INGREDIENTS
1/4 Cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
3/4 Cup packed light brown sugar
1 loaf brioche or challah, cut into 1-1/2-inch thick slices
8 eggs, slightly beaten
1 Cup whole milk
1 Tbsp Vanilla Paste
1 tsp Saigon Cinnamon
1/4 tsp Ginger Powder
1/8 tsp Nutmeg, Ground
1/2 Cup pecans, chopped
1/8 tsp Salt
powdered sugar for topping

Bourbon maple syrup (recipe below) (optional)

Bourbon Maple Syrup
1-1/2 Cup Maple Syrup (the real stuff is best)
1/4 Cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
1 Tbsp Bourbon Whiskey or 1/2 tsp Bourbon Extract

STEPS
Make the French Toast:
In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and melted butter; pour mixture evenly over the bottom of a 9×13-inch baking dish. Arrange 1-1/2″ thick slices of bread so that they cover the bottom of the baking dish, overlapping if necessary.

Whisk together the milk, eggs, vanilla, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg in a mixing bowl until thoroughly combined. Pour egg mixture evenly over the baking dish full of bread slices. Sprinkle chopped pecans on top of the eggy bread slices.  Cover baking dish tightly with plastic cling wrap and refrigerate for at least 4, and up to 12 hours.

When ready to make the French toast, take the baking dish from the fridge and allow to warm on the counter for at least 10 (and up to 30) minutes while you are preheat your oven to 350°F.

Bake casserole for 30-35 minutes. If the eggy bread starts browning too quickly, loosely cover the top of the dish with foil for the last 10 minutes or so of baking. This will keep the casserole from drying out.

Make the (optional) Bourbon Maple Syrup:
While the French Toast is baking, make your bourbon maple syrup. Combine the real maple syrup and butter in a small heavy saucepan. Bring mixture to a boil over medium heat. Once the mixture boils, stir in the bourbon or bourbon extract. Immediately remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.

Remove casserole from oven and let it cool slightly before serving. Serve each piece with a dusting of powdered sugar and a drizzle of the bourbon maple syrup.

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