french toast casseroles are among my favorites. They are great for having family or friends for brunch, but I think it's decadent and cozy to make one for just the two of us. It is a great way to ensure that a weekend morning starts off slowly: one of us gets out of bed to put the casserole in the oven, and then we laze about and have coffee while the french toast bakes. There are many, many wonderful ways to spend a weekend morning that do not involve standing over a pan frying up some french toast!
This baked french toast is warm and rich with the taste of cinnamon and brown sugar. It's sort of like the Pioneer Woman's cinnamon rolls hooked up with french toast. This french toast is a lot less sweet than the creme brulee challah french toast that I made a couple of weeks ago, which frees you up in terms of toppings...hello maple syrup!
The Stocked Kitchen, by Sara Kallio and Stacey Krastins. Have you seen this book yet? If you are interested in menu planning, saving money, and organizing your meal prep, then this is a great volume! I lightened the recipe up a little. Also...I didn't have white bread sitting around, but instead some hot cross buns on the verge of becoming stale. This was a great way to use them up! I cubed my rolls, so my casserole looks a little more like a bread pudding. But you can go ahead and use sandwich bread, and put it flat into the dish, which will look more like classic french toast.
Cinnamon Toast French Toast Bake
adapted from The Stocked Kitchen, by Sara Kallio and Stacey Krastins
2-4 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tsp cinnamon, divided
1/2 cup brown sugar
8-9 slices bread, crusts removed according to your preference,
or the equivalent cubed cinnamon bread or cinnamon rolls
4 Tbsp granulated sugar, divided
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Spray an 8 inch square baking pan, or 7 x 11 baking pan, with nonstick spray.
2. Mix together the melted butter, 1 tsp of the cinnamon, and the brown sugar. Spread one third of the mixture on the bottom on the baking pan.
3. Cover the cinnamon-butter-sugar mixture with 3 slices of bread (or the equivalent cubed bread). Sprinkle another third of the cinnamon-butter-sugar spread on top. Repeat, layering bread and cinnamon mixture, until both have been used up.
4. In a mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs. Add 2 Tbsp of the granulated sugar, the milk, and the vanilla. Pour over the bread.
5. Mix the remaining 1 tsp cinnamon with the remaining 2 Tbsp sugar. Sprinkle over the top of the casserole.
6. Cover, and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 2 hours.
7. Preheat the oven to 350 degree Fahrenheit.
8. Bake for 1 hour. Let sit for 10 minutes, and then serve with maple syrup.