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weekend wonder : french toast bake

March 19, 2011

This may be the ultimate weekend wonder…

This french toast bake has all of the attributes of an amazing weekend breakfast:

1 – You can make it the night before and pop it in the oven when you get in the shower the next morning (or…pop it in the oven while you watch an episode of Gilmore Girls and consume several cups of coffee…whatever works for you), resulting in a hassle-free meal that still feels special.

2 – It’s a tad indulgent – just enough so that you feel like it’s the weekend, but not so much that you feel like you should only eat carrots and spinach for the next two days.

3 – It’s a perfect brunch item, great for Saturday morning get-togethers or family visits, which is why I made it last weekend when the padres were in town.

The recipe is the Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Baked French Toast…but I usually make a few healthy modifications (sorry PDubs…a girl’s gotta save room for your Peanut Butter Pie, after all). Here’s her original ingredient list:

Ingredients

  • FRENCH TOAST
  • 1 loaf Crusty Sourdough Or French Bread
  • 8 whole Eggs
  • 2 cups Whole Milk
  • ½ cups Whipping (heavy) Cream
  • ¾ cups Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Vanilla Extract
  • TOPPING
  • ½ cups All-purpose Flour
  • ½ cups Firmly Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 stick Cold Butter, Cut Into Pieces
  • Fresh Fruit (optional)

For starters, I usually cut the recipe in half. Then I substitute Wegman’s 7 grain sourdough (SO good!) for the white bread. As for the wet ingredients…they get a total makeover. I usually just use 4 eggs – 2 whole eggs and 2 egg whites – and a cup of milk. I use soy milk which results in a very creamy, sweet mixture (even with unsweetened soy milk!), so I also leave out the sugar. For the topping, I used a combo of whole wheat pastry flour, spelt flour, cinnamon, salt, brown sugar, and just kept adding small pats of butter until the topping mixture combined (don’t skimp on the topping…it’s the best part!)

I mixed the bread with the wet ingredients on Saturday, covered the casserole dish, and refrigerated it until Sunday morning. Then I added 3/4 of a bag of Wegmans frozen mixed berries and covered the whole thing with the topping mixture before baking it at 350 for about an hour (less if you like moist french toast, more if you like it crunchy).

Serve with maple syrup and you have the easiest, loveliest, fairest weekend wonder of them all.

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