French Toast with Bourbon Apple Caramel Sauce

Weekends are made better with a homemade breakfast, and this brioche brunch treat doesn’t disappoint. Chef William Kovel of Catalyst offers up a comforting and classic French toast with a burst of bourbon bite. It’s the perfect chance to use some of those apples you have on hand (hello, fall apple-picking!). Serve with a warm cup of coffee for a truly indulgent morning. If you’d rather head out for brunch, check out Catalyst’s revamped brunch menu.


for the batter:
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup cream
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 2 thick slices of brioche
  • Extra butter for cooking
for the sauce:
  • 2 apples
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 oz. bourbon
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh squeezed lemon juice


  1. Whisk the milk, cream, egg yolks, vanilla extract and spices together, and pour into a shallow roasting pan or tupperware (any container big enough to comfortably hold the sliced bread).
  2. Add the sliced brioche, and allow to soak for 5-10 minutes — just enough time for the custard to soak through the brioche without falling apart.
  3. Peel the apples, and cut into 8 even slices.
  4. Add the butter and sugar with a splash of cold water into a sauce pan. Cook over medium-high heat until the mixture comes together, looks creamy and the edges are beginning to turn golden brown.
  5. Add the vanilla extract and bourbon, letting the alcohol cook off for 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add the apples and cook until softened (about 4-5 minutes). Finish with the lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
  7. Heat a saute pan over medium heat. Add a generous nub of butter. (Chef's note: you'll know that the pan is hot enough if the butter starts to melt and become foamy almost immediately. If the butter starts to brown, the pan is too hot).
  8. Gently add the bread to the foamy butter and cook for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown. Then flip. Repeat until both sides are nicely browned. Remove from pan.
  9. Place the French toast on a plate and top with the apples and remaining caramel sauce. Voila!

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