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Baked French Toast Casserole

    1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
    8 large eggs
    2 cups half-and-half
    1 cup milk
    2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
    Dash salt
    Praline Topping, recipe follows
    Maple syrup

  Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. (Use any extra bread
 for garlic toast or bread crumbs). Arrange slices in a generously
 buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the
 slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk,
 sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a rotary
 beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over
 the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-
 egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover
 with foil and refrigerate overnight.

  The next day, preheat oven to 350F. Spread Praline Topping evenly
 over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly
 golden. Serve with maple syrup.

  Praline Topping:
    1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
    1 cup packed light brown sugar
    1 cup chopped pecans
    2 tablespoons light corn syrup
    1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

  Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Makes
 enough for Baked French Toast Casserole.