As a child, I never had French Toast. I don't know if my parents ever made it for me or not, but if they did, I'm sure I opted not to eat any. I was a very picky child, and I didn't really like any breakfast foods, with the exception of toast and dry cereal.
At some point during my teenage years, I somehow ended up with an order of French Toast sticks from Sonic, and I thought they were ahhh-mazing. Mainly because of the maple syrup. And yes, I realize fast food fried french toast sticks is not real French toast.
Skip ahead 10 years later, and I finally make my first French Toast, as a cooking demonstration for all my preschool students.
And then as of this weekend, I made a Baked French Toast casserole, and it was delicious. It goes without saying that you'll need to make this, stat.
-- 1/2 a loaf of sliced bread (sourdough, challah, ciabatta, brioche)
-- 3 eggs
-- 1 1/2 cups milk
-- 3 tsp pure vanilla extract
-- 1/2 tsp salt
-- 3 tbsp sugar
-- 1/4 cup flour
-- 1/4 cup brown sugar
-- 1 tbsp cinammon
-- 1/2 tsp salt
-- 4 tbsp (half a stick) butter, cold
You'll want to be able to let this sit for at least 2 hours before you bake it...but overnight is recommended. Which works out really well...you assemble this the night before, store it in the fridge, and then put it in the over the next morning. So easy!
Butter a small square baking dish. (either 8 X 8 or 9 X 9) Cover the bottom of the dish with a layer of bread. My bread fit two slices perfectly in the bottom, but cut or tear your bread as needed. Fill the dish with another layer or two of bread, depending on how thickly your bread is sliced. Mine was sliced pretty thinly, so I did three layers.
Then mix the first set of ingredients together. Whisk together the milk and eggs, and stir in vanilla and sugar.
Pour the egg-milk mixture over the bread layers.
Cover the dish with saran wrap or foil and store in the refrigerator for a few hours or over night. The bread needs time to soak up the liquid.
In the meantime, make the struesel topping. (if you're wanting a less sweet baked french toast, you could skip this step, but I can't imagine why you'd want to do that!)
In a bowl, combine flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt.
Cut half a stick of cold butter into little pieces.
Then incorporate the butter into the flour-sugar mixture.
Cover the bowl, or store the mixture in a ziploc and store in the fridge until baking time.
The next morning, or a few hours later, bake the French toast casserole for 20 minutes at 425 degrees. Remove the baking dish from the oven, sprinkle the streusel topping on top, and bake for another 15 minutes.
Cut into pieces and enjoy as is, or serve with fresh fruit, whipped cream, or maple syrup.
The edge pieces will be a little crispy, and the inside will be very custard-y like.
Of course, since we had company over,
I didn't think to take a picture until after we started eating. Oops!
With the exception of my ridiculously picky child, we all enjoyed the Baked French Toast. Kaylee tried the few bites she was forced to have and then opted for a piece of plain bread instead. Sigh.
I would definitely recommend this for a fun weekend breakfast, and for sure if you're hosting a breakfast or a brunch or something. It's so nice that it can all be assembled the night before and requires no attention besides baking in the morning.
(The recipe I'm sharing is for the small family sized version. It will feed 4-6 people. If you're wanting a larger casserole, just double the recipe and use a 9 X 13 baking dish.)
Don't forget to get in on the Happy Baby deliciousness!