1 loaf bread, Challah or Brioche day old bread, cut into 1-inch slices
1 1/2 cup Half & half
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 teaspoon orange liquor (like Grand Marnier) or you can use 1 teaspoon orange zest
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 tsp. Salt
Toppings of your choice: powdered sugar, maple syrup, whipped cream, fresh fruit, jam, etc (if you’re like me, you’ll find yourself using ALL of them!)
Grease a 9×13 baking dish and set aside
In a small saucepan, over medium heat, melt butter.
Add brown sugar and maple syrup and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Pour mixture into baking dish. Arrange bread slices as close together as possible, in one layer, in the baking dish. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk eggs by hand until fluffy- about 1 minute. Add half and half, vanilla, orange liquor, cinnamon and salt and whisk until all is evenly combined.
Pour egg mixture evenly over the bread slices. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill overnight (or for at least 6 hours.)
When ready to bake, remove from refrigerator and bring to room temperature- 30 minutes to an hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Bake for about 35 minutes until the French toast looks lightly golden brown and is cooked all the way through.
Serve immediately, nice and hot.
When scooping out a serving, flip bread slice over and serve “bottom-side-up” onto plate. This way, the brown sugar/butter coating is now on top. (Hence the “crème brûlée” topping!)
Accompany French toast with toppings of your choice.
Note: I like to make this with all kinds of breads and I think it comes out a little different with each one. Here you can see two versions I’ve made— the first one is CHALLAH BREAD and the is FRENCH BREAD slices