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French Toast Casserole with Cinnamon Bread Pudding

Bonus! We’ve got a 2-for-1 recipe for you today. In order to make this French Toast Casserole you’ll need to first make the Cinnamon Bread. Then you’re essentially making a bread pudding that comes together to create the flavor and texture you’d find in french toast.

The great news? It’s a perfect make-ahead food – so on special mornings when you’re busy or tired or feeling like the hair of the dog is in order (like New Years Day), you’ll have a relatively high protein, high fat food that feels like a special indulgence.

We recommend you make your bread at least a day ahead. I know. It’s awful. You want this NOW. But dried out bread soaks up the pudding more and makes this more like french toast, I promise!

 

Cinnamon Bread

Ingredients

Edited to add: we first posted this without the eggs included, this was a mistake! Our apologies, this is now the correct recipe – we didn’t transfer the chef’s scribbles onto the blog properly…

Instructions

  1. ♥ Add all ingredients (except raisins) into the food processor and pulse until combined. If you’re using homemade or a different brand of almond butter which isn’t oily, you may want to add oil until the batter is smooth and combines – you don’t want a crumbly batter. It should be similar in texture to a regular bread dough, like a loose play-doh.
  2. ♥ Fold in raisins (if using), we didn’t for the French Toast Casserole.
  3. ♥ Pour into a greased or lined 9×5 loaf pan.
  4. Bake at 350 for about an hour, checking regularly for when the top becomes slightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean (without any wet batter sticking to it). The bread will continue to cook slightly as it cools, so don’t overcook or the bread will become tough and hard.
  5. Let cool for about an hour on a cooling rack and then remove from pan. Slice for toast or cube for French Toast Casserole (below).

Now in and of itself this bread is great. It’s not too sweet and topped with a schmear of honey butter was just delicious. Or try it with our homemade Apple Butter and Pumpkin Butter! Even with using a full loaf pan, it is very sturdy and would make fantastic french toast in and of itself. I bet adding 1/2 a cup of raisins to be folded in before baking would make a delicious addition for Cinnamon Raisin Bread!

But if you, like us, are looking for an opportunity to cook ahead of time and avoid being in the kitchen for hours – then we recommend dicing this bread up (after eating a slice or two) and preparing the below custard. We made it plain as cinnamon bread to simulate the taste and texture of french toast, and it worked!

Custard for the French Toast Casserole

Instructions

  1. ♥ Slice and then cube cooled bread and wait a day!
  2. ♥ Lay bread cubes in a coconut oil greased 9″ by 13″ baking dish.
  3. ♥ In separate bowl, whisk together coconut milk, eggs, syrup, vanilla and cinnamon extract. Once combined stir in raisins.
  4. ♥ Pour custard over bread, lightly pushing down to soak all bread cubes and spreading raisins out evenly. Let the bread soak up the custard for at least an hour – we prepped all of this the night before and then baked off the next morning.
  5. ♥ Top with pecans.
  6. Bake uncovered for about 40-50 minutes at 375 degrees. It will take longer for the custard to set if the casserole is cold (from chilling overnight from soaking) when put into the oven. If you’d like this to be more like bread pudding, you’ll want to under-cook it slightly. For a more french toast-like casserole (what we recommend) then you’re looking for the custard to become stiff, with a slight give when touched.
  7. Let cool for 10 minutes; serve warm.

This is a perfect make-ahead dish! You can store the cooked casserole in the refrigerator for up to a week. Just pop back in the oven covered for a few minutes to heat through before serving. It can serve up to 12-18 people, depending on how many sides you serve.

Just be aware, this dish is NOT that sweet. Considering the amount of calories from protein and fat, the carb ratio is low. We didn’t have any concerns with giving it to our boys as it was in the morning, and for our special Christmas brunch we simply served it with maple syrup on the table for those that wanted it.

Let us know what special occasion you make this for and how it turned out. I think it’ll be a regular addition to our kitchen – considering how simple it is to make and how much it lasts!

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