Brunch Rush! Pumpkin Spice French Toast with Maple-Bourbon Butter

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Worried you’d have pumpkin spice withdrawals now that the holiday season has ended and a new year is upon us? Have no fear; there’s room for one last go with everyone’s favorite seasonal obsession.

Make-ahead breakfasts are the best kind of breakfast. The minute you manage to scrape yourself up out of bed, they’re already nine-tenths of the way done. While you’ve been blissfully dreaming of sugarplums or winning the lottery or escaping from zombies on a deserted volcanic island, this oven-baked French toast has been getting busy with heavy hitters like pumpkin, cinnamon and nutmeg — all so that you and your house full of guests can wake up to brunch bliss.

And what’s going to make this the best brunch ever, you may ask? Besides the fact that you’ll be there, chew on these three words: Maple-Bourbon Butter.

Pumpkin Spice French Toast with Maple-Bourbon Butter

Total Time: 40 min
Prep: 10 min (plus an overnight soak)
Cook: 30 min
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Level: Easy
For the French toast:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
1 loaf challah, cut into 1-inch slices
8 large eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sugar
One 14-ounce can pumpkin puree
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch salt
For the butter:
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon maple extract
1 tablespoon bourbon
Whipped cream, for serving

Grease a baking dish with butter. Shingle the sliced challah in the baking dish. Whisk together eggs, milk, cream, sugar, pumpkin, spices and salt. Pour the custard over the bread and press gently on the slices to soak them through. Cover the dish with foil and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove the foil and bake the French toast until golden brown and the egg has set, about 30 minutes.

While the French toast is baking, combine all of the ingredients for the butter with a pinch of salt. Beat with a wooden spoon or handheld mixer until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Reserve.

Serve the French toast with the flavored butter and a dollop of whipped cream.

NOTE: The butter can be prepared the night before, as well, and refrigerated. Take it out of the refrigerator when you first turn on the oven, so that it will be softened by the time the French toast is ready.

Patrick W. Decker’s life revolves around food. Always has, probably always will. As a graduate of The Culinary Institute of America and past member of the culinary teams for Food Network stars Rachael Ray, Sandra Lee, Marc Forgione and Bobby Deen, he’s now the Digital Content Manager for, and in NYC by day and develops recipes at his home in New York’s Hudson Valley by night. You can see what he’s up to by following him on Instagram or visiting his website at

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