Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Food! Overnight Caramel French Toast and Spiced Nuts

Merry Christmas! Please don't get up. Just sit there and read this lovely recipe that makes a perfect Christmas morning breakfast. Since you make it the night before, it's all ready to pop into the oven at 4:00 a.m. when the little people around your house wake you up Christmas Day.

The second recipe is for unbelievably more-ish spiced nuts--a wonderful recipe that will give your local Spiced-Nuts-in-a-Christmas-Kiosk-at-the-Mall a run for their money. I even managed to get a few pictures. Not so for the fabu French Toast. Ah well. It's good anyway.
And now, Voilá! Caramel French Toast:

Wicked-Good Overnight Caramel French Toast
1 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
12-ish slices French bread, crusts trimmed (Actually any heavy white bread works fine. Leave crusts on if soft)
1 1/2 cups whole milk
6 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
Ground cinnamon

-Combine sugar, butter, and corn syrup in pan. Stir over medium/low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Do not boil. (If you accidentally do, invest in a good jack hammer.)
-Pour into 13x9x2-inch glass dish (I'm serious with this. It's a nightmare to get out of a metal dish. Night. Mare.) Tilt to coat the bottom.
-Arrange 6 slices (or whatever will fit) of bread on caramel mixture.
-Whisk milk, eggs, vanilla, and salt. Pour half over bread in pan. Sprinkle with cinnamon, to taste.
-Layer remaining slices of bread on, to cover. Pour remaining egg-mixture on top. Sprinkle with cinnamon.
-Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or several hours.
-Bake uncovered at 350 degrees until bread is puffy and golden-brown. 40-50 minutes. A knife inserted will come out clean.
-Eat entire thing yourself. Unless you live with judgmental people. Then you'll probably have to share. Also, please, for the love of a calm psyche, don't pour syrup on this. It contains enough sugar to get you to the top of Everest if you need to. And it's moist. Trust me.

And now, TA-DAAAA! One of my Christmas favs:

Spiced Nuts
3/4 cup sugar
3 T. water
1 egg white, beaten slightly
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 cups pecan halves
1 1/2 cups whole almonds 

-Place first eight ingredients in a bowl and mix.
-Stir to coat.
-Spread evenly in a greased or parchment lined baking sheet (Parchment please. Much easier cleanup. Tried waxed paper--nightmare. It disappeared into the pan and had to soak for quite a while before it could be coaxed out again. Baking parchment is our friend.)
-Bake at 250-degrees for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes

(The time will vary depending on altitude and relative humidity. Also on whether or not you doubled the recipe, which I always do because we can't stop eating these. The coating just needs to be mostly dry and clinging to the nuts when you take it out of the oven. Any minor moisture will harden. Be sure to stir thoroughly each time. Last time I made this at sea-level I baked it at 275, and that helped the time.)

Pictures! But just a few because I was so into making these I forgot to take them. But you have wonderful imaginations don't you? Just imagine mixing the sauce ingredients together. You can do it. I have faith in you.

Nuts with coating. Don't they look luscious? No idea why my lighting makes everything look yellow. We'll call it 'antique lighting.' Yeah, I like that.  Incidentally, I was out of pecans and there was no way in hinkypunk I was going out into Christmas traffic to buy more, so I used macadamia nuts. Yum-ola. Not even kidding.

Stirring the nuts. Stirring the nuts. Stirring the nuts.

All done. Note how the coating has cooked into the nuts except for a crispy bit on the outside? Note how we originally baked these for neighbors but selfishly decided to eat them ourselves? I'm sorry! I didn't mean to! Except, I did.

Merry Christmas!


Melanee Evans said...

I am going to make the french toast for sure! My girls will flip-ola. How necessary is the corn syrup? The last time I used that stuff was when my oldest was a baby and my mom told me to use it to keep her baby bows secure on her head. :)

shelly said...

I used to make something similar when my kids were little. But now, I don't need the calories and hubby is on a diet.

Hugs and chocolate,

Janiel Miller said...

Yay! It's delish. The corn syrup is very necessary. Without it the sugar will crystalize and the caramel will be grainy. BUT, I don't like corn syrup either. So I'm going to try substituting Golden Syrup, which is a pure cane syrup and is much healthier. It's from England but I've seen it in grocery stores. A health food store might have another brand of cane syrup as well.

I hope your little chickie wickies enjoy it!

J. M. Dow said...

Good gracious that looks delicious. Good thing the wife is out getting breakfast right now.

I will totally have to try the french toast recipe sometime. The nuts look good, too, but french toast has always been one of my favorites.

Russo said...

This recipe looks divine, I think I might have to try my hand at it. I may blow up my kitchen in the process but it'll be worth it.

PS- the recipe make me crave the Spiced-Nuts-in-a-Christmas-Kiosk-at-the-Mall! YUM

Maegan Langer said...

Oooh! I've been hearing about your famous French toast for years. I'm totally making this for Christmas. Thanks for sharing!

William Kendall said...

My mother's made French toast in that way before. It's beyond delicious....