French Toast Casserole is a classic breakfast/brunch dish for the family or holiday gathers. Now you can whip up an amount that fits smaller households.
I wanted an overnight recipe with baking in the morning so the cook can participate in the family activities. French toast casserole is becoming the “green bean casserole” of Christmas. But if you’re not feeding an army for breakfast, you must go to other options. Let’s make a smaller version that will serve for a smaller household or every day for a family.
After reading many recipes, I started with a Taste of Home recipe, but like every other recipe I looked at, it required a small army to consume it all. So my first act, cut in half. Then a little change here and there and we have a smaller version with little work that tastes great.
Recommended accompanying dishes:
My rating. A nice 4+
My wife is at 5. She loved it, as did I. Her argument is for given situations (Christmas morning) it is a solid home run.
Notes on French Toast Casserole.
In reading hundreds of comments on the recipe sites, I have come to the conclusion of “just do what you want.”
While the most common bread recommended was French, we had almost any bread imaginable recommend by commenters. We had slices stood up. Slices laid down. Cut into 1/2 or 1-inch piece or ripped into chunks. So the conclusion. If you are buying bread, get a small baguette of French but otherwise, use what you want. I wanted chunks of bread, so I went with cubes. Also, I love cinnamon, so I added some to the mix.
Many recipes stated baking without the overnight soak is ok, but it missed the point of having a dish to toss into the oven with little fuss in the morning while you enjoy the fun.
Toppings vary a lot, but some butter, sugar, and cinnamon seem standard. A few provided a more streusel-like topping, but I was looking for French toast, not a coffee cake.
This recipe is easily doubled. Use a 9 by 13 pan. The baking time will be perhaps 10-15 minutes longer. The topping might get browner than you want so tenting with foil near the end will prevent that.
The original recipe baked entirely covered. I wanted some crispiness and baked entirely uncovered. Again, a matter of taste.
Coat a 5 by 9 baking dish with butter.
Cut 8 oz of French bread into 1-inch cubes and add to pan. Other breads should be fine.
Combine 4 eggs, 1 1/2 cups milk, 2 teaspoons sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. Mix lightly.
Pour milk mixture over the bread, cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning remove from refrigerator and uncover. Preheat oven to 350. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in microwave and brush top. Mix 2 tablespoons sugar with 1 teaspoon cinnamon and sprinkle on top.
Bake until golden brown. About 40 minutes. Helpful hint, the bread will puff up some near the end. When the center is puffed, that is the minimum time, but it will be soggy still. Go a little longer to get a dryer casserole.
Allow to cool for 5 – 10 minutes before serving.
Top with maple syrup if you want or a dusting of powder sugar.
December 22, 2016