Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"I'm gonna give ya till the morning comes..."

Thanks, Neil Young. Love the song.

Those who know me are keenly aware that I'm not a morning person. For me, most mornings are like snow: best seen in lovely photographs. But there are times when being prepared for a morning comes in handy, like when you have a Family Sleepover, overnight guests, or an impromptu breakfast with friends like the Orleys to follow up a New Year's Eve party.

So, how do I pretend to be prepared? I make something in advance that sits in the refrigerator and then pop it in the oven upon awakening. I found this recipe in a magazine ad for Pepperidge Farm® Cinnamon Swirl Bread and it seemed perfect for that purpose. So, when I made it for Mike and Faith, they loved it--and because it's an excellent vehicle for maple syrup, I did, too.

Baked French Swirl Toast
(prep time: 15 min.; chill time: 1 hr. or overnight; cook time: 45 min.)

✔ 1 16 oz. loaf of cinnamon swirl bread, cut into cubes
✔ 3/4 cup dried cranberries or raisins (I chose raisins)
✔ 6 eggs, beaten
✔ 3 cups half-and-half or milk (I used milk because I usually don't have H+H in the 'frig)
✔ 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
✔ cinnamon-sugar or confectioner's sugar (If you've read a couple of my other recipes, guess which one I used. Hint: it's a callback. ☺)

Night before: Place bread cubes and raisins in greased 3-quart shallow baking dish. Mix eggs, milk and vanilla; pour over all. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour or overnight.

Morning: Uncover. Bake at 350° for 45 minutes or until golden brown and set in center. Sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar and serve with butter and maple syrup. Serves 8.

Buon appetito!

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