Pumpkin French Toast with Coffee-Dusted Pecans

Coffee-Dusted Pecans:
1/2 cup pecans
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 teaspoon ground coffee
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons bourbon whiskey
Pinch cinnamon
Pinch salt 

French Toast: 
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup pumpkin puree, plus 2 tbls 
3 tablespoons light or dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
1/4 teaspoon fresh orange zest 
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pinch of ground ginger 
Pinch salt 
1 loaf of challah or bread of choice, cut into 1-inch slices

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a baking dish, toss together the pecans, butter, brown sugar, bourbon, cinnamon and salt. Roast the pecans for 10-15 minutes, until lightly golden brown and toasted. Cool the pecans until you're able to handle them. Chop up the pecans until finely chopped and set aside. 

2. In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, pumpkin puree, brown sugar, vanilla, orange zest, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. 

3. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees. Place a wire rack on a baking sheet and transfer both to the oven. 

4. Preheat your cast iron skillet or griddle over medium heat. Brush the surface with butter or vegetable oil. (I like to do a little bit of both.) When melted or hot, place a slice of bread in the milk mixture, allowing it to soak for about a minute. Flip it over and allow to soak for 30-40 seconds more. Quickly transfer the slice of soaked bread to the hot skillet and cook on each side for 2-3 minutes, until lightly golden brown. Transfer the french toast slice to the oven to keep warm. Give the skillet a wipe and repeat with butter or oil. Repeat the dipping of bread, soaking and cooking. Sprinkle the French toast with the pecans. Serve warm with maple syrup. 

Makes 6 slices French toast; Serves 4