If you're typically a breakfast purist who enjoys nothing more than a bowl of fat free yogurt sprinkled with toasted what germ first thing in the morning, this may not be the dish for you -- then again, it just might be! The truth is, it's a special breakfast, not meant for every day (even for those of us who don't gravitate to yogurt and wheat germ), but for an Occasion. You know, like having friends over on a Sunday morning, or seducing a new mate. The croissants develop almost unbelievably crisp edges when they're dipped in egg and milk and then fried in butter. I put some fresh orange zest and juice into the batter for the croissants, and then a little Cointreau in with the syrup to keep the orange theme going. A little mascarpone on top is optional, but highly recommended. —Merrill Stubbs
Using a serrated knife, carefully slice each croissant in half and set aside.
Whisk together the eggs, orange zest and juice, vanilla and milk in a large shallow pan or bowl. Meanwhile, warm the maple syrup in a small saucepan and stir in the Cointreau.
Set a large heavy skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon of the butter. When it starts to foam, dip two of the croissant halves briefly in the egg and milk mixture, turning to coat both sides. (Do not leave them in the liquid, as they will become soggy.) Add them to the pan and cook, flipping once, until golden brown on both sides. Transfer to a plate and keep covered in a warm oven while you repeat with the rest of the croissants. Serve the french toast with the syrup, topping with a dollop of mascarpone if you like.