Baked French Toast

Baked French Toast

Oh man, friends.  These past two months have been crazy.  That’s why we haven’t been around here much lately.  It seems like every week has brought a new drama.  I tell you, we have been making some amazing food in our kitchen, and I can’t wait to share it with you.  But first I need to tell you about something that if you haven’t already made, you need to rush into your kitchen and make right now.

Maybe I’m building it up too much, but honestly, what could be better than a french toast you assemble the night before, and just pop it in the oven in the morning for the most low-maintence, decadent  breakfast treat?

Two of my best friends from Bloomington visited the other night as a stop along their massive summer road trip.  They had been so good to me the past few months as I went back and forth from Kansas City to Indiana over and over and constantly depended on them for somewhere to sleep and someone to save my sanity.  And seeing as how they were only staying for the evening and leaving early, I decided that an amazing breakfast would be the best I could do.  And what do girls like more than anything (well, more than chocolate, at least)?  French toast!

I’ve seen recipes for french toast casseroles all over the place, but they all seem like a little…too much, you know?  I think one common problem with sugary breakfast treats like this is that they are often too sugary.  I mean, the best part of french toast is all the toppings–powdered sugar, maple syrup, berries, and anything else you can dream up.  Does it really have to be full of sugar in the first place?  You can always leave it up to Smitten Kitchen to come up with sweets that aren’t too sweet, and this baked french toast was pretty perfect in that regard.  In all regards, really.

Oh, and don’t judge the photos too hard.  I believe there was a receipt in one and a box of risotto in another, because we are classy like that…

Baked French Toast
(recipe from Smitten Kitchen)

1 loaf of bread, sliced (I used Challah, and I would suggest any rich bread, but I’m sure anything would work)
3 cups milk (I used 2% so we wouldn’t gain 20 pounds, but whole would probably be better)
3 eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Flavoring of your choice (I used two teaspoons of vanilla, but if I would have had Bailey’s, Frangelico, or any other sweet liquor on hand I would have used that as well.  You can add anything you wish, from dried fruits and nuts to orange zest to chocolate chips)
mix of cinnamon and brown sugar for sprinkling

Grease a 9×13 baking dish.*  Arrange the bread in the dish, covering all the spaces, and stacking the pieces in no more than two layers.  To ensure that there are absolutely no holes, you might want to tear the bread slices into smaller pieces to fill the cracks.

Whisk together the eggs, sugar, salt, and flavoring in a large bowl and pour it over the bread in the baking dish.  Sprinkle liberally with cinnamon and brown sugar.  Cover the entire dish with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator over night.  During the next several hour, the bread will absorb all these amazing custard flavors…mmmmmmmm…

The next morning, bake at 450 for 30 minutes or until the bread is golden and has puffed up.  It will kind of resemble a Peep in the microwave and will deflate somewhat once removed from the oven 😉

Cut into portions and serve with your desired toppings.  Might I suggest powdered sugar, berries, and maple syrup, but I’m sure anything would be mouthwatering.

Serves 6

*I used a 9×9 baking dish instead.  I worked very well, and still supplied at least 5-6 servings.

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