Thursday, March 26, 2020

Take a Virtual Vacation with Justin's Nut Butters...Featuring Tropical Cashew-Pineapple French Toast Casserole #brunchgoals #eatathome #pineapple #cashewbutter #frenchtoast's the at-home social distancing during the pandemic going on your end? It's certainly easy to get frustrated and bored if you don't have plenty of activities to keep you busy. I've been spending time in the kitchen over the past week creating comforting dishes for my family! One of things I miss most while social distancing is travel. Luckily, we spent a week in Atlanta and Savannah last month before the pandemic hit hard...but we had to postpone a trip to Lafayette, Louisiana, this past weekend. With today's recipe, I can enjoy all the flavors of a tropical vacation from the safety of home! I used decadent Justin's Classic Cashew Butter, coconut milk, and pineapple to create my Tropical Cashew-Pineapple French Toast Casserole for Sunday brunch. 

If you love French toast, you'll flip for this easy baked casserole version. The base is cubes of sweet Hawaiian bread sandwiched with Justin's Classic Cashew Butter. The bread cubes are soaked in a custard made with maple syrup, eggs, and coconut milk. The finished casserole is topped with a quick-cook pineapple compote flavored with cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup and a touch of butter...and some chopped cashews for crunch. The texture of the finished product is similar to bread pudding. You might not be able to hop a plane to a tropical beach at the moment...but this brunch dish will let you enjoy a bit of tropical flavor!

Tropical Cashew-Pineapple French Toast Casserole 
a Weekend Gourmet Original
Ingredients (makes six servings)
  • 8 slices Hawaiian bread
  • 8 tbs. Justin's Classic Cashew Butter
  • 1.5 cups coconut milk
  • 5 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp. rum extract
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 4 tbs. chopped cashews<
For the pineapple compote:
  • 10-ounce package frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 2 tbs. butter
Step 1: Preheat oven to 375℉. Butter the bottom and sides of an 8x8 baking dish. Place four slices of Hawaiian bread on your work surface. Spread 2 tbs. of the Justin's Classic Cashew Butter on the bread slices. Top with the remaining four slices of Hawaiian bread to make four sandwiches. Cut the sandwiches into cubes. Evenly layer the cubes in the buttered baking dish.
Step 2: Add the coconut milk, maple syrup, eggs, vanilla and rum extracts, and cinnamon to a mixing bowl. Whisk until completely incorporated. Evenly spoon the custard mixture over the bread cubes in the baking dish. Let the casserole sit for 15 minutes so the custard is mostly absorbed into the bread cubes. Sprinkled additional cinnamon on top and bake for 30 minutes.
Step 3: While the French toast casserole bakes, make the pineapple compote. Add the pineapple, maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla to a saucepan over med-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to med-low. Cook until the pineapple caramelizes and releases its juice -- about 15 minutes -- stirring occasionally. Turn off the heat and stir in the butter until it melts and is incorporated into the compote.
Step 4: Let the baked French toast casserole cool for 15 minutes before serving -- this will make it much easier to cleanly remove from the baking dish! To serve, cut the casserole into six squares. Top each serving with some of the pineapple compote and chopped cashews.
Everyone went crazy for this dish! The Justin's Classic Cashew Butter provides the perfect amount of nutty flavor...and the lightly sweet custard base has a very subtle coconut flavor from the coconut milk. The warm pineapple topping is buttery, with warmth from the cinnamon...and plenty of vanilla and maple flavors too. Don't forget the chopped cashews sprinkled on top...they add a nutty crunch. 

All I can say is MAKE THIS NOW! Every bite is like a beachfront vacation...without leaving your house. No cashew butter or pineapple on hand, you say? No problem! This brunch dish is very flexible to use whatever nut butter and fruit you have on hand in your quarantine kitchen. You can easily sub in your favorite peanut or almond butter...and use apples or bananas in place of pineapple in the topping. Add some bacon and/or sausage and you've also got a fabulous breakfast-for-dinner option! The combinations are endless...and flexibility is vital when you're spending your time time inside. 

Disclosure: Justin's sent me a sampler of their nut butters to facilitate recipe development for this feature. All opinions shared are solely my own.

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