Apricot Brandy and Almond Baked French Toast

After a few days spent recovering from graduation festivities, we’re finally ready to post the final component of our goodbye brunch – a delicious and mildly alcoholic baked French toast that we’re proud to have come up with ourselves (mostly!). The inspiration comes from Smitten Kitchen’s boozy baked French toast, but since we already doused our sorbet in kahlua (Smitten Kitchen’s booze of choice), we decided to try ours with almonds and apricot brandy.

You may be unfamiliar with apricot brandy, but we know it from such things as the apricot brandy sour, a drink that’s quite popular among friends. Apricot brandy is actually very tasty and light, perfect for fluffy, soft French toast. Since baked French toast soaks overnight and cooks in the oven in the morning, we just added a bit of the brandy to our soaking mixture and let the flavor seep through. We added layers of almond slivers between the layers of toast, and served it with (your choice of) powdered sugar or berry topping.

1 loaf Challah, brioche, or thick Italian bread, cut int0 1-inch slices,
3 cups whole milk
3 eggs
3 tbsp apricot brandy
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup almonds
powdered sugar (optional)

(for berry topping)
2 cups frozen berries of your choice (we chose mixed)
1/2 cup granulated sugar (or to taste)

Grease a 9×13-inch baking dish. Arrange one layer of bread tightly in the pan, sprinkle with half of the almonds. Arrange the second layer on top, and sprinkle with remaining almonds.
Whisk together milk, eggs, sugar, salt, brandy and vanilla, and pour over the bread. Wrap the baking dish tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, bake at 425 for 30 minutes, or until puffed and golden. To make berry topping, combine berries and sugar in a saucepan. Bring to a soft boil, then simmer for an additional 5-10 minutes. You can mash the berries to your desired consistency. Serve toast with powdered sugar, berry topping, or both.