Hawaiian sweet rolls and a rich vanilla custard topped with an irresistible bourbon pecan sauce.
French Toast Makes the Best Breakfast
This recipe is a combination of many different French toast experiences in one dish. The first instance of remarkable French toast was at Kona Kitchen in North Seattle. Here they serve an incredible French toast using Hawaiian sweet bread that I always ordered when I would stop in. The second French toast experience that inspired this recipe came from getting breakfast in Ballard at Bad Albert’s before they remodeled and did all that updating. It’s not on their menu anymore, but they used to make a wonderful French toast with crusty sourdough bread slices soaked in the most almost custardy egg dip you could imagine. This however is no longer on the menu in it’s original carnation and as for getting to Kona Kitchen for their delicious, battered slices, it’s a little more challenging to get north to enjoy it as often as I would like now that I live in Auburn.
Now I’ve gone through the process of making the elaborate vanilla custard and trying to remake each of these incredible meals on my own. Both times had pros and cons, though a major con to either is the amount of time one ends up standing and tending to a griddle. I like to take my mornings a little bit more slowly and relaxed if I can. So over time, this French toast habit transformed into what is now almost a French toast bread pudding. Assemble and pop this in the oven, then go about your morning having coffee and reading the news on your phone or take a shower and voila! An hour later you have some of the best French toast you will have ever eaten in your life and had a morning to languish in too.
Bourbon Pecan French Toast Casserole
Recipe originally based on Alice Currah’s “Overnight Baked French Toast Casserole”
Currah, Alice. “Overnight Baked French Toast Casserole.” Savory Sweet Life: 100 Simply Delicious Recipes for Every Family Occasion, William Morrow, New York, NY, 2012, pp. 24–25.
- 1 package of 12 Hawaiian sweet rolls
- 6 eggs
- 2 cups heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 cup or 2 sticks butter
- ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- ½ cup pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons bourbon whiskey
- 1 cup chopped pecans
Generously coat a 9×13 inch glass baking dish with non-stick spray or butter. Tear the rolls into bite size chunks and evenly spread across the bottom of the baking dish. Set aside.
Next, in a large bowl, whisk the eggs, cream, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg together. Pour this over the Hawaiian sweet roll pieces in the baking dish. Allow bread and egg mixture to sit together while you prepare the sauce. Before you begin, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a small saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and bourbon and heat over medium heat. Stir frequently while allowing the mixture to come to a frothy bubbly state. Add the pecans to mixture and allow to cook for 1 more minute while stirring. Remove the mixture from heat and allow to cool slightly. Pour half of the mixture over the casserole before transferring the casserole into the oven. Bake the casserole uncovered for about 40-45 minutes.
Once the casserole is golden brown on top, remove from the oven and carefully and evenly coat the entire top of the casserole with the sauce and drizzle any remaining over the casserole. Put the casserole back in the oven and bake for 5-10 more minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes before serving.
If you like sweet breakfast bakes, try these cinnamon rolls too!