I love to treat my family to a special breakfast on the weekends since our weekday meals consist mostly of cereal, yogurt, and orange juice. I mistakenly fed them some leftovers of a sinful baked french toast casserole I made for a brunch event. Though delicious, the original recipe I followed was much more like a dessert than a breakfast food. Unfortunately, my family loved it for exactly that reason and it tops their list for most requested special weekend breakfast dish.
So, I started messing around with the recipe to see if I could get the same flavor without using all the sugar, cream, and butter called for in the original recipe. It took a lot of less-than-perfect batches before I finally perfected it. Guests always assume this version is just as sinful as the original when I make it for them because it truly does have all the same creaminess and sweetness of a dessert. I won’t go so far as to call it “healthy” but it’s certainly a less unhealthy version of a delicious breakfast indulgence.
When I make it for my family, I typically serve it with fresh berries or frozen berries boiled into a compote, along with turkey bacon (to compensate for the butter in the French Toast).
Every once in a while, I’ll splurge on a different loaf to make the French Toast more interesting. In the version pictured below I used a Cinnamon Raisin loaf from Panera. Since we were really splurging, I let the kids count the raisins at fruit and I made regular bacon for the side.
A great spin on traditional french toast!
- 1 loaf French bread cut into 1-inch slices
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups fat-free milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/2 cup 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 T maple syrup
Spray a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish with cooking spray. Arrange bread slices in the bottom of the dish. You will have bread leftover which you can use to make a second casserole, for bread crumbs, or garlic bread later.
In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg. Whisk together until well mixed. Pour over bread slices, coating each slice. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning, preheat oven to 350°. While the oven is heating, combine the butter and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Melt over medium heat and cook until bubbling. Add maple syrup and stir well. Pour mixture over bread and egg mixture.
Bake at 350° for 40 minutes.