I’ve been saving this recipe for months. I was determined to share it with you on my best friend Chris’s birthday, because if it wasn’t for him I don’t think I ever would have stumbled across this recipe, and I would probably be about 10 pounds lighter, perhaps even 20. You see the day I met Chris, I gained an entire family, the Henry/Faller family. His brothers became my brothers, his friends became my friends, his aunts and uncles became my aunts and uncles, and his “Mommy” became my “Mommy.” I originally started out by dating Chris, and was welcomed into his family fold with open arms. They loved me! I have no doubt that if Chris were to ever marry a woman, that they would want it to be me. Seeing as that won’t ever happen though, I’m perfectly fine with being their “Princess,” and not “The Little Woman.”
I have so many fond memories of spending holidays, birthdays, and vacations with all of them, and am a better person for having Chris in my life. He is the person who shows up late at night to fix your VW when it’s broken down or been damaged by vandals. He is the person who picks you up after you’ve fallen down in the handicap ramp. He is the person you drink “Mommy’s Secret Cherry Juice” with, sparingly, because you know she’ll kick your ass if she finds out you drank the whole bottle at one time, and she’ll know because you’ll be drunk off your ass in less than 5 minutes. He is the person you walk around Target dressed up like a princess with. He is the person you sing “All By Myself” with each year on Valentine’s Day, with feeling of course. He is also the person who makes Koala noises with you, even though no one around you realizes exactly what it is you are doing. That’s how it works with Chris. We get one another in a way that other people just don’t. In short, Chris is the one I would choose to always have by my side if given a choice. (*I would just like to say that this in no way means that I do not love and cherish my B.O.B. Bob or my darling psychotic Brenna. I just love them in a completely different way.)
Let’s talk about “Mommy.” She is the BEST COOK IN THE WORLD. She doesn’t do fancy fancy food, she does down home, smack you upside the head, add three sticks of butter and one pint of heavy whipping cream food. She is the person I most want to spend time in the kitchen with. She is loving, she is always willing to teach me new things, and she always always always has the good gossip. “Mommy” also loves holidays, and sees them as an excuse to go all out and throw a party. We continue to celebrate many traditions that she passed down to us in our own Delawder Matthews household. Grinchmas, the yearly event in which we stuff our faces with pizza and watch “How the Grinch Stole Christmas!” is still one of my favorites. And then there’s “The Annual Easter Egg Hunt for Money.” The concept came from her, but we’ve improved upon it throughout the years. My love for St. Patrick’s Day and Halloween were always indulged through holiday parties that she would throw each year. Some of them were simple little affairs, while she went all out for others by decorating the entire house and cooking enough food to feed an army. We “children” almost always slept over, and in the morning woke up to the most glorious breakfast imaginable. Just try and wrap your head around an entire table filled with bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs cooked with whipping cream, grits, and a large pan of Crème Brûlée French Toast. NIRVANA!
So while Chris may be living in Denver, too far away for me to grab ahold of him and give him THE MOST GIGANTIC HUG EVER, I just want to wish him the happiest of birthdays. I want to let him know that I love him, I miss him, and I wish we were sitting at “Mommy’s” table with a plate of Crème Brûlée French Toast, bacon, and eggs in front of us. Shoveling it all down while moaning in ecstatic glee, as we try to guess at how many sticks of butter are in every bite that we are stuffing into our mouths. My guess is one and a half sticks per plate. I love you Chris, and hope that you have the best day ever. (*Insert Koala noises here.)
- 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter
- 1 Cup Light Brown Sugar, Packed
- 2 Tablespoons Light Corn Syrup
- 1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
- Thick-Sliced Italian Bread
- 6 Eggs
- 1 1/2 Cups Half and Half
- 2 Tablespoons Vanilla
- 1 Tablespoon Triple Sec Liqueur
- 1/2 Teaspoon Kosher Salt
- 1 (11-oz.) Can Mandarin Oranges
- Melt butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and cinnamon in a small sauté pan, over medium heat.
- Pour the butter mixture into a 9×13 glass baking dish.
- Place thick slices of Italian bread on top of the butter mixture, making sure to squish as many slices in the dish as possible. You should have approximately 10 slices of bread.
- In a medium size bowl, whisk the eggs, half and half, vanilla, triple sec, and salt together.
- Pour the egg mixture over top of the sliced bread.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
- Allow the baking dish to set at room temperature for at least 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.
- Serve with the butter and sugar side of the bread facing up, topped with mandarin orange slices.
- This breakfast dish will easily serve several people. It is extremely rich and sweet, so a little goes a long way. Serve with bacon or sausage, and a big bowl of fresh fruit.
- You can prepare this dish the morning of, but it’s best to allow the bread an entire night to soak up the egg mixture.
- “Mommy” uses Texas Toast in this recipe, but the store didn’t have any, so I improvised with Italian bread instead. Use whatever bread is available to you, as long as it is thickly sliced.
- Allowing the glass baking dish to come to room temperature will prevent the glass from cracking or breaking in the oven.
- Sprinkle the butter mixture with slivered almonds, before placing the bead slices on top.
- Dust with powdered sugar.
RECIPE ADAPTED FROM: Crème Brûlée French Toast by Carolyn Faller
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