With sleepy eyes and mussed hair my youngest gal saunters into the kitchen for breakfast. On the weekends my sassy gal of 14 is the last one to rise.
I know she can smell whatever I’m cooking. The lingering scent of food travels right to her bedroom. It’s the best method for waking a teenage girl.
The scent of sweet orange and warm cinnamon drifts through the house and it doesn’t take long before I have three hungry Bennett’s sitting at the counter.
Plates set, napkins passed and cutlery ready. Someone inevitably forgets to set out the syrup. And the butter. But everyone is sporting a smile. Almost giddy.
This makes my heart sing. Hearing the happy morning chatter over Baked French Toast with fresh juice and hot coffee. Laughter, conversation, smiles.
Orange Cinnamon Raisin Baked French Toast
1 loaf cinnamon raisin bread
4 tablespoons butter, room temperature
Zest of one orange
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup Grand Marnier
1 ½ cups half and half or heavy cream
1 cup raisins
With 1-2 tablespoons butter, grease the bottom of a 9×11 or 9×13 baking dish. Lightly butter several slices of cinnamon raisin bread and then lay them on the bottom of the baking dish.
Scatter some of the raisins on top and then layer with more buttered slices of bread. Scatter more raisins and then topping with a final layer of buttered cinnamon raisin bread.
Whisk together the eggs, half and half, orange zest, Grand Marnier and Maple syrup. Pour the mixture over the bread and let it sit for about 10-15 minutes while pre-heating the oven. Or, cover the baking dish and let it sit overnight.
Pre-heat the oven to 350F and bake for about 30-40 minutes or until the Baked French Toast golden brown on top and feels done to the touch.
Let the Baked French Toast cool slightly before serving. Serve with maple syrup and fresh fruit. (I love it served with banana slices)