French Toast with Candied Bacon and Cherry Bourbon Syrup
Earlier this year, Susan and I traveled just outside of Houston Texas to book a new location for our food conference MIXED. We visited The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center last year and loved it so much that we knew it would be a great location for our conference, we just needed to iron out the details.
What better way than to do that with a little girls trip that included a side stop at The Houston Rodeo (you know I love those boys, boots, buckles and bulls). If you follow us on Instagram you saw all the amazing FOOD and fun we had, and we didn’t even get into any trouble. Nope. Not us.
While we were at The Woodlands Resort we dined at their upscale Steakhouse, Robard’s. It was nothing short of spectacular. They put more food in front of us than we could eat. We pretty much waddled back to our room and crashed at 9pm. I kid you not. Everything from the decor, to the waitstaff to the food was simply incredible.
The one thing that was unexpected and I knew I wanted to recreate was one of the many appetizers we sampled. Everyone we talked to about the restaurant insisted we try this particular appetizer. You’re probably going to cock your head to the side when you hear French Toast. I did the same. Yes, French Toast as an appetizer no less. I was so confused but hey I’ll try just about anything once.
After the first bite, my eyes pretty much rolled back into my head. All those flavors (yes there’s a lot going on in there) just work. It’s so good it makes you want to slap your Momma. Not that I would ever do that. But seriously you need this in your life. It is the BEST French Toast I’ve ever had. Hands down. Put a fork in it. You know you want to.
I’ll be making this often and certainly will be having this again while I’m staying at The Woodlands Resort in Texas in October, probably every day. Okay every day who am I kidding with the probably. Now, if you didn’t know about our food conference Mixed (you might live under a rock, kidding, maybe), it’s October 2-4.
There are still tickets available and we’d love to have you join us. It’s one giant learning sleepover party. We have a line up of seriously talented speakers, big wig sponsors, parties and activities to keep you going all weekend long. You know how much we love a good party. Want to join us? Did I mention the resort has a lazy river?
If you come early you’ll find me floating around on it all day. Probably with a frozen drink in my hand.
Recipe provided and printed with permission from Robard’s Steakhouse at The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center.
What You Will Need:
- 4 ounces bourbon
- 1/2 cup dry tart cherries
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup apple juice
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon orange zest
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 4 slices applewood bacon
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 large eggs 2 - beaten
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extracts
- dash freshly grated cinnamon
- dash freshly grated nutmeg
- 8 -1" thick bias cut slices of Challah bread
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- gorgonzola cheese
What To Do:
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and a baking rack and set aside.
- Into a large saute pan over medium heat add: bourbon, cherries, sugar, apple juice, maple syrup, orange zest and pepper. Mix to combine. Simmer until syrup is reduced by 1/3. Set aside.
- WHILE syrup is cooking, place bacon slices onto rack. In a small bowl mix together Dijon and brown sugar. Using a silicon pastry brush, brush mixture on bacon. Sprinkle thyme and red pepper flakes onto bacon. Bake for approximately 15-25 minutes or until to desired doneness.
- Into a large shallow dish add: eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk to combine. Set aside.
- When ready to assemble. Place slices of challah into milk mixture. Allow to soak on both sides.
- Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat. Add butter. Cook slices (in batches)
- Cook slowly until light brown, flip and continue cooking until firm.
- Transfer to plate. Top with slices of candied bacon and crumbled Gorgonzola cheese, add cherry syrup.
**PLEASE BEFORE YOU ENTER, make sure you are available to attend (October 2-4 at The Woodlands Resort & Conference Center in The Woodlands TEXAS) and that you understand you are responsible for your travel, hotel accommodations and incidentals ** GIVEAWAY! FREE CONFERENCE TICKET!
1 conference ticket to Mixed! Value $199. Conference ticket includes admission to all sessions, parties and meals during the conference schedule and you get to hang out with us. Serious bonus points there ; ) To ENTER: All you need to do to be entered is leave a comment telling me you’d like to attend. That’s it. Rules and Regulations: Contest runs from August 26 – September 2, 2015 . Persons who have purchased conference tickets to this year’s conference are not eligible for free ticket. You must be 18 years of age or older to enter. One winner will be randomly selected and notified via email. Winner has 48 hours to reply to claim ticket or prize will be forfeited. If ticket is not claimed within that time frame an alternate winner will be drawn. Odds of winning depend on number of entries.
This French toast looks so good. I can’t believe it was an appetizer! I know mixed will be awesome again this year too, how exciting!
Anna @ Crunchy Creamy Sweet says
This is what French toast dreams are made of! Woah! This looks amazing!
Ginny McMeans says
French Bread heaven. Love this with Challah bread!
The Food Hunter says
I’m all over the cherry bourbon syrup!
Marjory @ Dinner-Mom says
This is one good looking French toast. Too bad I can’t travel to Texas this year. Sounds like a nice conference!
You had me at candied bacon, although the whole thing sounds amazing! Can’t wait to try it.
Lauren Kelly Nutrition says
Absolutely perfect, the french toast and the amazing syrup!
Carrie @Frugal Foodie Mama says
So first of all- whoa! A french toast appetizer?? These sounds absolutely amazing! 🙂 And I am sorting dying a little on the inside right now because I so wanted to attend Mixed this year, but my husband might lose his sanity if I go out of town any more this year, lol. I loved Mixed last year. You all were my first ever in-person conference.
Michelle @ A Dish of Daily Life says
That french toast looks amazing! The Woodlands is such a great place…I went there for a conference years ago and it was awesome! We had such a good time! I would love to go!
Maryanne @ the little epicurean says
That cherry bourbon syrup sounds absolutely amazing. I want to drizzle it on everything… oatmeal, ice cream, grilled peaches!
Nora B says
I’d love to go!
This french toast looks amazing. Cherry bourbon syrup? Candied bacon…. YES PLEASE!
I’d love to enter the giveaway and see you at Mixed but I can’t make it in October! Bummed!
French Toast Heaven oh my gorgeous!!
Jaren (Diary of a Recipe Collector) says
This looks so decadent and delicious! I live close to the Woodlands and would love to go!
Meredith in sock monkey slippers says
I can’t wait to try this when I get to the conference!
Renee - Kudos Kitchen says
Your ingredient list for this recipe is fantastic! Maple syrup, mustard, Gorgonzola, cherries, apple juice (just to name a few)…and it looks amazing!
Martha @ A Family Feast says
Looking forward to meeting you in October Paula! (I may have to sneak out of a session and check out that restaurant – just to try this ‘appetizer’!)
Michelle @ The Complete Savorist says
This looks delicious. I have never had French Toast made with Challah bread…I would so love to attend this conference. I used to live in Spring, just next to The Woodlands and spent much time there. I miss Texas in general.
Hey Chica! I can’t wait to go! I want a ticket!
Jessica (Savory Experiments) says
These looks seriously amazing! I wish I was joining you at Mixed this year, but my sister is getting married that weekend 🙁
Michele Bobe says
Would love to attend Mixed!
Heather at Kitchen Concoctions says
That Cherry Bourbon Syrup sounds amazing! And I’ve always heard good things about the Mixed Conference! Sounds like a great opportunity to learn and network!
I. want. to. come.
BTW. I read the post and was thinking ‘go to conference’ then kept reading and it said: ‘What you will need: 4 ounces bourbon.’
Need I say more?
Maria Martinez says
I would love to attend your conference. Do you still doing the giveaway? I am actually a baking and pastry student at one of the local culinary arts school in Houston.