Peanut Butter and Jelly Stuffed Panettone French Toast

This is the second part of a post related to my receiving several food products from FoodBuzz's Taste Maker Program (that's the group I belong to on Food Buzz, my gracious blog sponsor.)  A month or so ago I received two large packages of panettone bread; one I used in a lightened version of panettone pumpkin bread pudding, the other panettone I froze for a future use.  I also received two jars of Planters Peanut butter, with which I made my Healthy Elvis Banana, Chocolate and Peanut Butter Muffins; a lightened version of Tofu Satay Noodles and my latest creation, a combination of Peanut Butter and Panettone French Toast.  It's holiday or special occasion brunch fare.  

This is not the healthiest recipe that I've ever created but it's not as bad for you as it could be...I tried to take smart healthy steps in its creation.  I substituted light cream cheese for the filling; I used more egg whites than whole eggs. It's baked, not pan fried and the butter used is Smart Balance Light.  Small smart steps to make this a bit less of a guilty pleasure.  It's the little things that count, right?   

The panettone was sliced into eight slices, stuffed with a filling of light cream cheese, peanut butter and homemade grape jelly (local grapes from my neighbor's grape arbor that I made with less sugar and cooked down to a deep purple, thick almost molasses-like consistency).  The custard that I made to pour over the bread was made using mostly egg whites and non-fat milk, a tablespoon of sugar and pure vanilla extract.  Bake the French toast in a deep dish, 9x13 baking dish, sprayed or lightly coated with cooking spray or light butter.  To complete the French toast, the syrup for it should compliment the  breakfast dish - I made a peanut butter, jelly and maple syrup drizzle for it.  Gilding the lily as it were.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Stuffed Panettone French Toast Ingredients:
  • 1 Large Panettone Bread
  • 1/2 Cup Light Cream Cheese - softened and brought to room temperature
  • 1/2 Cup Peanut Butter - creamy style
  • 2 Tablespoons Grape Jam (best quality)
  • 1 Cup Non-Fat Milk
  • 4 Eggs: 2 whole eggs and 2 Egg Whites - beatened
  • 1 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Pinch of Salt
  • 9x13 baking dish
  • Cooking Spray or Light Butter - for greasing baking dish
For Peanut Butter and Jelly Maple Syrup:
  • 1/2 Cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tablespoons Peanut Butter
  • 1 Tablespoon Grape Jam
  • 1 Tablespoon Light Butter
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.  Grease a 9 x 13 baking dish with cooking spray or light butter, set aside.
  2. Make the Peanut butter filling: In a microwave safe bowl, warm the peanut butter until it's pourable.  Mix the warmed peanut butter into the softened cream cheese and whisk to combine it thoroughly.  Whisk in the grape jelly until fully incorporated.  Set aside.
  3. Slice the Panettone Bread into eight large slices.  Lay four of the slices down into the baking pan.
  4. Make the custard: In a mixing bowl, beat the two whole eggs and the two egg whites with the granulated sugar, vanilla extract and pinch of salt, until the sugar dissolves, then whisk in the non-fat milk and beat until the mixture is frothy .  
  5. Pour 1/2 of the custard over the panettone bread slices in the baking pan, moving the pan back and forth to make sure the custard gets in between the bread slices, on top and on the bottom.  Make sure the panettone absorbs all the custard.  
  6. Next, carefully spread the peanut butter filling onto the four slices of bread, then top this with the four remaining slices of panettone bread.  Pour the remaining custard over the top of the final four panettone bread slices.  
  7. Bake the French Toast in the preheated 350 degree oven for 35 to 45 minutes.  Cool 15 to 20 minutes before slicing and serving.  Makes 8 servings, 1/2 of each panettone "sandwich". Will hold refrigerated and covered for up to 3 days.  Reheats best in the oven, covered with aluminum foil.
  8. Make the Peanut Butter and Jelly Maple Syrup while the French toast is baking.  In a microwave safe bowl or measuring cup, combine the 1/2 cup of maple syrup, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, tablespoon of grape jelly and tablespoon of light butter.  Heat in the microwave for one minute, stir to combine and reheat for another 30 seconds when ready to pour over the French Toast.  Syrup will hold for up to 1 week, refrigerated and tightly covered.  Reheat for 35 seconds to mix and pour over French toast, waffles or pancakes.

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