French Toast Casserole

This is our family’s favorite breakfast for Christmas morning. It’s meant to be made the day before and then left in the fridge overnight. When you wake up Christmas morning, preheat your oven and bake this casserole while you’re opening presents. The cinnamon flavor will fill your house with an inviting scent and everyone will be ready to dig in when you’re finished with presents.

The trick to making this casserole is using stale bread. I take mine out of the package and leave it set out for a at least a couple hours before assembling the ingredients into a baking dish. Be sure to use a hearty bread loaf such as French, Italian or sourdough (no sandwich bread).

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Layer the bread slices on top of each other at an angle, as seen in the picture below. Doing this will create the most delicious, crispy bits on top of the casserole while baking. The combination of crispy and creamy texture along with the cinnamon and caramel-like flavors will wake your taste buds for sure.

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French Toast Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of French bread (or any other dense bread)
  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
  • Dash salt
  • Praline Topping, recipe follows
  • Maple syrup, for serving

Praline Topping:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Preparation:

  1. Generously butter a 9×13 baking dish.
  2. Slice bread into 1-inch slices.
  3. Arrange slices in buttered dish, overlapping the slices.
  4. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt.
  5. Whisk until well blended but not bubbly.
  6. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture.
  7. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
  8. The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  9. Combine all praline topping ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well.
  10. Spread praline topping evenly over the bread.
  11. Bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden.
  12. Serve with maple syrup.

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