A houseful of Cajuns who've just downed a few bottles of champagne usually doesn't make for a quiet house, but somehow, this baked french toast casserole-type thing from The Pioneer Woman induced absolute silence amid the hustle and bustle on Thanksgiving morning. It was shocking. All eight of us were close-mouthed with cinnamon-sugar and little smiles on our faces. If we had thought bubbles floating above our heads, they would have said, "Damn, this is tasty."
Aside from being absolutely delicious, one of the best things about this recipe is that all the work can be done the day or night before it's served, so it's the perfect breakfast dish if you have a busy day ahead of you. Pop it in the oven when you get in the shower, and by the time you're dressed and your makeup is on, it's good to go. I've brought it to work and it's been gobbled up in a matter of minutes. And it's definitely the best for holiday mornings. Start a tradition this Christmas and bring a breakfast that's sure to impress.
- 1 loaf crusty sourdough or french bread
- 8 whole eggs
- 2 cups whole milk
- ½ cup whipping (heavy) cream
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoons salt
- 1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces
- Fresh fruit (optional)
How-To: 1. Grease 9 x 13-inch baking pan with butter. Tear bread into chunks (or cut into cubes) and evenly distribute in the pan.
2. Mix together eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla. Pour evenly over bread. Cover tightly and store in the fridge several hours or overnight.
3. In a separate bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt. Add nutmeg if desired. Add butter pieces and mix into the dry mixture until it resembles fine pebbles. Store in a Ziploc in the fridge.
4. When you're ready to bake the casserole, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove casserole from oven and sprinkle crumb mixture over the top. (If you're using fruit, sprinkle on before the crumb mixture.)
5. Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture. Bake one hour or more for a firmer, less liquid texture.
Scoop out individual portions. Top with butter and drizzle with maple syrup.
Usually with recipes, I'll make little notes like "next time, use less _____ or maybe try _____" but there's nothing about this one I'd change. The Pioneer Woman is good like that.
Does your family have a holiday breakfast tradition? Would you give this Baked French Toast recipe a try? Let us know in the comments section.
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