Oh, how I just LOVE summer! Don’t you?
How was everyone’s weekend? I hope you all enjoyed yourselves and enjoyed some nice summer weather. Last week the weather at the Jersey shore was pitiful! It was cloudy, rainy and windy almost all week but can I tell you, Sunday made up for it!! It was the most beautiful day ever! We spent the day out on the boat just crusin’ around with our son Sean. We also took our dog Tucker who just loves being on the boat. It was a day that we had been dying for since the end of summer last year. Blue skies, boats everywhere, visiting good friends we haven’t seen in a while, the smell of Coppertone….just heavenly!
Today my mom flies up from Florida for the summer. She will be spending a few days with us before she heads up to the Northern Jersey shore to her house for the summer. She is one lucky lady. Winters in Florida and summers at the Jersey shore. Tough life huh? I am thinking after successfully raising four daughters and getting through all those tough drama-filled teenage years she deserves it, even though I can honestly say I don’t “remember” giving our parents one bit of trouble.
While she is here I plan on having her be a guest cook at the beach house kitchen. As I have mentioned before, I got my love for cooking from my mother and my grandmother and believe you me she can school me on just about anything in the kitchen. A summer favorite of mine has always been her baked stuffed lobster. It’s killer, so it will definitely be on the menu while she is here. My mom’s birthday was at the end of May, so since we weren’t together for it I plan on having a little birthday celebration brunch this week for her. My mom loves having brunch and I know she is going to love these Maple Pecan French Toast Cups. This recipe is adapted from Paula Deen’s Baked French Toast Casserole. Paula makes her recipe with French bread but I substituted brioche bread. I also added raisins to mine and put them in individual 8 ounce ramekin dishes, but if you would rather make it in a 9×13 pan feel free. When I get together with my girlfriends from college I always serve this French Toast recipe and they LOVE it, so if it’s good enough for my girlfriends it’s good enough for mom. I know she is going to love it. It’s sweet, totally decadent and if you are thinking you may have leftovers think again! I know you are going to look at the Praline Topping and say OMG two sticks of butter! What the? But I am telling you, it’s not like you eat this stuff every day. It’s a special treat and you deserve it and the topping totally makes this French toast TO DIE FOR!!
- 1 loaf brioche bread 13-16 ounces, cut into one inch cubes
- 8 large eggs
- 2 cups half and half
- 1 cup milk
- 2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
- 3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup raisins
- Praline Topping:
- 2 lb. butter 2 sticks
- cup packed light brown sugar
- cup pecans chopped
- Tbsp. maple syrup
- 2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Spread over the top of each individual ramekin dish.
Spray individual 8 oz. ramekins with nonstick cooking spray. Place ramekins on a large baking sheets. Ramekins will puff up and bubble over a little while baking so definitely bake on a baking sheet.
In large bowl, lightly whisk together eggs, half and half, milk, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Add the cubed bread stir to coat. Fold in the raisins. Divide among the ramekin dishes. Press down lightly with a spatula. Cover ramekins with foil and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spread topping over the bread mixture in each ramekin and bake for 40 minutes or until puffy and golden brown. Check at 30-35 minutes and if browning too quickly tent with foil. Remove from oven and let cool a bit. Serve with extra maple syrup if desired.