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A toast — to breakfast

Kicked-Up French Toast

Five days a week, breakfast for me is pretty simple: a carton of yogurt, an apple and sometimes a granola bar, consumed sitting at my desk. Hubby Bryan is better about eating when he first gets up, with a bowl of cereal and a banana on his menu.

But come the weekend, breakfast becomes a more substantial undertaking at our house. Bryan is most often the breakfast chef, with a repertoire that includes omelets, chicken-fried steak and eggs, basted eggs with bacon, breakfast burritos and variations on pancakes. Once in a while, I contribute an egg bake or simple scrambled eggs on toast to the mix.

A favorite that we both like to make is Oven French Toast, found in DotMom’s “Mixing & Musing Cookbook,” (page 106, for those who have the book) which uses orange juice in place of milk in the egg batter.

On a recent weekend, Bryan and I collaborated on a variation of this oven-baked breakfast delight. I had come across a recipe for a French toast that incorporated one of the “chata” liquers into the batter and thought it could be translated into the baked version.

I was right. The end result was delicious — a satisfying beginning to one of the many snow winter weekends we have experienced this year.

Notes from the kitchen:

* There are several varieties of “chata” liqueurs, basically a cream liqueur flavored with rum, vanilla, cinnamon and other flavors. We had some Orchata on hand, so that is what we used. But this recipe is adaptable to just about any liqueur, such as RumChata, Bailey’s, Amarula, Godiva’s, etc.

* We added the zest because we liked the orange flavor from the original recipe. Lemon zest might also be nice, depending on the liqueur being used, or leave it out altogether.

* To toast the nuts, sprinkle them over the French toast just a few minutes before taking the pan out of the oven. Nuts are also optional.

* This works best in a bare pan. If you try to line it with foil, the sugar mixture will stick and make it difficult to remove the finished toast.

Kicked-Up French Toast

3 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons brown sugar

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

3 large eggs

1/3 cup Orchata liqueur

½  cup milk

1 teaspoon orange zest (optional)

French bread, cut into eight 1½-inch slices

¼ cup chopped almonds or pecans (optional)

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Using a rimmed baking sheet or pan, add butter to pan and place into oven to melt. Tilt pan to distribute melted butter over bottom. Sprinkle with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a bowl, lightly beat eggs and add the liqueur, milk and zest.  Dip each slice of bread into the egg mixture, letting it soak in for a few seconds. Let excess egg drip off before placing each slice in the pan on top of the sugar-butter mixture.

Bake for 20 minutes, turning bread slices halfway through the baking time.

Serve topped with chopped nuts and maple syrup.

Daily Globe Features Editor Beth Rickers

can be reached at 376-7327.

Beth Rickers

Beth Rickers is the veteran in the newspaper staff with 25 years as the Daily Globe's Features Editor. Interests include cooking, traveling and beer tasting and making with her home-brewing husband, Bryan. She writes an Area Voices blog called Lagniappe, which is a Creole term that means "a little something extra." It can be found at  

(507) 376-7327