Thursday, March 3, 2011

Brunch at the (Book) Club

Our winter book selection, The Wednesday Letters by Jason F. Wright, inspired a cozy B&B-style brunch for our recent book club meeting. Fortunately for me, the week before our meeting, my sister hosted a bed-and-breakfast themed cooking club. So I called Jennifer to see if she could suggest any must-make recipes. Boy, did she deliver with a menu of recipes compiled from B&Bs all over the country. I made the blueberry French toast pictured above for book club and have enjoyed the leftovers for several days since. I plan to share Jennifer's complete menu in a future post, but for now you must try this recipe -- a deliciously indulgent way to start the day.

Blueberry French Toast
From the Peace With-Inn Bed and Breakfast in North Conway, N.H.
1 loaf French bread
3 eggs
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1 2/3 cups milk
¼ cup flour
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ stick cold butter
3 ounces cream cheese
2 cups blueberries
Maple syrup
Liberally butter a 13x9 inch baking dish. Cut bread into 1-inch thick diagonal slices and place in baking dish. In a medium bowl, lightly beat eggs. Add sugar and vanilla; stir in milk until well blended. Pour mixture over bread, turning slices to coat well. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
The next day, turn bread slices over in baking dish. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and cold butter (cut into chunks) in a food processor until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Cut cream cheese into small chunks and scatter on top of bread. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture over bread with cream cheese. Liberally scatter blueberries on top and bake for 45 minutes. Serve with hot real maple syrup. Serves 12. (Note: This recipe can be prepared up to 2 days ahead.)
"A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in." -- Robert Orben
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