Cranberry-Mascarpone Stuffed French Toast

The tart, aromatic flavors and vibrant colors of this reinvented French toast are guaranteed to perk up a cold morning. And it's ready in minutes.

CRANBERRY-MASCARPONE STUFFED FRENCH TOAST

Filling
1 (12-oz.) pkg. fresh cranberries
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated orange peel
3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 (8-oz.) container mascarpone cheese, softened*

French Toast
8 slices egg bread, such as brioche or challah
6 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Powdered sugar for sprinkling
1 orange, sliced for garnish

1. Combine cranberries and sugar in large saucepan. Cover; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Uncover; cook 4 to 6 minutes or until cranberries are tender, stirring occasionally and adjusting heat if necessary. Stir in orange peel; cool. Reserve 1/2 cup of the cranberry mixture; stir in maple syrup.

2. Spread each bread slice with about 2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese. Spoon 1/4 cup of the remaining cranberry filling over 4 of the slices. Top with remaining bread, cheese-side down, to form sandwich; gently press together. Whisk eggs and vanilla in large shallow bowl.

3. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in large nonstick skillet or griddle over medium heat until foamy. Dip 2 of the French toasts in egg mixture coating both sides; place in skillet. Cook 6 to 8 minutes or until golden brown, turning once and adding additional butter if necessary. Repeat with remaining French toast. Sprinkle with powdered sugar; garnish with orange slices. Serve with reserved cranberry sauce.

4 servings

PER SERVING: 850 calories, 48 g total fat (25 g saturated fat), 17 g protein, 89.5 g carbohydrate, 415 mg cholesterol, 255 mg sodium, 6 g fiber

TIP *Mascarpone cheese is a double- or triple-cream cheese from Italy. Look for it in the dairy or specialty cheese section of the supermarket or in Italian markets. If unavailable, substitute cream cheese.

Timesaver Tip
To save time in the morning, make the filling for the stuffed French toast the night before (or up to 3 days ahead). Or, use leftover cranberry sauce, adding a little grated orange peel.