French Toast Bake Casserole


This recipe is something that I love to bake at home. It’s not a quick and easy recipe to do, but it’s fun to make, and it’s great to eat with family and friends. The main thing I love about this recipe is that you can add different ingredients to suit you or anyone’s liking. I love to saute apples with cinnamon and brown sugar to add to the casserole. This recipe is also great served with your favorite icecream!


Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 50 minutes

Total Time: 9 hours, 25 minutes


Ingredients

· 1 (12-14 ounce) loaf french bread, sourdough bread, or challah*

· 8 ounces (224g) brick-style cream cheese, softened to room temperature*

· 2 Tablespoons (15g) confectioners’ sugar (don’t leave it out, trust me)

· 3 teaspoons (15ml) pure vanilla extract, divided

· 8 large eggs

· 2 and 1/4 cups (540ml) whole milk

· 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

· 2/3 cup (133g) packed light brown sugar


Sauteed Apples Recipe

· ¼ cup butter

· 4 large tart apples – peeled, cored and sliced ¼ inch

· 2 teaspoons of cornstarch

· ¼ cup cold water

· ½ cup brown sugar

· ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon


Streusel Topping

· 1/3 cup (69g) packed light brown sugar

· 1/3 cup (42g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)

· 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

· 6 Tablespoons (86g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed

· optional: fresh fruit, maple syrup, and/or confectioners’ sugar for topping


Instructions

1. Grease a 9×13 pan with butter or spray with nonstick spray. Slice and cut the bread into cubes, about 1 inch in size. Spread half of the cubes into the prepared baking pan. Using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, beat (room temperature,not cold!) cream cheese on medium-high speed until completely smooth. Add in the confectioners’ sugar and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract until combined. Drop random spoonfuls of cream cheese mixture on top of the bread. Next layer with sauteed apples if you desire. Layer the remaining bread cubes on top of cream cheese. Set aside.

2. Whisk the eggs, milk, cinnamon, brown sugar, and remaining vanilla together until no lumps remain. Pour over the bread. Cover the pan tightly with plastic wrap and put in the refrigerator for 3 hours – overnight. Overnight is best.

3. preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Remove pan from the refrigerator.

4. Prepare the topping: Whisk the brown sugar, flour, and cinnamon together in a medium bowl. Add in the cold cubed butter with a pastry blender or forks. Sprinkle the topping over the soaked bread.

5. Bake uncovered for 45-55 minutes or until golden brown. I usually bake it for 45 minutes because I like it softer. Serve immediately. Cover leftovers tightly and store them in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.


Things you should keep in mind with some of the ingredients

Bread: Day-old, crusty bread is perfect for French toast casseroles. I prefer challah bread. Slice it up and let it sit out all day. You’ll wind up with about 12 cups of cubed bread. A little is OK.

Cream Cheese: Since the cream cheese is only mixed with a little sugar and vanilla, make sure you are using quality cream cheese that tastes good. I love full-fat Philadelphia brand brick-style cream cheese for this dish.


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