Gearing up for 2013? Make this overnight French Toast Casserole recipe and enjoy a glorious breakfast after a late night of celebrating the end of 2012.
After reading about 25 different versions of this recipe on the internet, I came up with this recipe. Add enough butter, cream and eggs to croissants and you've got yourself a delicious breakfast treat.
The croissant idea came from my neighbor Evelyn, who used them in her recipe for a bridal shower brunch at my house. Most recipes call for a loaf of crunchy French bread. Now that I'm allowed to open and read my new Smitten Kitchen cookbook, I see her recipe calls for making cinnamon toast under a broiler to start. I'll leave the bread choice up to you.
The topping was inspired by The Pioneer Woman's version of French Toast Casserole (which is a recipe in picture only, unless you want to translate the picture of all the ingredients in measuring tools into an actual recipe). My brother-in-law thought my topping was sausage, but quickly added that he's color blind so don't blame him. Adding sausage isn't that crazy since Rachel Ray's recipe does include sausage.
Let it be noted that I do not own a pastry blender, which is just what I may use my new Amazon.com gift card to buy. Such is my excuse for why the butter in my topping was sausage-looking topping rather than the crumbly, pea-sized bits I imagined.
Here's the recipe - Try it for your self and see if you'll ever make "regular" french toast again!
French Toast Casserole
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, sliced
8 large croissants, cubed
1 cup whole milk
2 cups cream (or 3 cups half and half)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons vanilla
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
In a large casserole dish (9x13 or 10x15), generously grease bottom of pan with first stick of butter. Cut remainder of the stick into small bits and spread evenly in the bottom of the pan.
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Fill the pan evenly with croissant cubes, cut approximately in 1-inch cubes. Bread should reach the top edge of the pan and can extend slightly above the edge of the pan as it will soak up the custard. In a large mixing bowl, add eggs and beat with a whisk until well blended. Add milk, cream, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla. Whisk until well blended.
Pour slowly over bread. Liquid should be half-way up the side of your dish or less. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours or overnight.
To mix filling, stir together dry ingredients. Add butter in thin slices and blend together with a pastry blender until pea-sized pieces of butter. When you're ready to bake, take your casserole dish out of the fridge and sprinkle with the topping. Bake at 350 degrees for up to 30 minutes or until topping is crispy and the bread is toasted.
We had some maple syrup to serve with the dish, but only half of our guests actually used it. If you like more of a bread pudding consistency, feel free to increase the eggs and milk. This recipe had a nice crispy topping and a creamy, but not mushy, bottom for well-balanced outcome.
Full disclosure: Making this dish was the last thing on Santa's to-do list before dawn hit, hence the photos by tree lights. And this Mama was lucky to even get a photo of the finished dish at Christmas Morning Brunch since it was eaten rather hastily. Hope you enjoy for your next gathering!
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