BAKED CARAMEL-PECAN FRENCH TOAST
1 cup packed brown sugar
6 tbsp butter or margarine
1/3 cup whipping cream
1 tbsp real maple syrup or light corn syrup
1 cup pecan halves
1/2 cup half-and-half
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
8 diagonally cut slices (3/4 inch thick) French bread
Spray 13x9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In 2-quart saucepan, mix all topping ingredients except pecans. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until smooth. DO NOT BOIL. Spread topping in baking dish; sprinkle with pecans.
In shallow bowl, beat eggs with fork. Add half-and-half, cinnamon and vanilla; beat until well blended. Dip bread slices into egg mixture, making sure all egg mixture is absorbed; arrange bread slices over topping in dish. Cover; refrigerate 8 hours or overnight.
Heat oven to 400°F. Uncover baking dish; bake 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and toast is golden brown. Cool 3 minutes. Place large heatproof serving platter upside down over baking dish; turn platter and baking dish over. Remove baking dish, scraping any extra caramel topping onto French toast. Serve immediately.