So for Mother's Day brunch this year, I decided to give the lovely and charming Miss Paula Deen's Baked French Toast Casserole a try. And I was very happy I did. I used a somewhat small (in diameter) loaf of French bread, and I think next time I would use a bigger-sized loaf. But it was a breeze to make, and came out tasting yummy. Best of all, you make it the night before, and the morning of your breakfast or brunch, just pop it out of the fridge, sprinkle on the topping, bake it for 40 minutes, and enjoy.
Baked French Toast Casserole
1 loaf of French bread (13 to 16 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 TBSP sugar (I used Splenda for Baking)
1 TSP vanilla extract
1/4 TSP cinnamon
1/4 TSP nutmeg
Dash of salt
Praline topping (see below)
Maple syrup (I omitted, since the French toast seemed sweet enough without it)
1. Slice French bread into 20 slices, 1-inch thick each. Arrangle slices in a generously buttered or sprayed 9x13 flat baking dish in two rows, overlapping the slices.
2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt and beat with a rotary beater or whisk until blended, but not too bubbly.
3. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some mixture in between the slices. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
4. The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1/2 pound (2 sticks) butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 TBSP light corn syrup
1/2 TSP cinnamon
1/2 TSP nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well. Spread evenly over the bread, and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden.