Monday, April 9, 2012

Cinnamon Streusel French Toast Bake

Once upon a time I thought that all french toast bakes were created equally. Every single one I tried had been excellent. Then I tried a delightsome looking recipe called Peaches 'n Cream French Toast.

Sounds cute and yummy huh? Wrong.

I mean it was okay tasting, but the texture was all wrong. The bread was downright soggy. And overly eggy. And under baked, even though I baked the heck out of it! And I am a fan of under baked—believe you me. I've never been a crispy cookie kind of gal. But under baked does not do well in french toast form. It tastes blah.

For a while, I lost a little faith in baked french toast recipes, but I mustered the courage to try another, and wow! I'm glad I did.

This Cinnamon Streusel French Toast Bake is scrumptious and surprisingly simple! You can throw everything together the night before (including the streusel) and just pop it in the oven in the morning. Perfect for guests or weekends when you just need to eat something special. My family and I ate it for a lovely Easter brunch!

And if you've had an experience similar to mine with ooey gooey gross french toast, have no fear! You can cook this anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour depending on how crispy you want it. 45 minutes will be pretty soft (although not sickly soggy) and an hour will be well done.
    Cinnamon Streusel French Toast Bake
    Slightly adapted from Pioneer Woman 

    French Toast
    • 1 large round loaf crusty sourdough or french bread (I used 2 small ones)
    • 8 eggs
    • 2 cups whole milk
    • 1/2 cup heavy cream
    • 3/4 cups sugar
    • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
    • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
    • ¼ tsp nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces
    • 1/2 cup flour
    • Fresh fruit (optional, I used blueberries)
    Grease 9 x 13 baking pan with butter. Tear bread into chunks and evenly distribute in the pan. Mix together eggs, milk, cream, sugar, and vanilla. Pour evenly over bread. Then sprinkle it with fruit if you're using any. I loved it with blueberries!

     Cover tightly and store in the fridge several hours or overnight.

    In a separate bowl, mix flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Add butter pieces and use a pasty cutter to cut into the dry mixture until mixture resembles fine pebbles. If you don't have a pastry cutter, you should get one! They're cheap and super useful. But you can improvise and use a couple of forks to incorporate it as much as you can. Then store the little crumbles in a Ziploc bag in the fridge.

    When you're ready to bake the casserole, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove the casserole from the fridge and sprinkle crumb mixture over the top.

    Bake for 45 minutes for a softer texture and up to 1 hour or more for a firmer, crispier result. Scoop out portions on to a pretty plate and drizzle with warm maple syrup. Serve alongside french strawberries and raspberries, if you have them!

    What did you and your family do for Easter this year? Grades and I drove to Baltimore to spend it with my parents and my Grandma and Grandpa Lemoncelli. We attended two different church services where we heard a lot of beautiful music and wonderful lessons about our Savior Jesus Christ. Oh, and we ate an embarrassing amount of Momma-made peanut butter eggs. Among other delicious treats like sweet potato casserole, honey glazed ham, cheesy potatoes—the list goes on and on. Needless to say, Gradon and I are still sleeping it off.

    We also went to downtown Baltimore's Hippodrome Theatre to see a broadway show called Memphis! It was excellent! I still can't get all of the fabulous songs out of my head.


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    2. This looks wonderful. I have been looking for something different than my usual old fashioned french toast. Not that mine isn't great. It is just tedious and keeps me in the kitchen while everyone else is hanging out.

      Thank you for sharing this recipe.

      1. I totally know what you mean! It's awesome to do the prep work beforehand and get to enjoy your company. Thanks for stopping by--let me know how you like it!