This Baked French Toast Casserole is always a welcome breakfast treat…. I’ve taken it to work so many times I've lost count. Since all the prep work can be done the night before it’s perfect for holiday breakfasts as well….
I’ve been making this for years. There are numerous variations of it in cookbooks and on the web… but none exactly like this… I’ve tried some of them thinking I could improve on the recipe…but I keep coming back to this one… it’s simple and delicious.
I found that you don't have to refrigerate it overnight... you can prepare it and let it stand for about 30 minutes and then bake it... the overnight idea is good though.. let's you sleep in and just pop this in the oven...
I use whole milk.. it makes the casserole more custard like... I wouldn't recommend fat free milk.. if you truly want it fat free... use fat free half and half.
If you use a deeper square dish... you will need to up the baking time (second baking time) by at least 15 minutes... test it by inserting a pick to see if it's still wet in the middle...
As you can see by the picture above... it will deflate ... mine did before I took a picture... it still looks really pretty and tastes wonderful... so don't be surprised if yours deflates within 10-15 minutes.
Just so you are aware...... the casserole in the picture has the optional crumb topping.
The crumb topping is a nice touch.. but totally optional... I used to bring it to work sans the topping.. so trust me.. it will be devoured with or without the topping.
Baked French Toast Casserole:
You will need
1 loaf Cinnamon Swirl bread ripped into small pieces or about 2/3 of a large loaf of white bread
2 ½ cups milk
½ cup sugar
1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cinnamon
1 container frozen strawberries in syrup, thawed (optional)
Whipped Cream (optional)
Maple Syrup (optional)
Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Topping (optional)
4 tablespoons very cold butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
A sprinkling of salt
All you have to do:
Spray a 13 x 9 inch baking dish with butter flavor cooking spray. Arrange the bread in the bottom of the dish. In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon. Pour over the bread pieces. Cover with foil, pressing down on top of the mixture. Refrigerate overnight.
The next morning
Put the casserole with the foil still on it into a cold oven set for 350 degrees and bake for 25 minutes.
If making the topping.. make it in the morning.. during the first baking time.... it only takes a few minutes... slice the butter into pats of butter of about 1 tablespoon size (use the markings on the butter wrapper as a guide)... then cut each slice into quarters... handling them as little as possible... drop them into a mini food processer... add the remaining topping ingredients into the processor and pulse (about 10-12 quick pulses should do the trick) until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is incorporated... then sprinkle on top of the casserole when you take the foil off.
Gently remove the foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes. The casserole will puff up. It is best to serve it immediately. You can also take it to work and serve it warm, the casserole just won’t be puffy but it will still be delicious.
I serve it with thawed strawberries and whipped cream. You can use maple syrup as well or even give your guests a choice.