My daughter Catherine graduated from high school yesterday and we had a big “Open House” this last Sunday to celebrate. We had about 65 people all totaled, so suffice it to say that I made a lot of food. I can say without a doubt that the sugared bacon was the most popular item. Guests had a crazy gleam in their eyes when they were eating these things.
Take good bacon, coat it in brown sugar mixed with a bit of smoked paprika, and lay the slices out on a broiler pan rack (don’t forget to line the bottom of the pan with foil or you’ll end up with a giant mess!)and bake at 350°F for about 15 minutes.
The runner-up for favorite dish was the Baked French Toast. I based this recipe off one I found on the internet but messed around with it so thoroughly that now I can properly call it my own! When you try it, add about a teaspoon of orange zest for something a little different. If it sounds more like dessert to you, add dried currants and top with a warm sauce of maple syrup, heavy cream and Drambuie.
Baked French Toast with Cream Cheese
12 slices French bread, cubed
Two 8 ounce packages cream cheese (or lower fat cream cheese), cubed
12 eggs, beaten
2 cups whole milk
⅓ cup maple syrup, plus more for drizzling
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup pecans, chopped
Layer half of the bread cubes in a greased 9×13-inch casserole dish.
Scatter the cream cheese cubes over the bread, then add the other half of the bread cubes on top.
Combine eggs, milk, syrup, cinnamon and vanilla. Pour over the casserole.Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, bring to room temperature, and sprinkle the nuts over the top of the casserole, lightly pressing them in with a spatula.
Bake 30 to 45 minutes in a 350°F oven. Drizzle more maple syrup over the top. Serves 12