Sponsored by Cabot Creamery Co-operative. This is my ultimate sweet and savory breakfast French toast, a cheese lover’s dream. It’s a great base recipe too if you want to add some sautéed greens to balance out the richness. I like to eat it with maple syrup.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil.
Place the bacon on the prepared pan, brush on the maple syrup and sprinkle with the brown sugar. Bake until golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Let cool until the glaze sets, about 15 minutes.
Finely dice 4 slices of the glazed bacon and place in a medium bowl. Stir in 1 cup of the cheese and season with salt and pepper.
Laying the slices of bread on their side, cut a pocket horizontally into the center of each with a paring knife, making sure not to cut all the way through. Stuff each piece of bread with 3 to 4 tablespoons of the bacon and cheese mixture.
Whisk together the eggs and half-and-half in a large baking dish. Stir in about 1/2 cup of the remaining cheese. Add the stuffed bread and let soak for about 1 minute. Turn over to coat. Let them sit in the custard until they are soaked, but not falling-apart soggy, about 2 minutes.
Preheat a large or 11-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat for 1 to 2 minutes. Add 3 tablespoons of the butter; it should melt pretty quickly and turn a pale brown. Lift each stuffed bread out of the custard, letting it drip for about a second, then gently place it into the skillet. Cook, in batches if needed, until golden brown on all sides, 3 to 5 minutes per side. Reduce the heat to medium low if the toast is browning too quickly. You’ll know they’re done when each toast is firm and bounces back when you touch it, which means the custard is cooked through.
To create cheese crusts, remove the toasts to a plate and sprinkle a thin even layer of the remaining cheese into the bare skillet (see Cook’s Note). Return the toasts to the skillet and cook over medium heat until the cheese melts, crusts and hardens, about 2 minutes. You’re just crusting one side of the toast, so remove the toast from the skillet, cheese-crust-side up. Serve with the remaining 8 slices of glazed bacon and 3 tablespoons of softened butter. Add maple syrup if you love sweet and savory like I do.
If cooking in batches, wipe out the skillet between batches and use 2 tablespoons finely grated sharp Cheddar per toast.
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