The holidays are a time to indulge a bit, and to create recipes with lasting memories for years to come. I love a good tradition! We have a tradition of eating Christmas Brunch as a family, it is always a special morning with our kids fresh off of a Christmas high of opening gifts. We always have great memories of Christmas morning!
My favorite thing about food is the memories it can bring back, and when I incorporate a dish into a special holiday, I hope that we will always remember those good times while eating the dish in years to come!
I am teaming up with Harmons Grocery and the Harmons Blogger team to bring you several ideas for your Christmas Brunch table. (see bottom of the post for all the links!) We hope you can find a recipe that will help you plan your brunch!
My family has a tradition of eating German pancakes with homemade vanilla bean syrup, but this year I am thinking we may swap the pancakes out for these overnight challah french toasts with homemade vanilla bean syrup and whipped cream. They are perfect for Christmas morning brunch since they can be made the night before and they can be popped in the oven on Christmas morning.
The Challah bread from Harmons Grocery is a family favorite around our house. Every time we do our grocery shopping at Harmons, my kids beg me to head to the bakery for a sample.
I thought it would fun to incorporate the Challah bread into the overnight French toast. Challah bread has egg in the dough, and it has an amazing taste and consistency that is perfectly soft.
I have the Harmons bakery slice the bread at a 25 setting or 1 inch thick and I dredge it in the egg and milk mixture. With Challah bread you can allow the bread to soak up the mixture a little bit like a sponge. Next, I sprinkle the top and bottom with a good coating of the brown sugar and cinnamon mix. This allows it to caramelize and create a beautiful gooey crust when you bake it.
Next, I top it with bits of butter, and cover and refrigerate it overnight or for at least 4 hours.
Overnight Challah Bread French Toast Recipe
Makes 14 slices
4 tablespoons butter (2 tbs to grease cookie sheet, and 2 tbs to top the bread)
1 loaf Challah Bread from Harmons. Sliced at Harmons on a size 25, or 1 inch think (Challah should get roughly 14 slices)
Egg and Milk Mix
8 whole eggs
3 cups half and half
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Brown Sugar Mix
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1) Melt 2 tablespoons butter and grease a parchment lined cookie sheet.
2) Dip Challah slice into egg and milk mixture and allow to soak up some like a sponge. Next, sprinkle the challah slice with the brown sugar and cinnamon mixture. Place on the baking sheet.
Cut another 2 tablespoons butter into small pieces and sprinkle over the bread.
3) Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours.
4) Remove from fridge, and bake at 350 degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until the top of the bread is golden. Serve with fresh whipped cream, homemade vanilla bean syrup, and fresh fruit.
Homemade Vanilla Bean Syrup
1 stick unsalted butter
Melt in a medium saucepan over low heat. When just melted add,
1 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup cream or half and half
Simmer over medium heat. When it starts to bubble up, turn down to a low simmer and cook for 15 minutes.
When cool, add 1 teaspoon of Vanilla bean paste. Keep in refrigerator. Great on waffles and pancakes too!
Stabilized Whipped Cream
2 cups Heavy Whipped Cream
1 teaspoon Gelatin Crystals (optional, this helps it hold it shape after you pipe it)
4 teaspoons Water (only if you use the gelatin)
1 teaspoon Vanilla Bean Paste
1 cup powdered sugar
In a small saucepan, mix together 4 teaspoons water, and 1 teaspoons gelatin. Mix well, and place on the stove over medium heat just until the gelatin dissolves (Stir the entire time), it doesn’t take long just 20-30 seconds. Don’t allow it to get thick! Set aside to cool.
In a mixer, whip 2 cups of whipping cream on medium speed. Add Vanilla Bean Paste, and Powdered sugar. Drizzle in cooled gelatin mixture.
Whip until the whipped cream forms stiff peaks. Serve over Challah French Toast.
For more ideas for you holiday table brunch, be sure to check out post with more details and my round-up of the Harmons Christmas Brunch.
Here’s a list all the recipes by all of the Harmons Grocery Bloggers:
Christmas Morning Brioche and Tomato Bake by A Bountiful Kitchen
Cheese and Sausage Quiche by La Fuji Mama
This post is sponsored by Harmons Grocery, your neighborhood grocery store.
All photos by me.