Tis the season to…BAKE! 🙂
I have these really fond memories of my mom’s baked french toast. She used to make it for brunch on holidays, and what I really remember was that it was super sweet and a complete indulgence. I mean: cream cheese and butter and sugar and every sinful ingredient possible in it.
And I loved it.
So a few weeks ago on a Tuesday (or maybe it was Wednesday, but it was just a normal day) I started craving Mom’s baked french toast. I wanted to make it and I told my boys I’d make it (though I planned to healthy it up a bit.) Then I did what I do
almost every day whenever I need a little extra support in the kitchen:
I called my mom.
But my mom wasn’t there. She was busy…Pretty sure the was traveling — to Australia or Alaska, or maybe it was Arizona. (She travels a bit much.) (And yes I’m a bit jealous.) But she was busy and she wasn’t available to help me in the kitchen in my time of need. (shame.)
So it was time to grow up a little and figure things out for myself. Or at least hit the internet.
Most of the recipes I found online involved both a loaf of french or sourdough bread (which I didn’t have on hand) and required making the dish the night before so it could sit all night.
Those things weren’t an option. I wanted to make it like now. Also: I had announced to my 4 homeschooled sons that I’d be making them baked french toast “today.” And you just can’t go back on your word like that.
So I just went for it, cubing up whole wheat bread, eggs, almond milk, vanilla and cinnamon. It was really super simple. (It took under ten minutes!) I added sliced bananas on half of it to be safe (we have a few–thousand– bananas on hand but I wasn’t sure if they would be good in the french toast) (and YES! they were). Then I baked it.
And lo and behold…it came out brilliantly.
I think this will go on my normal breakfast rotation. I had imagined it would be a complicated recipe but it was not at all. I could make this any ol’ Tuesday or Wednesday (or birthday or Christmas.)
This recipe has wholesome ingredients. And no cream cheese or added sugar (only a small amount of real maple syrup which totally doesn’t count, right?) and almond milk.
Take that mom. Wherever the heck you might be.
Friends, I hope you’ll try this one soon. If you prefer–go ahead and make it at night, cover with foil and refrigerate, and bake it in the morning.
Just don’t wait for a special occasion.
(But then you might want to make it for a special occasion, too. Thanksgiving morning perhaps?)
And let me know how you love it. (cuz you will!)
Here’s the printable recipe:
- 6-8 cups cubed whole wheat bread, cubed (gluten free bread is an option here.)
- 8 large eggs
- 2 cups milk of choice (I used almond milk)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp nutmeg
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup maple syrup (plus more for topping)
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar (optional)
- 2-3 bananas, sliced (also optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Lightly grease large baking dish (9X13 or large square dish for thicker pieces)
- Lay bread cubes across entire bottom of baking dish, and piled up about 1.5-2 inches
- In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, cinnamon, nutmeg, maple syrup, and vanilla. Pour over bread cubes, and use a spoon to push down (even stir a bit) making sure bread is fully covered with liquid. You can always add more bread if there is excess liquid, or even remove a few pieces if there are some dry.
- Sprinkle with brown sugar if you like. It is not necessary but will give it a sweet crunch on top. Cover with sliced bananas, (also optional!) Again: push down so they get some liquid coverage. (A few on top will not hurt.)
- Cover with foil and bake for 40 minutes. Then remove foil and continue to bake, 10-15 more minutes (you'll need to check it as cooking times will vary.) You'll know it's done when the bread is golden brown and the egg mixture is no longer wet. Stick a knife down in the center to check, and if it is still wet, bake for another 5-10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and top with more maple syrup (I honestly enjoy it plain as well. It is similar to a bread pudding texture!) ENJOY!
PS To be fair: My mom is almost always available for my cooking-related phone calls. And even more: She’ll be travelling to Hawaii one week from today, and then I won’t let her leave for at least a few months. 😉
PPS I still might get my mom’s recipe for the more indulgent style baked french toast to share later. Because cream cheese is still pretty awesome.
Find all of my breakfast recipes HERE. 😉