Here we go again, another sweet and delicious breakfast. I’ve heard my mother-in-law talk about this dish on several occasions, going on about how delicious it was…so naturally, I had to give it a shot. I made this during the same weekend of being in town with my cousins, and since there was a lot of food in this recipe, I wanted to make it for more than just our little batch of 3 at home.
My mom always calls me before she heads to the grocery store the day before we come in town to see if there’s anything we need for cooking meals during the weekend, so we went over the list of ingredients needed for this recipe. There was a loaf of Italian bread right next to the French bread in the bakery section, and she mistakenly grabbed that loaf. So, we used Italian bread in this recipe. Improvise. My cousin’s 8 year old daughter was lurking in the kitchen when I started to pull the ingredients out to put everything together the night before. She asked, “Cousin Erin, can I help you make it?” Holy cow, how could I possibly say no to that sweet face? Well, it wasn’t an option, so I recruited my very first assistant. She helped me measure out ingredients, put seasonings in the bowl, and crack the eggs (which she loved the most). We got everything together, covered it up and stuck it in the fridge. After that, we snuggled up on the couch, and talked about baking. She wants to open up a bakery when she grows up, and she wants me to work for her. Score. Now I have a future job in place. 😉
The next morning, my dad was asking when breakfast was going to be ready, right as I walked out of the bedroom, half asleep from dealing with a fussy toddler in the middle of the night. Mr. Impatient, as I like to call him. I made the topping, poured it on top, and popped it in the oven. Wow, the smells. Cinnamon just smells so wonderful while baking in the oven, and it sends such a delightful aroma all through the house. It was definitely a sweet breakfast though, so beware of that sugar crash that follows later! It should have a warning label that you must drink coffee with it. Yes, the perfect combination.
French Toast Casserole Recipe:
1 loaf French Bread (13-16 oz.)
8 large eggs
2 cups half and half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
cinnamon sugar topping
Slice bread into 1 inch slices. Arrange slices in a generously greased 9×13 inch baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half and half, milk, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon, and beat with whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk/egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, or until puffed and lightly golden. Serve with maple syrup.
2 sticks butter, melted
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Pour over casserole before baking.