French Toast Casserole

This is such an easy way to make breakfast for a crowd. I make it every year for the morning after Christmas when no one feels like cooking or serving. This can be assembled the night before, or just a couple of hours before. Once I only let it sit 45 minutes – it’s all good! This is a rich, hearty dish, but I have friends who have substituted low-fat ingredients and still found it quite yummy. There is an optional pecan praline topping that would make this over the top! This is so rich that a small piece served with butter and syrup and maybe a some bacon is usually enough.

1 large cinnamon challah bread or plain challah bread
8 eggs
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup milk
3 TBSP sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 – 3 tsp ground cinnamon (to your taste)
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
dash salt

*beat eggs in very large bowl
*blend in all remaining ingredients
*tear or cube bread and add to wet ingredients. cover and let sit a couple of hours or overnight in refrigerator
*preheat oven to 350
*pour into buttered 13×9 pan and bake 35-45 minutes. if you use a metal pan, you can pop it under the broiler at the end to crisp up the top if you like crunchy

Optional prailine topping:
2 sticks butter softened (!)
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 TBSP corn syrup
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
*combine and spread over french toast casserole before baking

Notes:
-my neighbor made this with all milk and no heavy cream and said it was delicious. i use 2% lactaid and heavy cream. this recipe could easily be customized adding whatever you like.

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