Creme Brulee French Toast

A few weeks ago, Patrick and I were blessed to be able to tag along on a trip to Eureka Springs with his parents. We stayed at The Heartstone Inn Bed and Breakfast (visit their website here) for the weekend in a cute little cottage that had so much charm.

If I wasn't in love with the place enough, Rick and Cheri (the owners and managers of The Heartstone) won my love and loyalty forever with their incredible 5-star breakfasts. If you know me at all, you know that good food is one of the quickest ways to my heart; good breakfast food gets you there even faster. Boy oh boy, I think I love them almost as much as I love my own family! Each breakfast that they served was absolutely divine:

Day 1: Creme Brulee French Toast, homemade (from scratch) hominy grits, sausage, and fresh fruit.

Day 2: Artichoke-Potato Quiche, chocolate zucchini bread, bacon, and fresh fruit.

Day 3: Tropical Fruit French Toast, cornbread casserole, sausage, and fresh fruit.

And the fresh fruit wasn't just a side of fruit - it was a blessed mixture of perfectly ripened fruit, always with a slightly obscure melon in the mix. Mmmm... my mouth is watering just thinking about all of that delicious food! The pictures and my descriptions really don't even begin to do it justice.

And - gasp! - the recipes that they make can be found in their very own cookbook available for purchase at the Inn's gift shop! I just about keeled over when I realized that I could bring home a bit my favorite part of The Heartstone; and just like that, the cookbook became mine. Well, I had to buy it, but let's just say that it didn't take long or any amount of convincing. (P.S. You can make it yours, too, by going to their online gift shop here! On that note, their soaps were pretty dang wonderful as well... I would like to make those mine some day soon.)

All that being said, I decided to make the Creme Brulee French Toast this past week for a house church get-together at our new place. We were so glad to be able to host, and the fact that the theme for our meal night was going to be breakfast foods was an uber plus. The french toast turned out wonderfully, and it was super easy to make (which surprised me, to be honest)! Instead of emailing or writing down the recipe several times over for my friends who wanted it, I decided just to post it here for easy access. So, thanks to Rick and Cheri, here is my favorite of all of The Heartstone Inn's breakfast recipes (so far)!

Creme Brulee French Toast
1 stick (1/2 c.) unsalted butter
1 c. packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp. corn syrup
2 baguettes or 1 loaf French bread
5 large eggs
1 1/2 c. half & half
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. Grand Marnier
1/4 tsp. salt

In a small heavy saucepan, melt butter with brown sugar and corn syrup over moderate heat, stirring until smooth and pour into a greased 13x9x2 inch baking dish.

Cut 10-12 (1 inch thick) slices, reserving ends for another use. Arrange bread slices in one layer in baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit. In a bowl, whisk together eggs, half & half, vanilla, Grand Marnier, and salt until combined well and ladle evenly over bread. Chill bread mixture, covered, overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and bring bread to room temperature. Bake bread mixture, uncovered, in middle of oven until puffed and edges are pale golden, 35-40 minutes. Serves 6.

1) I don't think that I'm betraying any confidences by posting this recipe - they have it posted on their Facebook page for The Heartstone Inn. In fact, they post one recipe every Friday, so go "like" their page and get more of their fabulous recipes!
2) I purchased 2 baguettes from Panera. I could have easily used 1 of theirs for this recipe.
3) While it says to chill the mixture overnight, I made it for an evening meal. I had it in the fridge by 9:00am and took it out at about 5:45pm.
4) We had 18 adults in the house for meal night, so there were probably more than 10-12 slices of bread in there. But who knows? I'm not the best at counting.

And there you have it, my dears! Be sure to let me know if you try this recipe for yourself. It is definitely worth the minimal effort that it takes to make it. And be sure to keep The Heartstone in mind if you ever venture out to Eureka Springs, Arkansas; I know that we will be staying there (like his parents have been - 30+ years) for many years to come!