I'm Elyse. Some of my most vivid and cherished memories are around a table with friends and family, and I want that for you, too.
What are you in the
For me, it is hard to think about the holidays without immediately thinking about food. While my family is big on Christmas Eve tamales, my husband’s family is a Christmas morning breakfast-and-presents crowd. And honestly, it’s an absolute joy getting to do both. Not only is it double the holiday cheer, but it is double the opportunity for me to eat my favorite foods on the planet: dessert and breakfast. And this croissant french toast bake falls decidedly in the middle of those two great loves.
This is quickly turning into my go-to breakfast for get-togethers because it looks and tastes impressive, but could not be easier to make. Plus, it is all assembled the night before, so all you need to do in the morning is turn on the oven. An ideal scenario if you (like me) went a little too hard the night before and are struggling to function without a swimming pool of coffee—hello New Year’s Day breakfast! The recipe is also infinitely adaptable. In fact, it was originally going to be published in the summer, using lemon zest and raspberries instead of orange zest and pecans. She is an all-seasons, all-terrain cutie!
Read This Before Baking Up this Croissant French Toast
This french toast is assembled the night before 1. making it a crazy easy breakfast 2. To allow time for the croissant pieces to soak up all that custard, so while I’m not here to tell you how to live your life, know that you won’t get the same texture if you simply dip and bake.
We are using stale croissants for this recipe, so instead of making your own—a weekend project in and of itself—head to your local grocery store. Usually, you can find old croissants bagged or boxed up. Voila!
I have made this recipe in a 9×13 metal baking dish and an 11×7 glass baking dish, I have even halved the recipe and made it in a loaf pan. Again, she is the all-terrain vehicle of breakfast delights. What I am trying to say is, use whatever pan you have on hand. However, the vessel you choose will affect two things: the final texture and the time spent in the oven. As long as you remember that the deeper the layers go, the more time it’ll need in the oven, it will come out great. For example, 9 croissants juuuuust fills a 9×13 pan, so you will have less of a custardy texture and it won’t need quite as much time in the oven, so go for 20 minutes uncovered and 10 minutes covered.
Final note, while the orange zest is listed as optional, the maple pecans are not. They add the salt and crunch needed to take this breakfast from good to great. If pecans aren’t your thing though, feel free to use walnuts.
Looking for more breakfast treats? Give these a try:
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
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 🙂 )
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.