5.15.2011

French Toast Casserole


. Okay, I'll admit it.  I'm obsessed with bread.  I love it.  I just do and I can't explain it.  There are many some times when all I want is a good helping of carbs and I'd be happy for the rest of the day.  It might be weird but it's me!


So due to my love of bread, I LOVE making desserts filled with bready goodness and this recipe falls right into that category.  For Mother's Day last weekend (still can't believe I haven't posted this sooner actually) I had to have some breakfasty/brunch item for Sunday morning.  My mom is also an avid bread lover, so while perusing my recipe collections, I knew exactly what I was looking for.  I'd actually had this French Toast Casserole recipe bookmarked for quite some time.  It comes from The Girl Who Ate Everything and I think her and I are somehow on the same page when it comes to what we want in a great bread pudding/french toast casserole recipe.  She described this delightful treat as the perfect casserole, "not too dry, not too wet, not too sweet."  I've found (and so did she) through my undertakings of finding the best bread pudding or casserole recipe that many times it turns out too soggy or overloaded with sugar.  But she was right.  This is the BEST recipe I have come across to date.  Note that, May 15, 2011.


The bread turned out just slightly toasted, with a wonderful hint of cinnamon.  What really sets this apart is a scrumptious layer of melted butter and brown sugar on the bottom that gives the whole thing a slight sweetness.  Perfection.  Pure perfection.  And to bring in a little bit of the season, I sprinkled slices of extra strawberries from the Strawberry Shortcake Cookies over the casserole before serving.  The sweet and tart strawberries were a fantastic addition if I do say so myself.  I think my parents kind of enjoyed the dish as much as I did since they took the rest of the pan home with them to Minnesota!


Just giving you guys a hard time ☺                  

So make this Strawberry French Toast Casserole soon, very soon.  The best time will be during strawberry season, but I guess you can always leave them out.  OR you can switch the strawberries for any of your other favorites fruits, your choice!  And you can assemble this within ten minutes, refrigerate, and bake it the next morning.  Easy peasy .

French Toast Casserole
From The Girl Who Ate Everything


Ingredients:
4 tbsp. butter, melted
3/4 c. packed light brown sugar
1 loaf brioche or challah, cut into 1-1/2-inch slices
8 eggs, slightly beaten
1 c. whole milk
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
1/2 c. pecans, chopped
1/8 tsp. salt
Maple syrup (optional)
Powdered sugar (optional)
1 pint fresh strawberries, sliced (optional)

Directions:
1.  In a small bowl. combine brown sugar and butter and pour on bottom of 13x9-inch baking dish.


2.  Arrange slices of bread in baking dish, overlapping if necessary.


3.  Combine milk, eggs, vanilla extract, salt, cinnamon, and ginger in a bowl and pour evenly over bread slices.


4.  Sprinkle chopped pecans over bread slices.


5.  Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator 4 to 12 hours.

6.  In the morning, take the casserole out of the refrigerator for at least 10 minutes while heating the oven to 350°F. 


7.  Bake 30 to 35 minutes (if top browns too quickly, place foil loosely over top of casserole for the last 10 minutes or so; make sure the bottom is cooked but not dried out completely).


8.  Remove casserole from oven and let cool slightly before serving.  Dust with powdered sugar and a drizzle of maple syrup.  Serve with slices of fresh strawberries.


Yield: 12 servings


*My Notes:
  • I used a loaf of challah from the Great Harvest Bread Company and wowie, it was fantastic.  HOWEVER, if you feel like trying your hand at bread making, test out my recipe for the most wonderful Challah Bread I've ever placed in my mouth.  Yum.
  • At first I didn't think there was enough liquid, but it turns out it was the perfect amount.  Just make sure that while you're pouring the egg mixture, hit the top of the bread.  It's okay if the tops aren't completely covered but do your best to get some of the mixture up there.  Also, once I placed the plastic wrap over the casserole, I pressed the bread down slightly to try to get it to soak up more of the egg mixture.

4 comments:

  1. So glad you liked it! Yours looks beautiful!

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  2. I am loving yoru blog! I was browsing for recipes to make since my kiddos are out for summer and they LOVE french toast and I LOVE this recipe!

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  3. YUM! Would love to make some of your recipes for my breakfast project - thank you so much for the ideas! Now it's a matter of getting round to it but I'll definitely keep you posted if I make anything of yours :)

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  4. I adore french toast and this looks like an easy variation. And I love that you can make it the night before. ~ Courtney

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