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Cinnamon-Orange French Toast Casserole

This is an extra special breakfast/brunch recipe especially good for serving to holiday guests or at an elegant holiday brunch. The compound butter and syrup recipes may be prepared several days ahead. The casserole can be prepared the night before and baked in the morning. Serve with scrambled eggs and a winter fruit compote."

Ingredients

French Toast

1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
8 large eggs
1 tablespoon light brown sugar
1 teaspoon lightly packed orange zest
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
12 (1-inch thick) slices sweet brioche or 16 (1/2-inch) baguette slices
3 or 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)

Dark Chocolate Orange Butter

4 oz. dark chocolate chips [my preference is Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Chips]
1 1/2 teaspoons confectioners sugar
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2 tablespoons orange liquor [my preference is Grand Marnier]
1 teaspoon fresh orange juice concentrate
1 tablespoon fresh grated orange zest
1 lb. unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

Cinnamon-Orange Syrup

3/4 cup water
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon fresh grated orange zest
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon


Instructions

French Toast

In mixing bowl of stand mixer, whisk together milk, eggs, sugar, orange zest, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt until eggs are broken up and evenly combined. Generously butter a nonstick 9”X13” baking dish. Place bread slice in baking pan in two rows, overlapping slices a bit. Pour egg mixture over bread slices, ensuring even coverage. Spoon some of the mixture in between bread slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat oven to 350°F. Dot top with 3 or 4 tablespoons cubed Dark Chocolate Orange Butter. Bake for 45 minutes, or just until puffed and slightly golden. Cut into squares and serve with additional Dark Chocolate Orange Butter and Cinnamon-Orange Syrup.


Dark Chocolate Orange Butter

Place 2 oz. of chocolate chips in small heatproof nonmetal mixing bowl and place in microwave. Melt chips on medium to medium high power for 45 seconds, or just until chips are sufficiently softened to be blendable [be careful not to overheat or burn]. Remove from microwave and place melted chocolate in stand mixer mixing bowl. Use the whisk attachment to whisk in confectioners sugar, espresso powder, orange liquor, and orange juice concentrate until smooth. Add butter and orange zest; stir until thoroughly combined. Divide mixture equally between two pieces of parchment paper (6" X 8"). Roll parchment into log shapes and twist ends to secure. Wrap in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate until firm, about two hours (or you can place logs in the freezer for 30 minutes). Slice into thin rounds as needed. (This recipe can be prepared several days in advance. Keep frozen or refrigerated. Thaw at room temperature before serving. This recipe would also be great for grilled or broiled fruit or as a topping for pancakes, waffles, and toast.)

Cinnamon-Orange Syrup

Combine water, orange juice, orange zest and brown sugar in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Boil until the syrup reduces to 1 cup, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the cream and cinnamon. Keep the syrup warm. (The syrup can be made 1 day ahead. Cool, then cover and refrigerate. Re-warm before serving.)

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Servings

6-8

Nutritional Information
Per Serving

no nutrition information available