One of the biggest questions I face when having brunch is whether I want to go sweet or savory. I love French toast, in almost all of its forms but I also really love savory food. So I decided to merge those two things into this French Toast Bake. The Brie gives it a little bit of a savory feel, but still an overall sweet dish. Plus the addition of Apple butter makes it a great holiday dish and gives you a different flavor than your standard cinnamon- heavy French toast. Which anyone who knows me, knows I have a real love-hate relationship with cinnamon. I tend to have a real light hand when it comes to it, so the addition of my Apple butter is well received on my end.
Another thing that makes this so perfect for holidays is the ability to use leftover croissants. I don’t know about y’all but croissants are a staple for just about every holiday meal in my house. There usually isn’t that many leftover but in the event they are – toss em in a baking dish and make brunch! Also, it’s super convenient to be able to make this the day before so I can just throw it in the oven the next morning.
First – let me tell you about my Apple Butter. You could totally use store bought but.. like I said before, I have trust issues with cinnamon so I prefer to make my own and I make mine more brown sugar & maple forward rather than cinnamon. So you do you when it comes to that but I’ll run down my recipe real quick. Peel, core, and chop 4lbs of apples – I use Gala. I add vanilla extract, maple extract, a pinch of salt, and 1/2 cup of brown sugar. I put in the crockpot and cook on low for around 6 hours, till it resembles Apple sauce. Then I put that mixture in the blender (note – do NOT throw piping hot liquid in a blender then turn it on. It’s bad news bears. Let it cool for just a bit, just trust me) and blend until smooth. Then I add back to my crockpot and turn the heat to high and cook with the lid off for about another hour until it gets to the consistency I like.
Apple Butter & Brie French Toast Bake
•Croissants (I used 1 dozen)
•1 1/2 cup milk
•1tbsp vanilla extract
•1tsp maple extract
•2tsp cinnamon (go as heavy or light here as you want)
•1/4 cup brown sugar
•2oz cream cheese, softened
Preheat oven to 375. Spray baking dish (I used a 9×13) with nonstick cooking spray. Tear your croissants and place in bottom on baking dish. In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, maple extract, and brown sugar. Pour over the croissants making sure each one gets covered. I lightly tossed the croissants around to make sure each were coated completely. Cut your Brie into small bites and place randomly on top (I used half of a smaller wheel of Brie). Next add small dollops or Apple butter around the top. Cover with foil and place in oven. Bake for 20 minutes then take the foil off and continue baking for 5-10 more minutes until the eggs are set the croissants are crispy and golden. Let cool slightly. Mix together 1/4 cup Apple butter and softened cream cheese and drizzle over the top of the French toast and dust lightly with powdered sugar! Serve with syrup on the side in case anyone wants theirs extra sweet! Enjoy! This would be excellent topped with pecans, walnuts, or candied pecans… which I had intended to use, but forgot about until this very moment. Fml.