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Saturday, April 22, 2017

BAKED FRENCH TOAST CASSEROLE

Okay people....watch out....this recipe could be very dangerous!  It is so delicious, you may need to designate a loved one to assist you with portion control.

This dish was the "sweet" that I chose for my Easter brunch.  It makes a huge panful, and even though I had seven people at brunch I ended up with half of a 9x13 pan of leftovers.   That could also have to do with the fact that I had a lot of food....none-the-less....if you want to feed more like 2-4 people, be sure to cut the recipe in half.
I made this the day of, but it can be made the night before and baked in the morning.  Unlike many recipes, the streusel amount is very generous, offering a thick layer of crunch topping.   Personally, I loved the proportion of streusel to casserole.


INGREDIENTS:

Streusel
2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
½ cup salted butter (sliced into 8 pieces)
4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Casserole
12-13 cups cubed, hearty bread (I bought two bakery style loves; 1 sourdough and 1 wheat)
8 large eggs
3 cups whole milk
½ cup white sugar  (I went a little light on this since the topping has so much sugar)
½ tsp. vanilla extract
*pure maple syrup for serving


DIRECTIONS:

Make the streusel.  Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, mix well using your hands until it resembles chunky, damp sand.  Cover and keep in fridge to chill until you finish assembling the casserole. 

Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray (sides and bottom).  Place the 12 cups of bread cubes in the dish.  In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, sugar, salt and vanilla whisking thoroughly to incorporate.  Pour egg mixture evenly and slowly over the bread cubes.  Gently toss to ensure even coating of all bread cubes.  If there seems to be too much excess liquid, add another cup of bread cubes until liquid seems mostly absorbed (there will be a thin layer of excess liquid at the bottom).

If making the night before, cover and place in fridge.  Gently toss the bread cubes again before baking.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.  Sprinkle chilled streusel evenly over the top of the casserole.  Bake for 45-60 minutes or until topping is nicely browned and bubbly.  If it starts to look too browned at the 45 minute mark, loosely tent with foil and continue baking as needed.  (Mine was perfect at 60 minutes)

Allow to cool about 10-15 minutes and serve with warm maple syrup.  

Enjoy!
recipe c/o: www.chewoutloud.com

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