A dear friend who owns a gardener’s dream of a plant farm and gift barn had asked me to teach a class on herbs. I’d taught there many times, in one of the greenhouses, surrounded by the sights and scents of seasonal flowers and greenery. The students and I had great fun, talking and tasting and answering questions.
…And then there was one leftover baguette…
The baguette sat on my kitchen counter for two days—lonely and going stale (oh the horrors of it all), staring at me longingly every time I passed it by.
On the second morning I caved. I grabbed hold of that leftover baguette (I think I heard it squeal with joy) and sliced it up.
Sliced into perfect ½” pieces, turning that leftover baguette into Do Ahead French Toast was my plan.
A word about arranging the sliced baguette in the pan: allow the slices to overlap, making it easy for you to assemble. Oh, sure, I could have moved all the slices around arranging them flat and tightly fitted into the pan to impress you, but my sanity is worth more than that.
Easy. Tasty. Breakfast for tomorrow = solved.
Do Ahead French Toast
1 large baguette, cut into 1/3 to ½ inch slices (eat the ends!)
1 ½ cups 2% or whole milk
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1 ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 to 4 Tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup light or dark brown sugar, packed
3 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
Fresh blueberries for serving
Grease a 9” x 13” baking dish with butter (or nonstick cooking spray, if you must). Place baguette slices into baking dish.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, vanilla and cinnamon. Once combined, pour this mixture evenly over the bread slices.
Cover baking dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Heat oven to 350°F. Uncover baking dish and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until top is golden brown.
While French Toast is baking, make Sweet Topping: Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then whisk in the brown sugar and maple syrup. Cook and whisk until well combined and slightly thickened.
Pour Sweet Topping evenly over the warm, baked French Toast. Serve immediately with fresh blueberries. Serves 4 or more.
Forgive me for not taking a photo of the final product here—we devoured it faster than I could say “Wait, I didn’t take a photo!”
- Vanilla bean paste is similar to vanilla extract, only a thicker consistency; it has a rich vanilla taste with the addition of real vanilla bean specks from the vanilla pod.
- No vanilla bean paste? Sigh! You can use the same amount of pure vanilla extract
- Maple syrup. Pure maple syrup. There is no substitute for this.
- Note: if you use pancake syrup I will hunt you down
- Ohio Pure Maple Syrup is the bomb. The best. (Sorry, Canada and Vermont.)
- My favorite: Richard Maple Products