Crunchy Vanilla-Almond French Toast with Fancy Fruit Topping, Sweet-n-Smoky Bacon

Submitted by: Tanya Taktouk
A coating of crunched-up corn flakes and slivered almonds makes for a very clever twist on this breakfast favorite!

Ingredients

Bacon:
1 pounds applewood smoked bacon
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
Toast:
8 large eggs
1 cup half-and-half
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 pinches salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
3 cups corn flakes, lightly crushed
1/2 cup sliced almonds, lightly crushed
4 Tbsp. butter
12 (1 1/2-inch-thick) slices challah bread or soft "Italian" style bread
Medium or dark amber maple syrup to pass at table
Mint sprigs and edible flowers, suggested plate garnish
Fancy Fruit Topping:
1 large navel orange, peeled and chopped
12 large strawberries, sliced
1/2 pint blueberries
1/2 pint raspberries
1/2 pint blackberries
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 cup orange liqueur (recommended: Grand Marnier)

Method

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Arrange bacon on slotted broiler pan. Sprinkle with brown sugar and place in oven to bake until crisp, 20 to 22 minutes.

Preheat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.

In a shallow dish, beat together with a wire whisk: eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon. In a second shallow dish combine flakes and nuts. Add 2 tablespoons butter to warm skillet. Place a cookie sheet lined with foil (for easy clean-up) near the stove. Coat 4 to 6 slices of bread in egg, depending on the size of your skillet, then coat bread in cornflakes and nuts. Cook slices 2 minutes on each side and transfer toast to cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining slices and transfer toast to oven. Bake 10 minutes, with already cooking bacon.

While bacon and toast are in oven, combine fruit, sugar and liqueur in a serving bowl and reserve.

Remove toast and bacon from oven. Warm syrup in a small pitcher in microwave 15 seconds on high. Serve toast and bacon on plates with optional garnish of mint and edible flowers.

Pass syrup and topping at the table

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