Slow it Down Sunday
For me, Sunday has always been a special day that tends to run a little slower than other days of the week. It is a great time to take a breath and either enjoy a proper breakfast or share a special Sunday dinner with your family. If you do happen to find yourself pressed for time, considering making the French toast batter the night before since this will speed up the production time.
With this dish I will often serve a simple melon and berry salad with fresh mint, a choice of spicy sausage or crisp bacon, and set out optional toppers such as sliced banana, strawberries, wet nuts or fresh made blueberry syrup, in addition to the warm maple syrup. If you want to go all out you can add scrambled eggs with cheese, southern style grits, smoked salmon/trout tray, biscuits with either clotted cream and strawberry jam or country sausage gravy. Wow! Of course in my house, I will make loads of fresh hot coffee, orange juice and offer Bloody Mary’s, Mimosa’s or a Ramos Gin Fizz (for those nursing a hangover).
Whether you attend a religious service or not, Sundays should be taken as a day of rest and rejuvenation for the soul.
Grand Marnier French Toast
Sunday Brunch should never be boring or routine. While regular French toast is never refused around my home, this recipe offers a delicious alternative.
- 4 tbsp butter for cooking
- 4 whole eggs, large size
- 3/4 cup half and half
- 1/4 cup Grand Marnier you can substitute Hiram Walker triple sec or Cointreau
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1 tbsp orange zest the zest from 1 medium to large orange
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 slices bread
- 1/4 cup sugar, powdered/confectioners/icing
- 1/2 cup maple syrup, warm splurge for the real deal
Mix together the eggs, half and half, Grand Marnier, sugar, orange zest and vanilla extract in a medium mixing bowl of an electric mixer, hand mixer or whisk. Whisk until all the ingredients have been thoroughly combined.
Pour the egg/orange mixture into a large casserole dish.
Depending on the bread, place a few slices into the egg/orange mixture and let it soak for about a minute.
Turn the slices over and soak the other side. The longer you soak the bread (without it falling apart) the better the French toast will taste.
Heat up the 4 tbsp of butter in a large skillet. (You may need additional butter between batches of French toast. If you do, first clean out any burned or dark bits before adding more butter so each portion of French toast is cooked in clean hot butter.) If you are cooking the French toast in batches, keep them warm on a clean sheet pan in a warm oven on its lowest setting.
Once all of the French toast is cooked, arrange on a serving platter or individual plates. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.
If you live in an area that Grand Marnier is not available you can substitute any number of orange flavored liqueurs. They all basically breakdown into one of two groups the Curacao or Triple Sec varieties
Curacao variety is typically made with brandy sugar and dried oranges and peels in a pot still and allowed to slowly flavor the brandy.
Triple Sec variety is typically made with less sugar than the Curacao version and is made with a neutral spirit instead of the brandy.
While they are both French in origin and the most widely known you may wonder about the difference between Grand Marnier and Cointreau. Grand Marnier is made in the curaçao tradition where as Cointreau is made in the triple sec tradition. I'm a fan of both and it's really up to your taste buds to which you prefer.
Keep exploring different types of orange liqueurs you may very well find one that you like even more than the two most widely known ones. There is even a blood orange liqueur made in Italy called Solerno.
For a non-alcoholic version you can substitute frozen orange concentrate (thawed).