For almost 20 years we have started New Year’s Day the same way - going out for breakfast with my parents at one of our favorite local restaurants.
As you know, I truly love our family traditions – and this one is no exception. But I just wasn’t “feeling it” this year.
We had spent the previous week cramming at least a month’s worth of activities into a few fun (but hectic) days. Chelsea was leaving for Paris the next day. And all I wanted to do was STAY IN. Even if it meant more cooking.
So I took a quick survey and (surprise!) no one else seemed to mind staying home and having me cook – so I decided to (gasp!) break with tradition and see what happened. Chelsea had sent me the link to this french toast recipe many months ago and I had been waiting for just the right occasion to make it. I immediately knew that this would be the main course, and I built the rest of the meal around it.
It was a huge success and I’m sure I will be rolling this menu out all winter long. I think you will too, because:
1. Almost all of the prep can be done the day before (and the day-of work is minimal and easy).
2. There’s bacon.
3. It incorporates a fruit salad that is actually good.
4. It makes enough to easily serve a crowd.
5. There’s bacon.
6. It’s kid-friendly.
7. It’s elegant enough for “company” but homey and simple enough to make any old time.
Oh – and did I mention there’s bacon?
What a lovely morning. Instead of racing out in the cold to beat the crowds on New Year’s Day, I put up a big pot of coffee, did the few minor steps needed to complete all of the work I had done the day prior, and relaxed and enjoyed a (relatively) lazy day – the first of the year. For a larger group I might round out the meal with a bowl of chilled and peeled hard boiled eggs and a pitcher of mimosas.
This is serious delicious people – like french toast “cake” with streusel on top (are you dying yet?). This would be worth twice the effort but wins my heart for how insanely easy it was to pull together.
And the bacon? From one of my absolute favorite blogs – this woman is an evil genius and there has yet to be a recipe of hers that I’m not thinking about for days afterward (note: – do NOT skimp on quality here. This is the time to break out the good bacon – the thick cut stuff – it is well worth it).
I’ll post the fruit salad soon! Here it is!
Cinnamon Streusel French Toast
adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod
1 loaf French bread (I used a skinny-ish baguette here and it was fine – I might go for a slightly heftier size next time, and imagine that sourdough would be delicious too!)
8 large eggs, beaten slightly
2 c. whole milk
½ c. heavy cream
¾ c. (150 g.) granulated sugar
2 T. vanilla extract
½ c. flour (67 g.)
½ c. brown sugar (50 g.)
1 t. cinnamon
¼ t. salt
1/2 c. cold butter, cut into small pieces
Spray a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Cut bread into cubes, and evenly place in the pan.
In a large bowl, mix together the beaten eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla. Pour evenly over bread. Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight.
In a separate bowl, mix together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Using a pastry cutter or your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture till it resembles sand (you’ll have a few pea-sized pieces; that’s okay). Cover with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator overnight.
The next day, pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle streusel evenly over the top of the bread mixture. Bake uncovered for 45-55 minutes, or until the french toast is set and golden brown.
Serve immediately with maple syrup.
Crispy Cardamom Sugared Bacon
adapted from How Sweet It Is
10-12 slices thick-cut bacon
1/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 t. ground cardamom
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and lay a wire rack on top.
Mix sugar and cardamom in a pie plate or other shallow dish. Coat bacon slices evenly with mixture. Lay the strips on the wire rack and bake for 25-35 minutes, turning slices halfway through. The time may vary, depending on the thickness of your bacon; it should be nicely crisp.
Remove and drain briefly on paper towels prior to serving.