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Mimi's Favorite Puffed French Toast

5 large eggs, beaten until frothy
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 cup half-and-half
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 loaf of firm Italian bread

In a mixing bowl, combine all the above ingredients except the bread. Cut bread into six slices each measuring approximately two inches wide. (There will be some bread left over from the loaf). Butter the six slices on both sides and place in a 9” x 12” greased baking dish. Pour the egg/milk/cream mixture over the bread. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

Approximately one hour before you wish to serve the French Toast, prepare a topping by mixing:

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
2 Tablespoons maple syrup (I just pour)

Remove the baking dish containing the bread/egg mixture from the refrigerator. Top the bread with the topping.

Bake at 350 degrees approximately 40 minutes until puffed and golden. Serve with any variety of toppings including whipped cream, fresh bananas, fresh slices strawberries or peaches, fresh pineapple, sugared pecans etc. May make ahead and reheat before serving – 6 large servings.