In a small bowl, beat together the butter, maple syrup, orange zest, brown sugar, and salt until well combined. Use immediately or store in the refrigerator.
Preheat your oven to 200F and place a baking sheet on the middle rack.
In a large shallow dish or baking pan, whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, maple syrup, orange zest, cinnamon, and salt together and set aside. Scatter the crispy rice cereal into a smaller shallow dish and set aside.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and place four slices of bread into the egg mixture, allowing them to soak for 20 to 30 seconds per side. Once soaked, press the bread into the cereal, flipping once so that each side is well coated. When ready to fry, melt 1 tablespoon of butter with a little splash of canola oil in the pan and cook the cereal-coated French toast until golden brown on each side.
Place the French toast on the baking sheet in the oven to keep warm and continue preparing the remaining slices of bread. Cook in the remaining butter and a splash of oil until golden. Transfer to the sheet in the oven to keep warm until ready to serve.