I’m sure that a lot of you share in my sentiment that 2012 flew in a blink of an eye! Look, we are finally down on the last day of the 2012. Where did exactly the 250+ days go? Yep, I’m definitely dreading the end of my winter break and still wish that I get an extended time off because apparently, a week and a half off isn’t enough for me :) It started off with pretty nasty snow storm that wiped the power in over 30,000 homes in our area, ours included. After recuperating the stress of wondering whether I had spoiled everything in my refrigerator (all of those cheeses!!), we were able to finally just have a nice Christmas at home. Heck, we even took a short shopping trip out of town.
Now on to this baked french toast. I have been wanting to experiment with a new recipe for baked french toast for a while. I haven’t really made it lately – and have only tried this one recipe. I really wanted to come up with a breakfast casserole that took very little time to prep in the morning for my weekends. This time, the breads were cut into smaller pieces (which I think makes them nice and soft), and yummy topping (and fruits) were added. Since we’re smack in the middle of winter and there weren’t a lot of fresh berries in the market, I added some frozen berries (thaw first, drain, then sprinkle on top) to cut some of the sweetness and richness of the custard. I have added sliced bananas and blueberries, just raspberries, etc and each one turned out pretty well. I love that this recipe is so versatile and can be adjusted in portions and ingredients. So whether you have a fun exciting plan for New Year’s or not – this is an impressive breakfast or brunch item for your New Year’s Day. Thank you everyone for reading my blog – and especially for many of you who have been my loyal readers, and taking the time to drop by and leave comments. Have a Happy New Year’s!
Butter (softened) or Cooking Spray, for greasing
1 loaf crusty bread (sourdough, French bread, or Challah), cubed (should be approximately 6-8 cups)
8 whole eggs
2 cups milk (whole or 2%)
1/2 cup whipping (heavy) cream
4 tbsp pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
Berries or other fruits (optional)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 stick cold butter, cut into pieces, plus more for serving
Warm pancake syrup, berries or other fruits, for serving (optional)
For the French toast
Grease 9-by-13-inch baking pan with softened butter or cooking spray. Cut breads into cubes, and evenly distribute in the pan. Whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, maple syrup and vanilla. Pour evenly over the bread. Make sure that all of the pieces are soaked in the milk mixture. Cover the pan tightly and store in the fridge until needed (overnight preferably).
For the topping
Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a separate bowl. Mix the butter pieces into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter, until the mixture resembles fine pebbles. Store in a re-seal-able plastic bag in the fridge.
When you’re ready to bake the casserole, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the casserole from the fridge, add sliced fruits or whole berries. Sprinkle the topping over the top. Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding texture or for 1 hour or more for a firmer, crisper texture.
Scoop out individual portions, and top with butter, syrup, or berries/fruits of your choice.
Yield: 8-10 servings
Adapted from Pioneer Women