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Stuffed French Toast

1 tub (8 oz.) whipped cream cheese
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
3 tsp. ground cinnamon, divided
1-1/2 tsp. vanilla extract, divided
16 slices Italian bread (1/2 inch thick)
1/2 cup apricot preserves or jam
5 eggs
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp. butter, divided

Mix cream cheese, brown sugar, 2 tsp. cinnamon and 1 tsp. vanilla in small bowl until well-blended. Spread 2 Tbsp. cream cheese mixture on each of 8 slices bread. Spread 1 Tbsp. preserves on remaining 8 slices of bread. Press one each of the bread slices together to form 8 sandwiches. Beat eggs with wire whisk in 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Stir in milk, remaining 1 tsp. cinnamon, and remaining 1/2 tsp. vanilla until well-blended. Dip sandwiches in egg mixture, soaking for 2 minutes on each side. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in large nonstick skillet or griddle on medium-low heat. Place 4 sandwiches in skillet. Cook 4 to 5 minutes per side or until golden brown. Repeat with remaining sandwiches, melting remaining Tbsp. butter in skillet. Serve French toast with maple syrup, if desired. Makes 8 servings.

 


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