This decadent riff on French toast never fails to be a hit—plus, it can be made the night before so all you need to do in the morning is pop it in the oven. You can also serve it with regular maple syrup, but the buttered rum adds a delicious, complex flavor that finishes the dish to perfection. —Lynda Marren
The Night Before: Place croissants in a large food processor and roughly chop croissants into ½-inch each pieces. Avoid creating crumbs. Set 1½ cups of chopped croissants aside. Transfer remaining croissants to a well-greased 9x13-inch pan.
Wipe croissant crumbs from food processor with a paper towel (it’s ok if some crumbs remain). Add cream cheese, butter, and 1/2 cup maple syrup. Purée until mixture is combined. Transfer cream cheese mixture to a heavy gallon Ziploc bag. Cut a hole in one corner of the bag, using a pastry tip if possible, and pipe cream cheese evenly over croissants.
Combine eggs, remaining maple syrup and half & half in a large bowl. Whisk to combine well. Slowly pour mixture over the cream cheese mixture.
Sprinkle remaining 1½ cups of chopped croissants over entire casserole, assuring cream cheese spots are covered.
Combine ½ cup powdered sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl and sprinkle over the top of the croissants. Cover and refrigerate at least 6 hours, or overnight if possible.
When Ready to Serve: Preheat oven to 350°. Bake French Toast covered with foil for 30 minutes. Remove foil and cook 30 minutes more. Note that the soufflé will rise as it cooks.
Let soufflé rest on counter at least 20 minutes before serving to set the cream cheese mixture.
Make Buttered Rum Syrup: In small saucepan, warm rum and bring to low boil to cook off the alcohol.
Whisk in butter and syrup. Reduce heat to low and stir until butter is melted and syrup comes together.
Sprinkle soufflé with pecans and remaining powdered sugar if desired. Serve with warm syrup or buttered rum syrup.