That title was a mouthful. Much like the recipe. In fact, I really wanted to call it ‘Caramelized Almond Vanilla Bean Baked Croissant French Toast’ – you know, kind of like Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious (and yes, I actually did know how to spell that without looking – BOOM!)
Frankly I wanted to just say “try to say that five times fast” for the first sentence of this post. I refrained. Barely. You may be guessing at this point that I am once again running around crazy with the kids these days, over caffeinated on my favorite white Monster and very little sleep. You’d be correct. Carry on.
Such restraint. It’s a miracle, I know! (Yes, sarcasm is one of the virtues I am teaching my children – both how to recognize it and someday wield it themselves – yep. Already regret that parenting decision.)
The title being shortened to something that wasn’t just packing the entire recipe into one line and not going completely mad, bonkers with the toppings was pretty much where my restraint ended with this recipe (and apparently this post!). What we have here is an amalgam of kitchen alchemy at it’s best. Sugar + heat + subtle flavoring = easy and over the top impressive. Just the way I like it.
Don’t get me wrong. You could totally make some killer fresh fruit topping choices here, like a mixed berry option or whatever you fancy, but I just didn’t see the need for it this time around.
Ever since I posted that recipe for the Sugar Crusted Vanilla French Toast long ago (which has been endlessly popular on Pinterest by-the-by) I haven’t been able to get it out of my head. There’s sugar, and butter, and baking and sweet, sweet, decadent breakfast involved after all. I’m nothing if not predictable in my love of sweet and decadent breakfasts.
The thing was, I couldn’t get out of my head how much I wanted to try making it again using croissants. Mini croissants in this case. You know. Flaky, buttery, tender croissants layered in a baking dish and soaked in an almond and vanilla bean custard overnight then drenched in a sweet, gooey caramel layer the next day. It seemed to me it would be like having the best of all worlds in one.
I mean, if you’re gonna go for it with the calories and decadence every once in a while, then go big!
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When I was recently invited to be part of the #FinishRiseandShine Challenge from Finish Dishwashing about trying out some of their new and improved dishwashing gel packs. I thought the challenge sounded pretty fun. I’m not gonna lie. I’m not a rinser. I’m a soaker. I’m a soaker and leave it over night so I can feel falsely productive and pretend I had the slightest intention of getting those dishes done any time soon kind of gal. I hate, no abhor, doing dishes.
Anywho. Here comes the Finish® Quantum® with New Power Gel 10-pack they sent me with an offer to buy me a new dish, pay for some groceries and have me create something decadent and messy for breakfast. Then they wanted me to load said messy dish into the dishwasher and ignore it until bedtime. No rinsing, no scraping and no turning the dishes on until the very last possible second.
Well, let’s face it. I would’ve done most of that anyway so why not take the challenge!?
Which brings us full circle back to the kind of recipe I’ve been known to ruin baking dishes with. Caramelized, baked on, ignored sugar and eggs.
Dish cleaning power gauntlet thrown. How did it do? Honestly? A picture or several is worth a thousand words isn’t it? I followed the challenge to a ‘T’ (like I said, easy since that’s my style of
ignoring doing the dishes anyway.
Oh. And did I mention that we have such crappy, hard water that my poor little dishwasher is actually falling apart. I need a new one but have been dragging it out finding one. Anyway, our water is so awful that I actually have parts of the machine where the coating on the prongs is worn off.
This machine is no new fangled beauty. It’s a six year old workhorse that’s seen better days. And, no, I didn’t only load the special ‘challenge’ dish into the machine. I packed it just as full as I usually do. You know, because I don’t want to wash any more dishes by hand than at all humanly possible.
So. The verdict? I’d say the Finish® Quantum® with New Power Gel pack was a definite success, wouldn’t you? That picture above is indeed how the dish went into the machine.
I really did enjoy waking up to clean dishes. In fact, it actually put me ahead of the game for once on a busy morning enough that I was able to even sit down and have a little tea and toast for my breakfast. Which pretty much never happens. So, bonus and rock on!
As for the recipe, well, all I can say is, as a Mom, I wish that after I put this together the night before, at the very least, someone else would get up and put it in the oven while I sleep in. Not pretend sleep in either. But real sleep in where I am completely off duty till at least 9:45 am and all I have to do is get up and eat.
But even if that doesn’t happen, and that 9:45 is really more like 7:45 am at best, and I have to get up and put this in the oven myself… well, that’d be ok too.
Caramelized Almond Vanilla Croissant French Toast
12 mini croissants (or 6 large) cut in half through the middle (like for a sandwich – if using the large croissants cut them into halves again to make smaller pieces for the stacking)
6 large eggs
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
- In a deep baking dish that has been lightly buttered, stack the sliced croissants standing up on end fitting them tightly into the pan.
- In a large bowl whisk together the custard ingredients thoroughly.
- Pour the custard evenly over the croissant pieces.
- Cover the dish tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- A little more than an hour before you want to eat preheat the oven to 350 degrees and remove the baking dish from the refrigerator.
- Remove the plastic wrap and press down lightly on the pieces to make sure all the pieces have absorbed the custard. There will probably still be a layer of custard in the bottom and that is fine. Depending on the size of your baking pan you may want to place it on a baking sheet to catch any sugary overflow, just in case.
- Prepare the sugar crust below and bake accordingly.
For the sugar almond crust:
1/2 cup (1 stick or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons honey
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons almond flour or finely chopped almonds
- In a large microwave safe bowl or heat proof large glass measuring cup, melt the butter in the microwave till just melted (about 1 to 1 1/2 minutes on high).
- Add the brown sugar and honey, whisk well to combine.
- Microwave on high again in 30-second bursts (two to three times should be enough) till the sugar is melted and the mixture is bubbly and hot.
- Gently whisk in the vanilla extract. (Alternatively, you can do this process in a pan on your stovetop.)
- Carefully and evenly pour the sugar mixture over the french toast croissants, covering each piece well. Sprinkle the almond flour or chopped almonds over the top.
- Place the baking dish into the oven and bake until puffy and golden.
- The french toast should ‘rise’ and puff in the middle before it’s done (it will deflate almost immediately after remove from the oven).
- The finished dish should be golden and baked through, about 45 to 50 minutes depending on how packed your pan was.
- Serve warm. Makes enough for 4-6 servings.
DISCLOSURE: I was compensated for my participation and the materials and ingredients used in working on the #FinishRiseandShine Challenge and as always my opinions, recipes, and thoughts are 100% my own.