Thursday, March 24, 2016

Carrot Cake Baked French Toast

Breakfast.  It's one of my favorite meals of the day.  Why?  Well, there are several reasons.  Breakfast isn't just for mornings., it's for anytime of the day.  Salty bacon, eggs of all sorts, biscuits, gravy, pancakes, waffles, I mean the list truly does go on and on.  Not to mention it's the only meal where it's acceptable to eat dessert (or at least infuse those flavors and elements) for an actual meal.

I mean think about monkey bread, that's sweet, sugary and so indulgent.  I believe it's a recipe that can be enjoyed as either breakfast or dessert.  Another one of those is french toast.  Bread, coated in an egg mixture, fried and drizzled with honey and sprinkled with powdered sugar.  Another one of those that truly could be dessert or breakfast.

And then there is the world of fusion.  Taking two beloved foods, mashing them together to come up with the ultimate of recipes.  I've had so much fun doing that lately and this is another one of those instances where I've taken a dessert and breakfast food and mashed them up to make the ultimate of breakfast or brunch treats.

Carrot cake baked French toast.

Whaaaat???


You read right, my friends.  I truly believe this would be the result if carrot cake and French toast had a baby.  And this little love child is just in time for the celebration of all Spring celebrations, Easter!

I am beyond obsessed with this French toast and so ecstatic I FINALLY get to share it with y'all!  It has all those flavors we know and love from carrot cake.  The shredded carrots, and tons of warm spices like cinnamon, allspice, cloves and nutmeg.  It even has that tangy cream cheese that we're so accustomed to seeing schmeared all over that cake.
Oh, and you know what?  It's even completed by being drizzled with a cream cheese glaze and another hefty sprinkle of cinnamon.  This is the Easter breakfast (or brunch) of all Easter breakfasts.   A mixture of cream cheese, carrots, and all those spices is bread on thick, white bread.  Another piece of bread is placed on top to form a sandwich and then those sandwiches are ripped in pieces.  The "custard" mixture is just as indulgent.  Eggs, milk, vanilla, and sugar are mixed together then poured over the the bread.  It's baked until golden brown and set.

This is a sight that is truly magical!  But what truly puts this recipe over the top is the cream cheese drizzle.  Oh-my-goodness.  People, this stuff is truly amazing.

Whether you're planning a big meal for the entire family or just a small, intimate gathering, this French toast needs to make an appearance at your Easter celebration.  You don't have to save it just for Easter, this is one of those recipes that once you taste it you'll be hooked and making it all Spring and Summer!

Carrot Cake Baked French Toast
Ingredients:

2/3 Cup loosely packed shredded carrots
6 Oz cream cheese, room temperature*
1/4 Tsp vanilla
1/4 Cup brown sugar
Pinch ground nutmeg
Pinch ground allspice
Pinch ground cloves
1/2 Tsp cinnamon
8 slices thick (Texas toast) white bread
6 Eggs
1 1/2 Cups milk
1 Tsp vanilla
1/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp brown sugar

For the cream cheese drizzle
2 Oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp powdered sugar
1 Tsp vanilla
1 Tbsp heavy cream or milk

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a 9x9 pan with non-stick cooking spray, set aside.

Place the shredded carrots between 2 paper towels or kitchen towels, place a heavy pan on top of the paper towel to soak some of the moisture from the carrots.  Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, place cream cheese in a bowl and beat until smooth.  Add vanilla, nutmeg, allspice, cloves and cinnamon to the cream cheese and beat on high until combined.  Add the shredded carrots and stir into the mixture.

Spread even amounts of the mixture on 4 slices of bread, top with remaining slices of bread to make sandwiches.  Rip the sandwiches in pieces and place in the prepared baking dish.

Combine eggs, milk, vanilla and brown sugar in a medium bowl and whisk to combine.  Slowly pour over the sandwich pieces, being sure to coat them all.  Place in the preheated oven and bake until set, about 30-45 minutes.*  During the last 5 to 10 minutes of baking, increase the oven tempurature to 400.  Remove from oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes.

For the cream cheese glaze-
Place the cream cheese in a bowl and beat until smooth.  Add the powdered sugar and vanilla and beat until combined and the mixture is smooth.  Add cream or milk and stir to combine.  If the mixture is too thick, add a little more milk.  You want it be able to drizzle it, but it still remain thick enough to stick to the french toast.

Cut the french toast, place on plates and drizzle with cream cheese glaze.

Store any leftovers in an airtight container and place in the refrigerator.

Notes-
-You may use regular, light or Greek yogurt cream cheese in this recipe.  I have used them all and they all turned out delicious.
-Since there is quite a bit of cream cheese in the sandwiches, it will seem like that bread and eggs mixture isn't baked through.  Once the bread starts to crisp and turn golden brown, the toast should be cooked through.

Recipe source: A Lynsey original

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