Sunday, February 7, 2016

Baked French Toast and Peanut Butter Syrup

I was looking forward to having several back-to-back meetings at work ("looking forward" is probably not the right phrase, but that is for another blog). We normally buy donuts or other baked goods for this long session of meetings, so I was thinking about what I could make at home instead of buy. We have a bunch of bread sitting on the counter, getting drier by the day. Since I normally turn that into French toast, I figured I could make this baked version and take it to the day-long meetings.

At our house, instead of using butter, we eat our pancakes, French toast, and waffles with peanut butter. I was trying to think of an easier way to take the PB to work to serve with the French toast, so I thought I could make it into a syrup. That's what you'd do, right? :)

Feel free to downsize this recipe; I made a lot because I was feeding a bunch of people.

Baked French Toast

Ingredients for toast
3 long French bread baguettes (or any type of bread you have around)
12 eggs
1 stick of butter, melted
2 C milk
3 T vanilla extract
1 C brown sugar

Ingredients for topping
1 C brown sugar
1 C all-purpose flour
1 T cinnamon
1/2 t allspice
1/4 t nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 stick cold butter, chopped


Instructions for the crumb topping:
  1. Mix together the brown sugar and flour. Mix in the spices.
  2. Cut in the butter to form small crumb balls. 
  3. Cover the topping and store in the refrigerator until you are ready to use it.
Instructions for the toast:
  1. Butter your pan by coating the sides and bottom with butter.
  2. Chop your bread into about 1" cubes (bite sizes) and place in a really large bowl.
  3. In another large bowl, whisk the eggs. While whisking, slowly drizzle the melted butter into the eggs so they combine. While still whisking, slowly add the milk. 
  4. Whisk the vanilla into your mixture, then add the brown sugar. Combine thoroughly.
    TIP: My brown sugar typically has little hard brown sugar bits. In this dish, the bits are kind of nice to have. It adds a little candy feel to it.
  5. Pour the egg mixture into the really large bowl of bread and toss to combine. Make sure all the bread is coated.
  6. Add the bread bites to the pan. Pour evenly over the bread the remaining egg mixture. If you have more than a cup, consider chopping more bread. 
  7. Cover the pan and stash in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 2 hours.
  8. When you're ready too bake, preheat the oven to 350° F.
  9. Remove the cover from the pan.
  10. Take handfuls of the crumble topping and spread it over the bread. Add as much as you want, but a level dusting is a good start.
  11. Bake the pan for about an hour. If you have a large pan, then it will take over an hour. If you broke it down into smaller baking dishes like ramekins, then bake for about 15 - 20 minutes. The French toast should be golden brown. If you are concerned about it being done, then stick a thermometer in the center of the dish. It is finished cooking when it reads 165° F. 

Peanut Butter Syrup

Ingredients
1 C water
1 C white sugar
1/2 C creamy peanut butter (increase to 3/4 C to increase the PB intensity)
1 T vanilla extract

Recipe for Peanut Butter Syrup
  1. In a medium pot, mix together the water, sugar, and peanut butter.
  2. Bring this mixture to a boil. Stirring occasionally, reduce the heat to maintain a medium boil. 
  3. Boil for at least 3 minutes. The syrup will thicken.
  4. Remove from the heat and add the vanilla.
  5. I pour the syrup into squeeze bottles. They are great for holding syrups like this as well as salad dressings and homemade sauces.