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Crème Brûlée French Toast

Serves 6
This has become a popular dish at bed and breakfasts all over the country.
1   stick unsalted butter
1   cup brown sugar
2   tablespoons corn syrup
1 8 to 9-inch round loaf country style bread
5   eggs
1 1/2   cups half-and half
1   teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon Grand Marnier
1/4   teaspoon salt

    In a small, heavy saucepan, over moderate heat, melt the butter with the brown sugar and corn syrup. Stir until smooth. Pour into a 13- by 9- by 2-inch baking dish.

    Cut 6 1-inch thick slices from the center portion of bread, reserving ends for another use. Trim crusts.

     Arrange the slices in one layer in the baking dish, squeezing them slightly to fit.

     In a bowl, beat together the eggs, half-and half, vanilla, Grand Marnier and salt until well mixed. Pour evenly over the bread.

    Chill bread mixture, covered, at least 8 hours and up to 1 day.

     Uncover and bring the bread to room temperature before baking - about 2 hours ahead of time.

    Bake on the center rack of a preheated 350-degree oven, until puffed and the edges are pale golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Serve immediately.

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