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French Toast Casserole

French Toast Casserole

Hands-on Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes (plus overnight chilling)

Serves: 12

This cross between French toast and bread pudding is a treat worthy of a special occasion, yet it's so easy to make kids can do many of the steps themselves: slicing the bread, chopping the nuts, whisking the eggs, and more. As a bonus, it can be assembled the night before, so there's no morning scramble or cleanup.

Ingredients

  • challah* or other firm white bread
  • 1/3 cup pecans or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon or to taste
  • 8 large eggs
  • 1 3/4 cups milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • maple syrup, for serving

Instructions

French Toast Casserole Step 1

1. Using a piece of waxed paper, generously grease a 13- by 9-inch glass baking dish with softened butter.

French Toast Casserole Step 2

2. Slice the challah into 12 (1-inch-thick) slices, then cut each slice into 1-inch cubes.

French Toast Casserole Step 3

3. Chop the nuts using a knife or a food chopper.

French Toast Casserole Step 4

4. In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar, cinnamon, and chopped pecans or walnuts.

French Toast Casserole Step 6

5. Arrange half the bread in a single layer in the prepared dish, then sprinkle half the sugar mixture evenly over the top. Add a second layer with the remaining bread and the sugar mixture.

French Toast Casserole Step 6

6. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs. Add the milk and vanilla extract, whisking until well blended.

French Toast Casserole Step 7

7. Starting from the sides of the dish and working toward the center, pour the egg mixture evenly over the bread. With a spatula, gently press down on the bread to coat it with the egg mixture. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and refrigerate overnight or at least 4 hours.

French Toast Casserole Step 8

8. Heat the oven to 350°. Bake the casserole covered for 20 minutes, then remove the foil and continue baking until the casserole turns a light golden brown and looks slightly puffed, about 30 minutes more. Serve the casserole warm with maple syrup.*

Tips:

* We prefer light, airy challah because it absorbs more of the egg mixture. As a result, the baked casserole stays moist inside after the outside is golden brown.

* To preserve the quality of maple syrup, the Ohio State University Extension recommends refrigerating bottles even before they're opened. And considering it takes about 40 gallons of sap to make 1 gallon of syrup, it makes sense to keep it at its best!

Nutritional Information:

Per serving (1/12 of recipe) Calories 259, Total Fat 9 g (13%), Saturated Fat 3 g (15%), Cholesterol 149 mg (50%), Sodium 151 mg (6%), Total Carbohydrate 38 g (13%), Fiber 2 g (7%), Sugars 21 g, Protein 9 g (18%)

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