I always love pre-made options for feeding my family, so over the holidays I set out to search for an overnight french toast casserole recipe. I was so excited to try out something new, but was shocked when I saw just how much sugar was included in most recipes. No judgement here, I love sugary homemade treats, but I don't want to make every breakfast a dessert. Plus, french toast is a breakfast that already typically gets doused in syrup by my kids, so I wanted it to be a tad healthier.
When I couldn't find what I wanted I decided to adapt my french toast recipe to suit an overnight bake. It was so simple, and turned out better than I could have expected. The kids gobbled it up and begged for seconds. Plus, mom and dad loved it too.
The best part is that it only takes 5 ingredients and a few minutes to make up the night before. Then you get to enjoy your morning with your family while the delicious smell of fresh baked french toast casserole wafts through your home. For a tired mama, it doesn't get much better.
1 loaf of crusty bread cut into cubes (I used an Italian loaf this time, but plan on trying a whole grain variety next time.)
8 large eggs whisked
3 cups whole milk (or combo of milk and cream)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Grease large casserole dish with butter (approximately 9x13)
Cut up crusty loaf into chunks and place in casserole dish *If bread is not stale leave it out in the dish for a while to dry out. It absorbs the custard better when dry.
In a large bowl whisk eggs, milk, cinnamon & vanilla
Pour custard mixture over bread
Use a silicone flipper to gently rotate bread in pan so it all gets covered in custard
Cover with Abeego or plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours or overnight
When ready to bake preheat oven to 350 degrees and remove plastic wrap
Use silicone flipper to rotate bread again and pat down into pan with flipper
Place in oven and bake for 45 minutes rotating the pan half way through
*optional* When timer is up, sprinkle top with 1 tsp granulated sugar and broil on low for 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool for a few minutes before serving.
For a special treat on New Years Day I served the casserole with fresh whipped cream, some delicious maple syrup and tons of berries and bananas. Plus a hearty helping of local bacon ;) For regular everyday eating try serving it with greek/coconut yogurt and fresh fruit. Plus you can sprinkle the top with some hemp hearts for a little extra boost.
You can also add fresh or frozen fruit to your french toast casserole before baking. Blueberries and diced apples are both delicious additions to this simple recipe.
Hope you and your family enjoy this as much as mine did. Please let me know if you make it. I would love to hear how it goes.