Updated: Dec 14, 2020
It‘s almost cliché to say that during the holidays we’re too busy, too stressed, too overwhelmed, too... well, everything.
I find making a French Toast Bake so easy, versatile and you can use up stale bread that would otherwise go to waste. You can prep the night before and then you’re ready to pop in the oven in the morning, for what will seem like a decadent and time consuming breakfast. For the holidays you can add in more festive ingredients like panettone bread, zest and juice from an orange, or even make a boozy glaze to drizzle on top. Below is the basic recipe with a few ideas to spice things up over the holidays.
French Toast Bake
Modified from Kristine’s Kitchen Blog
1 medium day old bread loaf cut into 1-1 1/2 inch chunks (e.g. baguette, ciabatta, I just used sandwich bread that was going to waste and toasted it in the oven until golden brown and a bit crunchy)
1/2 c almond milk
1 Tbsp maple syrup
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp all-spice (i love all-spice so you may want to adjust)
1/4 tsp ground ginger
A small pinch of ground cloves
2 1/4 c almond milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
A pinch of salt
4 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
2 Tbsp maple syrup or coconut sugar
1/2 - 1 tsp ground cinnamon
I put mine in a 9 x 9 in square pan so it came out more like bread pudding with a yummy French toast crust on top. The original recipe calls for a longer, rectangular pan which would give you more of that crusty top. Either way coat the pan with coconut oil.
Place the bread cubes in your prepared dish and mix all the rest of the ingredients from the filling section and pour over the bread cubes. I pressed the cubes down a bit to get them covered in the liquid - not too much. Prepare the topping and pour that evenly over the dish.
Let sit overnight in the refrigerator or you could let it rest for an hour or so, but it's best overnight.
Cover and bake in 350 degree oven for 45 minutes (less if you are using the 9 x 13 pan). Uncover and bake for 10 minutes more to brown it up.
Serve with maple syrup and a sprinkling of powdered sugar.
Top with blueberries or other local in season fruits
Add in sautéed apples in cinnamon and coconut oil until soft and stir in with the bread cubes before adding the liquid mixture
Cranberries sautéed in orange juice, orange zest, coconut sugar and coconut oil - sauté just until bursting and still like a sauce. Add to the liquid mixture and reduce your milk by 1/4 cup.
Sautéed bananas in coconut sugar and coconut oil just until softened.
Boozy glaze made with Grand Marnier, orange juice, orange zest and enough confectioners sugar to make a drizzly glaze.
You could use herbs that might go to waste and even leftover veggies from another dinner. Almost like a quiche or frittata - you can add in a lot of different ingredients to make a sort of strata.
The fun thing about this recipe is you could really mix it up with the flavors - just start with the base recipe and add in any of these fun flavors or try some of your own.