Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Baked French Toast Casserole

I was going to post this recipe this past weekend, but due to two different family emergencies, my husband and I had to make a quick and crazy trip out of town and we've just returned. (Sorry, Tori!) :( My husband's father had to have an unexpected surgery and his grandmother took a turn for the worse. We drove 750+ miles but were able to make it back in time for my husband to see his 93 year-old grandmother before she passed. We were able to take our little man up to the hospital to see his grandpa and make him smile. Lots of travel. Lots of stress. However, I'm so glad we got there when we did. 

This past Easter, we celebrated the day with some wonderful friends. 
My girlfriend Michelle made this french toast casserole and OH MY GOODNESS!! It is so good! I've lost track of how many times I've made this since Easter. It's a Paula Deen recipe, so you know it's good. Just plan a trip to the gym shortly before or after you make this one. :) enough rambling. Here's what you'll need. :)

1 loaf of French bread
8 large eggs
2 c. 1/2 & 1/2
1 c. milk
2 T. sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
1/4 t. cinnamon
1/4 t. nutmeg
dash of salt
*Praline Topping (recipe below)

*Praline Topping Ingredients and Directions*

1/2 lb (2 sticks) butter
1 c. packed light brown sugar
1 c. chopped pecans
2 T. light corn syrup
1/2 t. cinnamon
1/2 t. nutmeg

For praline topping: Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. 

Begin preparing the casserole by slicing your French bread into 1-inch slices. Arrange the slices in two rows in a buttered 9x13 baking dish. Be sure to overlap the slices. 

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, 1/2&1/2, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Beat with a rotary beater or whisk until well-blended, but don't make it too bubbly. 

Pour mixture evenly over the bread slices. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. 

The next day, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread praline topping over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. 

Just a couple of side notes....
  • The original recipe calls for you to serve this dish with maple syrup. However, I think it is PLENTY sweet without. 
  • I usually put all the ingredients for the praline topping into a bowl the night before and just cover with clear plastic wrap or a lid. I don't mix it until I'm ready to spread it over the casserole the next morning. It's nice to have it out and all ready to go when I get up though. :D
  • Place a cookie sheet covered with foil below your casserole while baking. Believe me! It's worth it. I've had to clean the oven several times because I failed to do this. :)
  • Try serving COLD slices with coffee at a brunch. My husband loves this dish cold. He says it tastes just like bread pudding.
  • I usually serve this dish with bacon. So yummy! :)
Paula Deen's French Toast Casserole = Sweet Treat for Hungry Runners - Just Don't Tell the Coach. :D

Hope you enjoy! If you try it, let me know what you think! 


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