Friday, December 31, 2010

Crème Brûlée French Toast

So by a few of the comments I received on my post about Russian Tea Cakes, I can see that not all my readers are familiar with the game of beer pong.

I'm sorry that you were forced to 'Google' it :(

I'd say, if you are a college student or the parent of one, you should probably know what beer pong is - even if you've never played it personally.  Anyone else, I'll be happy to give you a pass on that one and explain the game.

To play beer pong, you set up plastic Solo cups in a triangle on each side of a long table (ideally, something the size of a ping pong table).  The object of the game is for two teams of two people to toss a ping pong ball into the cups of the other team.  If it goes in the cup, someone on that team must drink it and the cup gets taken away.  The game continues until all the cups on one side are gone.

My husband's family started playing beer pong on Christmas night the year before I met him.  Some people might think this is a strange thing for a family to do, but I thought it sounded like so much fun!

However, I did not attend Christmas Eve with Mr. Vittles our first year together, so I missed out.  But the next year, they decided to continue their new tradition and I was invited to get in on the fun.

Ok, so you know how there are people who just naturally amazing at everything they try to do?

I am not one of those people.

I am, however, excellent at getting bunny ears in family photos...

...but that's neither here nor there.

Otherwise, I'm typically awful at anything that requires coordination, skill, or athletic ability - especially if I have never tried it before, or it's been years since the last time I've done it.

And I hadn't played any beer pong since I was in college.  So needless to say, I was not helping Team Gopher (Mr. V's tribute to the gopher from Caddyshack) much at all.

Thankfully Mr. Vittles is one of those people, and he is still pretty good at the game.  I was able to hit a few cups, but he basically 'carried' our team to victory that year.

Mr. Vittles & I : Team Gopher, 2008 Champs

The next year, I played a little better, but so did everyone else! So were unable to duplicate our success and we lost to "Team Blackout," which consisted of my brother & sister-in-law:

C. Ochovittles and Mel V : Team Blackout, 2009 Champs

Now as you can see, some teams made homemade shirts in the past, but this year, my in-laws bought us all fun t-shirts for the big game.  They picked ones that fit our personality, which was hilarious.  Like, Mr. V's said "On your mark, get set, go AWAY."

(He's a real people person.)

And in honor of Vittles and Bits, mine said "Food Fight" with cartoons of food items duking it out.

They also bought us stick-on mustaches... not for any particular reason, but because they're just cool.

2010 Competitors

Now in past years, I would just haphazardly chuck the ball and hope it landed somewhere near the cups.  I also couldn't get enough of an arc on my throws for the ball to drop nicely into the cup.

So with these problems in mind, this year I decided it was time to concentrate a little harder. And it actually paid off.  I not only hit a number of cups during our games, I also managed to hit the very last (i.e. hardest) cup in 3 out of 4 of our games.

Competition was pretty stiff, so our last game went into overtime (thanks to me, if you can believe it!)  But in the end, Mr. V locked it up and we went home with our second trophies AND championship shirts.

2010 Champs

So, now that you know what beer pong is and how fun it can be, maybe you and your family will decide to play a New Year's Eve tournament? So let's talk about a nice hearty breakfast for you in the morning.

I am not usually a fan of french toast casserole (from my post on Puffed French Toast, you already know I like it to have some crunch!), but I think this Crème Brûlée French Toast is absolutely delicious.

Actually, this is my own new Christmas tradition.  A few years ago, I started having my mom and my stepdad over Christmas morning for breakfast, and that's when I made this for the first time.  It was a hit, so I've made it every year since.

This year, my stepdad came over with my stepbrother Garrett Vittles and we had a delicious french toast breakfast with bacon and melon.

It's nice because it's prepared ahead of time and can feed a number of people (although that number depends on how much each of your guests can eat!).  And between the powdered sugar on top and the caramel on the bottom, it's sweet enough that you don't have to use syrup if you don't want to.

Crème Brûlée French Toast

Note: this is a casserole best made the night before & then baked the next morning
  • 1 loaf challah or brioche, sliced in 1 1/2" thick slices (discard ends of loaf or reserve for other use)
  • 1/2 C. butter (1 stick)
  • 1 C. packed brown sugar
  • 2 T. corn syrup
  • 5 large eggs
  • 3/4 C. heavy cream
  • 3/4 C. milk
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • 1/4 t. salt
  • optional:  
    • 2 t. Grand Marnier or Cointreau
    • powdered sugar & cinnamon, for dusting 
Grease a 9x13 baking dish.  In small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter with corn syrup & brown sugar.  Stir together until sugar is melted & mixture begins to bubble.  Pour into prepared baking dish.

Arrange bread slices in single layer on top of caramel mixture, squeezing edges slightly to fit.  In a large bowl, whisk eggs, cream, milk, vanilla, salt & liquor, if using.  Pour mixture over bread.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap & refrigerate overnight, or at least 8 hours, up to 1 day.

When ready to bake, let dish stand at room temperature 20 minutes and preheat oven 350 degrees.  Bake 30-40 minutes until golden & puffed.  Serve with powdered sugar and/or cinnamon on top, if desired.

Recipe Adapted Slightly from Gourmet, at


  1. I love a french toast that can be made the night before and baked in the morning. Usually I make one for Christmas. Chullah is the best bread ever for french toast! I will have to give your recipe a try soon. Thanks for posting!

  2. Oh my! This sounds amazing. And really easy actually. Thanks for the idea:)

  3. French toast is exactly what I need after last night! Thank you! :) Happy New Year!

  4. my family plays beer pong at pretty much any gathering of more then 2 people and we never get awesome shirts! That casserole sounds super yummy and I have some brioche calling my name.

  5. I am so familiar with beer pong and so is my ping pong table (covered in beer), missing shot glasses and walls (spattered in beer). It's I think a popular game amongst students here. I've actually tried the game a couple of times, I can see why it is so compelling. On to the french toast, love it! especially with the grand marnier.


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