Saturday, December 24, 2011

French Toast Casserole

My present to you is something simple to pop in the oven on Christmas Morning.  This casserole is soft, buttery and so yummy. Oh did I mention it's easy to make?

French Toast Casserole
from JennyMac Lipsmack

1 loaf french bread, cut into 1-inch cubes (10 cups)
8 eggs
3 cups half and half (or cream if you want it silky rich)
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
12 strips of bacon, cooked and broken into pieces. 
2 tablespoons butter, cubed
3 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
maple syrup

Using a serrated knife cube your french bread into one inch pieces.  
In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs, cream, sugar, vanilla and salt.  Add bread and mix with egg mixture to coat.  Add bacon pieces and mix again.

Grease a 13X9 baking dish (those non stick glass ones are awesome).  Pour all your eggy bready bacony mixture into the baking dish.  Cover and place in fridge overnight.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Uncover and give the bread another stir.  Sprinkle cinnamon sugar all over the bread cubes and dot with butter.  Cover with non stick foil and bake for 45-50 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Serve with maple syrup.
So rich and creamy, I love the smokey bacon with the sweet maple and the not really sweet eggy bread. 

Cooks Notes:
1.  Do not cut off that fabulous crust.  This recipe is awesome even with a day old loaf.  I bought my bread on Tuesday and prepped this Friday afternoon.  Yes, it was 'sketchy' to cut however my fingers all remained intact.
2. If you have homemade vanilla sugar hanging around like I FORGOT to use, this would be the ideal time to use it.
3.  I am going to try this again with some toasted pecans on top....YUM!!!!

Post Script.....
I hope you all are healthy and WARM this holiday season!  We've had a tough few weeks with no heat.  Our house was built in 1959.  We bought it 5 years ago knowing that the 3 Horsemen of the Homeowner's Apocalypse (the furnace, A/C and hot water heater) were OLD.  We feel we were truly blessed from this whole ordeal.   The Carbon Monoxide detector has been going off since last year and we were being stubborn and complacent.  We thought the detector was probably old...took it down, replaced it.  It didn't go off again....few months later it went off...."oh the batteries probably need to be replaced" (um, there is a signal for THAT by the way on the detector).  All the while the detector was going off during the middle of the night waking us up @ 3 in the morning.  The one night K-man was working through the night on a water main break and I was home alone the detector went off one hour after I turned on the heat when I came home from work.  This was odd.  I called K-man....what do I do?  (WHAT, WHERE was my brain?- mmmm, fuzzy from fumes perhaps?)
I called the Fire Dept and waited with my neighbor outside for them to arrive.  I let them in the front door and watched them come in with their CO monitor in hand.  As soon as he stepped in it beeped and he said It's 148!  Pointed to me.  "YOU- Get out."  What you may or may not know, BELOW 35 ppm (parts per million) is okay but anything above that is considered toxic and potentially lethal.  I was sitting in a house where the million of the oxygen molecules were tainted with 148 carbon monoxide ones!....I had no headache, no nausea, no vomiting, wasn't sleepy....however my common sense and get up and go safety know-how was stagnant.  I remember just standing there with K-man on the phone, listening to him tell me what to do and thinking/pouting...."why can't he be here and do this?"  I NEVER THINK like THAT....Add the symptom of DELERIUM to list from CO exposure.  Alas, a cracked heater exchange on a circa 1988 furnace was the cause.
Anyway.....since major appliances like the furnace, A/C and hot water heater a big to-do, located near one another and connected (via gas) and were ALL old.  Bundle the price, work....replace them all at once.  Holy crap.  1988= furnace and HWH but the A/C was the original install!  None of the houses in our development had A/C originally and the original owner of our house finally broke down in the 60's to put it in.  The estimator said it was a miracle we've been having any A/C in the past summers because this model belonged in a museum.  LOL.  So there you have $11,000 to our wallet during the holidays. LOVELY.  Bottom Line....YOU ALL NEED TO MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A CO DETECTOR IN YOUR HOUSE AND CALL 911 IF IT GOES OFF....we are so lucky to be alive.

Enjoying our warmth and feeling blessed, we wish the very same to you as 2011 comes to a close....

POST POST SCRIPT....thanks Anonymous commenter for your tip on correcting my error on the difference between carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2).  Clearly my brain was still not functioning right in writing this post since I DO know my chemical elements and their abbreviations usually.  But thanks for your CONCERN.


Shecia said...

Sounds sooo yummy! Hope you had a Merry Christmas

Anonymous said...

so glad you are good!

Anonymous said...

Going to make this for a "Valentine Brunch" on Saturday!! Can't wait!!! :-D <3 ~Amber

Chrissy said...

Do you think this could be made ahead and froze?

JennyMac said...

This dish is made the night before to enable all the cream to soak in the bread. If you made this and froze it, you would have to make it one night, bake it the next day, cool to room temp and then freeze it. I don't think freezing this 'raw' would be a good idea. Also freezing it 'cooked' would run the risk of it drying out. I am certainly all for people experimenting with my recipes as that is what I do with others. I've read. If you try it, let me know!!!

MyLifesaverServices said...

i have made this twice for sunday school snack (leaving out the bacon to reduce cost) and it was a hit! i made a simple glaze of powdered sugar w/ a tablespoon of milk and poured over the top to make it sweet, creamy yet travel and serve easy. they loved it! thanks for the idea and it tastes wonderful! i want to make it soon for my family with the bacon! love bacon! thanks for this easy yum recipe!

megawatt said...

Hi Jenny,
I have had this recipe pinned for a while, but just this morning decided to try it. But your post script is why I am commenting. My brother and 3 of his friends (all under 20) died because of CO four years ago. People don't know how lethal it is - but when dealing with something odorless, colorless, tasteless, invisible and non-irritating to the skin, THERE ARE NO WARNINGS! Please keep spreading the word on your experience; you are so very lucky to have lived to tell the tale.

Most Sincerely,
Meg Watt
Founder, Four Friends Memorial

CrazyNutsMom said...

I found this recipe on pinterest and I just have to try it. I was wondering if you let the casserole sit for a day before cooking or is this a one day event. My hubby said some of these types of casseroles sit over night (in the fridge). I just want to be sure I don't mess this up (I'm a pro a messing up recipes!)

Amy Stec said...

Ok... So do you use a baguete (sp?) Because that's the only French bread we could find.

Jenny MacKinnell said...

Amy, any bread can work. Since the bread is in cubes you can't really recognize which is used. So use what you have or enjoy. Baguettes are perfect.

Amber said...

I followed this recipe exactly as listed. I let it sit overnight, and just baked it this morning. It turned out awful :( All around the edges and on the bottom the egg mixture turned into scrambled eggs. The whole thing tastes like weird eggs. I have no idea what went wrong.

Jenny MacKinnell said...

Amber, for you to have 'egg mixture' on the bottom and edges sounds like two things: There wasn't enough bread to soak up the mixture or it wasn't soaking long enough. The bread should have totally absorbed the eggs making chunks of 'french toast' in this casserole. Check the temperature of your oven with a oven thermometer as well. Other than those ideas....not sure what else to tell you. Many others on here have had success. Sorry to hear about your sad results.

Nishu Roi said...

Really this is a best french toast are easy to make french toast this is my favorite breakfast.

here many how to make ideas:

Anonymous said...

I have made this recipe before and took it to work, where everyone loved it! I was wondering to lessen some time in the mornings, could you let this cook in a crockpot overnight?

Tonya Smither said...

Can this be made in the crockpot? If so, what temp and what setting? Thank you!

beth said...

I added extra cinnamon in the egg mixture plus extra vanilla and a bit of almond extract. Still didn't have much flavor. Took a Lil longer to cook but turned out pretty. I'll use it again but tweak it a bit more. Thanks

Jenny MacKinnell said...

Tonya, I have no idea what to tell you. I would think preparing this before bed and putting it on LOW would work....but I am not sure because depending on what type of crockpot....this casserole may end up thicker and longer to cook. I know this doesn't really help...but play with it and let me know how it went!

alexa sanchez said...

Can you bake it in disposable cookware or does it need to be glass or ceramic

Jenny Saunders said...

Alexa, although I haven’t tried this....I don’t see why you couldn’t use a disposable pan. Just be careful transporting it in the fridge overnight with egg/cream, the pan may collapse. It’s a heavy casserole.