Apple-Cinnamon French Toast


10 slices whole-grain bread
4 medium cooking apples, peeled, cubed (4 cups)
8 eggs
2 1/2 cups half-and-half
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
3 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups apple cider
1/4 cup butter or margarine


Grease 13x9-inch baking dish with shortening or cooking spray. Arrange 5 bread slices in baking dish, trimming to fit if necessary. Spoon apples evenly over bread; top with remaining 5 bread slices.

In large bowl, beat eggs, half-and-half, 1/4 cup of the sugar and the vanilla until smooth. Slowly pour mixture over bread. In small bowl, mix 1 cup of the sugar, the pecans, 3 teaspoons of the cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of the nutmeg. Sprinkle over bread. Cover with foil; refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 350°F. Bake French toast covered 30 minutes. Remove foil; bake 35 to 45 minutes longer or until knife inserted halfway between center and edge comes out clean and top is golden brown. Let stand 10 minutes. Cut into 12 squares. In 2-quart saucepan, mix remaining 1 cup sugar, flour, cider, and remaining 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and nutmeg. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Add butter; cook and stir until melted. Serve with French toast.

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