I received a bottle of Nielsen Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste. With it I created very vanilla french toast bake with butter pecan topping. All opinions are my own.
In all honesty, I have never before used vanilla bean paste. It’s been a long time since I’ve even used a vanilla bean. I tend to stick with pure vanilla extract, and none of that imitation stuff. So when I was given the chance to work with Nielsen Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste, I jumped at the opportunity. I love making overnight breakfast dishes, including my overnight nutty coffee cake. I had a loaf of french bread I needed to use so this very vanilla french toast bake with butter pecan topping came to life.
A Few Thoughts About Nielsen Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste
- It’s thick. Very thick. Just looking at it you may think you should use less than if you were using pure vanilla extract. Not so. You can substitute pure vanilla bean paste for vanilla extract at a 1 to 1 ratio. Meaning if your recipe calls for 1 teaspoon of extract, you would use 1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste.
- I would consider this more of a syrup than a paste. The consistency has a bit of flow whereas when I think of a paste I think more of a solid rather than liquid.
- The aroma is intoxicating, in a delicious way. There are so many ways to use an ingredient. Add it to milkshakes, smoothies, baked goods, even your morning coffee.
- Pure vanilla bean paste is not as intimidating to work with as I originally thought. Find out for yourself and enter to win a bottle at the bottom of this post.
My family thoroughly enjoyed this breakfast dish. It would be absolutely perfect for any holiday or when overnight guests come to visit. It’s best made with day old bread and a loaf of French or Cuban bread would is ideal. While dinner cooks, whip up this dish and place in the refrigerator until morning when you are ready to bake. Be sure to let the butter for the topping soften on the counter overnight. If you really wanted to, you could whip up the topping in advance as well but it does need to be softened to spread on top of the bread before baking. Is this the healthiest dish for you? No, not at all, but we all need a little indulgence once in a while.
- 1 loaf French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
- 8 large eggs
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste
Butter Pecan Topping
- 1 ½ sticks butter, softened
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup chopped pecans
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 ½ teaspoons Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste
- Maple syrup, if desired for serving
- Powdered sugar for dusting.
- Slice French bread into 1-inch each. Arrange slices in a buttered 9 by 12-inch baking dish in 2 rows, fitting the slices as best as you can.
- In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar and Nielsen-Massey vanilla bean paste and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are soaked evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
- The next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove casserole from the refrigerator and allow to warm up a bit before putting into the oven.
- Prepare Butter Pecan Topping:
- Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well.
- Spread Butter Pecan Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 - 50 minutes, until puffed and golden.
- Dust with powdered sugar. Serve with maple syrup, if desired.
Inactive time is overnight or about 6 to 8 hours.