French toast casserole is good any time of the day (or night!) A meal, a snack, a guilty pleasure. Call it what you want – I call it delicious!
This is a variation on the original recipe by Ree Drummond, sometimes known as The Pioneer Woman on Food Network. She cooks for her family, which includes a crew of cowboys working at the ranch. Me? Often it’s just two of us so a recipe like this would last us a week of breakfasts. Fortunately, we had the monthly United Methodist Men’s Breakfast at church this morning. There were no complaints and not many leftovers.
Pairs well with fresh blueberries on the side, plus a healthy serving of scrapple for those
foolhardy adventurous enough to try it.
1 big loaf of French bread (or the bread of your choice, just nothing too flavorful like pumpernickel or rye)
8 eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups of milk (I used 2 percent instead of Ree’s whole milk. Trying to be healthy, right? Umm. Yeah. That’s the ticket.)
3/4 cup sugar
2 Tablespoons pure vanilla extract. Don’t bother with the imitation stuff. Not.the.same.at.all.
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup light brown sugar (be generous here)
1 more teaspoon of cinnamon
and a 1/2 teaspoon more of nutmeg
8 Tablespoons (113 grams) of butter. Unsalted is fine, not required here. Unless you have that extra stick of unsalted butter you bought last Christmas for that one recipe. And then you went out to eat at the pub instead because your brother insulted your sister’s boyfriends and soon enough people were fighting, lamps were broken and then the third time the police were called… Anyhow – a stick of butter.
Maple syrup to taste, no more than a cup.
Treat a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish with either butter or cooking spray
Tear the bread into little bite-sized bits and place in the casserole dish.
In a large bowl, mix the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Pour the egg mixture over the bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, light brown sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg.
Add the butter, blending it with the dry ingredients using a fork. You can stop once the mixture has that grainy, crumbly, sandy type of texture.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
…the next morning…
An hour before the herd awakens, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. / 177 degrees C. / or gas mark 4 if that’s how your oven rolls.
Take the breading and the topping bits out of the refrigerator. Uncover the breading and evenly sprinkle the topping bits on top. (Where else would topping bits go, I wonder?)
Bake uncovered for one hour.
While the casserole is baking, make yourself a nice cup of coffee and enjoy the quiet.
Ten minutes before the casserole is done, warm up the cup of maple syrup. Not too hot, just warm enough to make you want to stick your finger in and get a taste. (I won’t tell if you do it.)
The casserole comes out of the oven and you now get to drizzle the warm maple syrup all over the lightly browned topping. I made criss-cross patterns when I did it. Be creative. It all sinks in so don’t stress on the artistic merit of your drizzling technique. But have some fun, right?
Serving techniques: you can slice this casserole into squares, or you can just let everyone scoop out what they want using a large spoon.
This is a popular dish. Make sure you get some.
Good job, chef!