using soy/almond/rice milk. No idea how that cooks up. If you’re feeling decadent, use half and half or cream. Just don’t plan on doing anything the rest of the day if you do that, good Lord….
***SK has many suggestions on this, her go to is 3 tablespoons Bailey’s and 3 tablespoons Cointreau but you can use whatever you’d like. You can also add zest, nuts, dried fruits, etc. We opted for vanilla extract, but if using extract use less than you would if using a liqueur. (A teaspoon for every tablespoon of booze you’d use.)
- Grease a 9×13 pan with butter. Salted or unsalted, but don’t be a sissy and use margarine. If you want to eat healthier, have a bowl of wheat bran. If you want a heart attack, try rendered bacon fat. It was mentioned in SK’s comments that if you want, you can sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon in the bottom of the pan after greasing to give it a nice syrup-y glaze.
- Layer the bread slices in the pan. They need to be pretty tightly packed, so cut up a slice or two to fit in the gaps. One loaf yields about two layers, but if your bread is sliced thin you might have three. SK does not recommend more than three, it’ll be more difficult to bake. If you are using fillings, layer them now or sprinkle on top.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, salt and flavorings. Pour this over the bread so it soaks into every lovely crack and crevice. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
- Wrap it up all nice and tight with plastic wrap and let refrigerate overnight. [Sidenote: Don't use Press n' Seal. that stuff is great, but it also seems to leave a little residue on the pan and since there will be baking involved, that makes me nervous.]
- The next morning, marvel at how all the milk custard has been absorbed.
- Bake for 30 minutes at 425 degrees or until it becomes nice and golden brown. If you have a finicky oven and things tend to burn, cover with foil for the first 20 minutes and uncover for the last 10.
- Cut into squares and serve with your topping of choice. Don’t serve to Communists.
- Eat it happily with friends and talk about everything and anything under the sun. Plot ways to be able to eat this everyday and not gain 100 pounds. Be grateful for Smitten Kitchen and hope she does a book tour in Dallas.