A few weekends ago I made french toast with some left over bread and while it was cooking-my wheels were turning. I later stumbled across french toast casserole and got really excited, so that’s what I made THIS weekend. Uh, yum! I read several recipes and SEVERAL reviews and with the adaptions I made, it was a complete success!! I decided to go with a Paula Deen recipe but did make quite a few changes. She also had a praline topping on casserole and I did that-again with a lot of changes. Also, I only made an 8X8 dish because it was just hubby and me, but you could easily double this (day two it was still delicious).
French Toast Casserole
Paula’s recipe called for french bread but I started with this beautiful whole grain loaf from Panera Bread.
I took some advice from Paula’s reviewers and let it set out for a day to get a little stale so the bread would soak up all the egg liquid and lot leave a soggy casserole:
The other thing I did differently was to dip each piece of bread in the egg liquid before placing in the dish. Again, I did that to soak up more of the liquid so there was none left in the bottom of the dish after it was baked:
French Toast Casserole
1 loaf bread, cut in 1 1/2 in cubes
3 large eggs
2/3 C fat-free half-and-half
1/3 C milk
1 T sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp freshly ground nutmeg
Pinch of salt
Maple syrup & powdered sugar for topping (optional)
2 1/2 T butter, softened
1/2 C light brown sugar
1/2 C pecans, chopped
1 T 100% pure maple syrup
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
Spray 8X8 dish with Baker’s Joy and set aside. Mix eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a bowl with a whisk until combined. Dip each piece of bread in the egg mixture and place in sprayed dish. Pour remaining egg mixture over bread, cover with foil and refrigerate over night.
The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees and make praline. Combine all praline ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. (Do not melt the butter, just smash it together with the other ingredients with fork). Spread praline over french toast and bake for 30-35 minutes. Top with powdered sugar.
This was very sweet and did not need syrup in my opinion, but have it on hand just in case. Because it was so sweet, I served it with a thick cut of seared ham.
I was trying to think of a word to describe the delicious smell while it was baking, but sadly, there are no words. I was thinking “I wish people could smell this through the internet” So I came up with something they need to create…..SCENTERNET!! They talk about “smellovision” all the time on the Food Network, so why can’t we have the “scenternet?” Hmmmm, maybe that’s my million dollar idea!