The breakfast was a hit. Again.
I made this Orange Stuffed Baked French Toast for Smudge when I was testing recipes a few months ago and in just one hot minute she deemed it birthday worthy. A big deal? If you’re turning 9 years old you bet it is.
“Are you sure you don’t want your favorite from last year, the Banana and Chocolate Chip Baked French Toast?” I asked, knowing that it was a huge hit at last year’s birthday sleepover.
“Nope. I want this one.” A girl who makes up her mind and knows what she wants. I like that. But the fact she chose orange over chocolate? Maybe that red hair has singed her taste buds because as a blonde, I always go chocolate.
The menu quickly became one less thing we had to worry about once we settled on the birthday guest list (10 friends who are just as crazy and fun as she is) and decided what to do in lieu of birthday gifts (donations to our local humane society) then set the party itinerary of swimming and a sleepover.
All that was left to do was bake her traditional Birthday Cake Pie and prep the french toast for baking in the morning.
That’s what I love about doing a baked french toast, and I have several recipes on the blog because of it. They’re so easy to pull out of the fridge, pop in the oven and snap, you have a sweetened breakfast treat fit for a gaggle of gals.
Last time I made this recipe I made a homemade raspberry sauce (delicioso) to go along with it but this go around I took the easy route and defaulted to Smudge’s favorite Kodiak Raspberry Syrup made locally and now sold in Costco. I warmed it on the stove with a few fresh raspberries thrown in for some texture. To make the syrup a touch thicker, add a tablespoon of butter to the warming syrup and cook for a few minutes. I topped the french toast with some leftover whip cream from the Cake Pie for the girls, because what’s a party without a little extra whip cream?
A recipe note: This time I used cream cheese sweetened with sugar. I’ve made it with mascarpone before, and while the girls didn’t notice, I think I liked it better. But if you can’t get your hands on mascarpone, the sweetened cream cheese works just great.
While I did get a few photos of the girls devouring the french toast after a late night of “girl talk” (I know, I shook my head too each time I was shooshed from their perimeter of privacy) and karaoke and general girl-ness, I totally missed out on taking a pretty photo of the entire pan of french toast.
But I’m okay with that, because sometimes a gal’s got to put the camera down and immerse herself in the moment instead of constantly documenting it. My husband is going to totally laugh at that one and ask me when I’m going to start living my words of wisdom…I’ll show him. Soon, my man. Soon.
- 1 loaf french bread, about 15 thick cut slices
- 8 ounce package of cream cheese, softened
- ¼ cup sugar
- 8 eggs
- 3 cups whole milk
- ¼ cup butter, melted and cooled plus 1 tablespoon for greasing pan
- zest of one orange
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- Generously grease a 9 X 13 deep-dish casserole dish with 1 tablespoon of butter. Place a layer of bread slices alternating direction of bottom crusts and top crusts to outside of pan. Spread half of the cream cheese on the bread slices and then sprinkle with half of the sugar. Repeat with another layer of bread, the rest of the cream cheese and sugar and then top with a final layer of bread.
- In a large bowl whisk eggs, milk, butter, orange zest and vanilla together. Slowly pour over bread layers making sure to coat evenly. Wrap dish tightly with foil and refrigerate overnight.
- To bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove casserole from refrigerator and bring to room temperature, about a half an hour. Bake covered for 45-55 minutes then remove foil and cook for another 5 minutes or until top is golden. Remove and let set for 5 minutes and serve.
- special supplies: a 9 X 13 deep dish lasagna or casserole dish. If you choose to use a regular depth baking dish, reduce milk by 1 cup and layer bread just 2 times rather than 3.
This weekend I’ll be in Austin, TX for Blogher Food, the grandmama of food blogging conferences. I can’t wait to see some familiar faces and meet a bunch of new ones while I soak in the realness of Austin. If you’re there too and you happen to see me in a session (front row Joe is where I’ll be) or meandering about the throngs of food bloggers, please say hello.
On Saturday morning, be sure to stop by the Wisconsin Cheese booth where they’ll be handing out a special breakfast treat I created especially for the conference. If you’ve never tried Burrata cheese put this one quick stop on your bucket list. You’ll be forever changed.
If you aren’t joining us for a weekend of info and inspiration, follow the hashtag #BlogherFood13 on Twitter for the highlights.
Happy Thursday y’all. Now, will my cowboy boots fit in my carry on?
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