Baked Maple-Caramel French Toast

I took a baked french toast recipe and adapted it to make for Mother's Day brunch a couple years ago. My mom declared it, "The best thing I have ever eaten" and now I make it each year for Christmas Eve breakfast. It gets thrown together the night before and in the morning all I need to do is whip up the caramel sauce and pop the whole thing in the oven- so easy! It is a perfect cross between french toast and bread pudding- a hot, gooey, sweet treat!

Baked Maple-Caramel French Toast
Serves 8

French Toast
1 (16 ounce) loaf of thickly sliced raisin bread (12 slices)
8 eggs
1 can evaporated milk
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1. butter a 9x13 rectangular glass baking dish
2. place 6 slices of bread in the bottom (2 rows of 3) and top with another 6 in the same way
3. in a mixing bowl combine eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon and beat to combine
4. pour over bread, cover, and refrigerate for several hours
5. using a spatula, turn over bread slices so top piece is on the bottom, cover and refrigerate again for several more hours or overnight (most of the egg mixture should be absorbed by the bread- if too much remains you can pour some out right before baking)
6. just before baking, prepare caramel sauce and pour half of it over the top of the slices
7. bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for 45 minutes
8. just before serving drizzle with remaining caramel sauce and top with candied pecans (try this recipe! )

Maple-Caramel Sauce

1 1/3 cups brown sugar
3/4 cup butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup

1. combine ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a boil while stirring constantly
2. boil one minute and remove from heat
3. use half of the sauce on the unbaked french toast and pour the remaining sauce on top of baked french toast just before serving!

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