Caramel Bottom French Toast

For the past week, we’ve had a wave of unseasonable warmth that I refer to as “Fool’s Spring” — it looks like spring, but it isn’t.  Just when you’re about to feel confident in packing away that moldering pile of snowpants and mismatched mittens — BOOM!  Winter strikes back!

Yes, we got about 4 inches of snow on Friday.  Sure, it’s melting away, but what better excuse to make Caramel Bottom French Toast?

This recipe is adapted from Martha W. Murphy’s excellent Bed & Breakfast Cookbook (out of print, but cheap used copies are easily found online).  The recipe is listed as “Skier’s Toast,” but I find that name to be unsatisfyingly bland for this divine concoction — thick-sliced bread sunk into a layer of golden caramel, then doused in egg batter before baking.  The result is crunchy-chewy, with the excess egg cooking into a sweet custard alongside the caramel.

The kids, for the first time ever, asked for seconds. Oh, and I’d like to give credit to my friend Becca for coming up with the new name for this treat.

Caramel Bottom French Toast

Note: this recipe needs to be refrigerated for several hours before baking, so plan ahead.  It’s convenient to prepare it just before bed, then bake it off in the morning.

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbs. corn syrup (you can also substitute Lyle’s Golden Syrup)
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 loaf French bread or a baguette, thickly sliced
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

In a small saucepan, combine the syrup, butter and brown sugar; simmer until thick and bubbling.  Pour into the bottom of a 9″x13″ baking pan. 

Place the bread slices in the caramel, wedging them in tight.  You may have some bread left over.

In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, milk, vanilla and salt.  Whisk well, then pour evenly over the bread.  Cover and refrigerate a couple of hours or overnight.

Let the toast sit at room temperature while the oven preheats to 350.  Bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes.  Serve while warm!

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