This is my go-to holiday breakfast. Assembled the night before, all you need to do is pop it in the oven and boom, delicious, warming french toast.
For the maple bourbon pecans:
- 3/4C pecans, coarsly chopped
- 1T unsalted butter
- 1T maple syrup
- 2t bourbon
- salt to taste (I go for a little under 1/2t)
For the french toast:
- 1 3/4C whole milk
- 5 eggs + 1 egg yolk
- 1/2C brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1t vanilla extract
- 4T maple syrup
- 1/2t kosher salt
- 1/2 – 3/4t orange zest (3/4 will give you a decidedly orange flavor, where 1/2 is merely a whisper of orange, so totally up to your taste buds. Also, scrap the zest altogether if it isn’t your thing 🙂 )
- 1/2t cinnamon
- 9 croissants, preferably stale
- Make the candied pecans: Add the butter, maple syrup, and bourbon to a frying pan and mix over medium heat until a smooth mixture forms. Add the pecans and stir to coat. Let them sit in the pan for a few minutes to toast them slightly and then remove them from the heat.
- Dump the pecans onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and immediately sprinkle with salt. Allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.
- Make the french toast: Tear your croissants into 1 1/2″ pieces (the more irregular the better). Set aside.
- To a large bowl add the milk, eggs, yolk, brown sugar, vanilla, maple syrup, salt, orange zest, and cinnamon. Thoroughly whisk to combine.
- Dunk your pieces of croissant, one at a time, into the custard and arrange them in your 11×7 baking dish (see note above on vessle choice).
- Once all the pieces are dunked and arranged, evenly pour any leftover mixture on top. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight*.
- The next day, take your french toast out of the refrigerator and allow it to sit on the counter while your oven preheats to 375F. Once preheated, pop the french toast into the oven for 25 minutes. Tent it with foil and allow it to bake for another 10 – 15 minutes.
- Remove it from the oven and allow to cool slightly before topping with powdered sugar and candied pecans.
* If you are short on time, you can get away with allowing the french toast to sit in the refrigerator for about 2 hours, but trust me, the texture isn’t going to be the same as a full 8.