Thursday, December 23, 2010

French Toast Casserole for Christmas Morning

After our family moved from house to rented house to rented apartment to smaller apartment, I had incorporated some new Christmas traditions that have taken hold.  That's the nice thing about change - it's an opportunity to start something new.  One tradition I started when our kids had to share their time between my home and their father's was a Christmas morning brunch where I served a couple of quiches, bacon, my friend Sue's sweet roles (always so grateful to get them!) and a french toast casserole.  It's an easy-to-assemble strata of bread, eggs, milk, sweet spices, and maple syrup, assembled the night before and popped in the oven on Christmas morning. 

I'm grateful now to spend Christmas mornings at the home I share with my daughter Katie and her family.  The other night she asked me if I could make french toast casserole this year, and I smiled, realizing that change did indeed bring our family something new that would take hold and become comfortable and familiar.  That's one of my favorite things about kitchen traditions and the memories they create.  I expect french toast casserole will be on the menu in this family for many Christmases.

Merry Christmas, my friends!


The night before or early in the morning:

Spray well the bottom and sides of a 13x9 pan or equivalent-capacity baking dish.

4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 lb. loaf of bread (approximately) sliced (you can use white, wheat, french, cinnamon raisin, whatever you love) - enough to fit into pan
8 eggs or two 4-oz. containers of egg substitute
3 cups milk (you can make it richer by using part half-and-half)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup maple syrup

Fresh fruit
Maple syrup for the table

Pour melted butter over bottom of prepared pan.  Sprinkle brown sugar evenly over all.
Layer bread over butter/sugar mixture. (You can double this if you want a really sweet sauce on the bottom).

Beat eggs with a fork and whisk in milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and maple syrup.  Pour milk  mixture over bread and cover pan with foil or wrap and refrigerate over night or for about an hour if you're baking it the same day.

Heat oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake uncovered for about 45-minutes or until it tests done.  Serve with warmed maple syrup and fresh fruit on the side (and maybe just a little whipped cream!)

Image credit and another version of this recipe can be found at:

1 comment:

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