I LOVE HAVING my girlfriends over for brunch after a fun night out. We spend the whole morning rehashing the events of the night before over an endless pot of coffee and a filling breakfast. We buy all of the New York newspapers, which are more like tabloids on the weekends, and talk and laugh for hours. It’s my favorite part of the day.
I have yet to meet a friend who doesn’t delight (and then some) in my Nutella French toast sandwiches and a cranberry mimosa. The taste of the Nutella reminds me of the crêpes I eat from the street vendors when I’m in Paris, and for a minute it feels like we’ve run off to France.
For ease of use, assemble the French toast in a casserole dish the night before and store it in the refrigerator. The extra hours in the fridge will allow the brioche to soak up all of the custard mixture, creating a soft, moist breadpudding- like texture. If I have houseguests, I leave a Post-it note on the oven with baking instructions. Whoever gets up first is in charge. When the smell of chocolate and hazelnut starts flowing through the house, everyone perks right up.
In addition to coffee, I always serve something with bubbles for a weekend breakfast. Mimosas are my standby, and for a different twist on the traditional I mix in a little cranberry juice.
A long breakfast with friends is a luxury, and with the food and the drinks, us girls will be gabbing until well past lunchtime.
NUTELLA FRENCH TOAST SANDWICHES
Serves 6 to 8
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 20 minutes, or up to overnight
Cook Time: 50 minutes
8 large eggs
2½ cups whole milk
¼ cup sugar
½ tspn. kosher salt
Zest of 1 orange
1 tspn. vanilla
1 loaf brioche, sliced about ¾-inch thick
¾ cup Nutella
3 ripe bananas, sliced on a diagonal
In a large bowl whisk eggs, milk, sugar, salt, orange zest and vanilla. Set aside. Grease a casserole dish. Spread half of the bread slices with Nutella and top with bananas and remaining bread slices. Place in casserole dish and pour in egg mixture and allow it to soak in, at least 20 minutes. (I like to make this the night before, cover it and store it in the refrigerator until the next morning.) Preheat the oven to 350°. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until bread is golden brown and puffy. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
1 ounce cranberry juice
1 ounce orange juice
3 ounces Champagne or sparkling wine
Pour cranberry juice and orange juice into the bottom of a Champagne glass. Top with Champagne and serve.