First things first: Have something ready to hand your guests as they walk into the room. A cup of coffee, a festive mimosa…maybe a bite of something in case someone has been out for a 15-mile run before coming over. (Yes, I do have friends who do that.
Especially if they’re preparing for a marathon—or they have an idea that today’s menu will be caloric. And I’m here to tell you, this is not diet food!) We picked up some mini quiches at Costco to heat and serve. While we were there, we also bought a dozen croissants for the filled French toast. And, oh yeah, a tub of soft cream cheese. It’s true, Costco is the land of giants, but, boy, is it a great resource when you’re planning to feed a crowd.
The nice thing about this menu is that most of it can be prepared before your guests arrive, even the bacon (which we bake).
Mimosas, coffee or orange juice
Mini quiche appetizers
Filled French Toast
Start by assembling the French toast:
2 cups softened cream cheese
1 1/2 cups cherry preserves
2 ½ cups milk
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
4 tablespoons sugar
Split the croissants. Spread each one with about a quarter cup of soft cream cheese; top with about three tablespoons of cherry preserves. (But if you prefer strawberry or raspberry preserves, go for it.) Press the halves together again. Place the croissants close together, so they are touching, in an 11×15-inch baking dish. (If you don’t have a baking dish that big, use two 8×8 square ones. Just be sure the croissants are packed together closely.)
Lightly beat the eggs, then stir in the sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and milk. Pour over the croissants. At this point you can put the pan in the fridge for an hour, until the last of your guests escape the freeway and arrive, hungry and cranky. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Give everybody a mimosa or coffee and then put the croissants in the oven to bake for about 30 minutes, until the egg stuff is cooked through. Pass syrup and powdered sugar for those who like their French toast nice and sweet.
We made a cinnamon-flavored syrup to pick up on the cinnamon in the French toast:
1 cup water
2 cups sugar
two cinnamon sticks
Bring the water and sugar to a boil, stir until the sugar dissolves. Add the cinnamon sticks and simmer for about five minutes. You can make this earlier and set it aside to steep. Rewarm and remove the cinnamon sticks when you’re ready to serve.
You don’t want to make syrup? Pick up something that looks yummy, maybe a berry-flavored syrup.