When you cook a complete brunch (sausage, French toast, fruit topping and all) on two sheet pans, you say goodbye to juggling multiple pans and timers. This recipe is easy enough that the kids can help make it, but elegant enough to make it feel special. Plus, cleanup is a breeze.
Position the oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat to 350ºF.
Whisk the eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon salt together in a medium bowl until combined. Line two 18-by-13-inch sheet pans with parchment paper or nonstick foil.
Brush one prepared pan with 2 tablespoons butter. Arrange the bread slices on it so the bottom is completely covered (2 rows of 4 slices lengthwise, and the remaining 2 slices cut in half and arranged at the bottom). Pour the egg mixture over each slice and let sit in the mixture for 5 minutes. Flip the slices and let soak until the batter is almost completely absorbed by the bread, about 5 minutes more. Brush the tops with the remaining 2 tablespoons butter.
Remove 4 strips of zest from the orange using a vegetable peeler, avoiding as much of the white pith as possible. Toss together the cherries, orange zest, remaining 2 tablespoons brown sugar and remaining 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg in a small baking dish and place on the second sheet pan along one of the short ends (it will take up about a third of the pan). Toss the almonds, syrup and remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt in a small bowl until the almonds are coated. Spread the almonds on another third of the pan next to the baking dish. Arrange the sausage patties on the remaining third of the pan.
Bake the French toast on the bottom rack and the sausage, cherries and almonds on the top rack until the French toast is puffed and beginning to brown and the almonds are golden brown, 20 to 25 minutes. Remove the sheet pan with the sausage, cherries and almonds from the oven. Transfer the pan with the French toast to the top rack, increase the heat to high broil, and broil, rotating the pan halfway through, until the top of the toast is golden brown, 2 to 4 minutes. Check the toast every 30 seconds so that it doesn’t get too dark! Serve the toast topped with the crumbled almond brittle, roasted cherries and a drizzle of syrup, and sausage on the side.