Night-Before French Toast

We posted this recipe for French toast in our online "Current," but it’s so good, I wanted to put it here as well. The recipe comes from Joe Simone at the Sunnyside in Warren, and the toast reheats perfectly in the morning, which means you can whip it together the night before and indulge without fuss before work. It’s very good on freezing, post-holiday-blues mornings  (do you know it’s nineteen degrees right now?) or for those of us who will never be found up and about, baking, before work.

Oven Baked Raisin and Almond French Toast
Prepare the night before and let rest in the fridge until morning.
Serves 4-6
4-6 thick (1inch) slices cinnamon-raisin Babka or Challah bread*
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup Half and Half
Pinch salt to taste
1 tsp vanilla or almond extract
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
¼ tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup golden or dark raisins (or a combination of both)
½ cup dark brown sugar, or to taste
½ cup chopped blanched almonds
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1.  Spray a large baking dish with Pam. Arrange the bread slices in the prepared baking dish in a single layer.
2.  In a mixing bowl whisk together the eggs, milk, half and half, salt and spices. Stir in the raisins and pour this mixture over the bread slices. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
3.  The next morning preheat oven to 350F. Combine the brown sugar and chopped almonds and sprinkle over the bread mixture. Dot the top with the butter.
4.  Bake for 30-40 minutes until puffy and golden. Serve hot with maple syrup.
*Joe likes the Challah or Raisin Babka from Bristol Bakery, but you can substitute any artisanal style bread.