Wow, 2 posts in as many days! Glad my cooking/baking/blogging mojo is finally back--I was getting worried and Graham was getting hungry.
This was the second of two "main courses" that I served for Mother's Day Brunch this year, and it was the second of two make-ahead dishes I prepared. These, my friends, are lifesavers. I spent as much time as possible trying to figure out ways we could host brunch and I could still get my requisite 9 hours of sleep. Hey! I was in my first trimester. If I didn't get all the sleep I needed I was useless to pretty much everyone.
Baked Vanilla & Almond French Toast
(adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
1 loaf of supermarket bakery challah bread, cut into 1 inch slices
3 c. milk (use a little more if you onl.y have skim)
3 large eggs
3 T. sugar, plus more to taste
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. almond extract
Sliced almonds, for garnish
Cinnamon, to taste
Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with butter. Layer bread cubes in 2 layers in the baking dish. Sprinkle in a handful of sliced almonds.
Whisk together milk, eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla, and almond extract. Pour over cut up challah bread and baking dish. Sprinkle with cinnamon & sugar, to taste.
Cover with plastic wrap and refridgerate overnight.
Bake at 425 F. for 30 minutes, or until puffed and golden.
Cut into generous squares (Seriously--who eats a wimpy square of french toast? No one I know!) and serve with your favorite toppings.
- Now, had I not been so tired that I slept for ridiculous amounts of time a night, I would have been a little more thorough and sprinkled the finished product with powdered sugar and perhaps even found some fresh fruit to serve alongside. But, the maple syrup we had did the trick for me. I have simple wants.
- I wasn't a huge fan of the challah, so next time I'd use a thicker bread, maybe even a "french toast" bread like they sell in the super markets. There was something about the taste that just didn't jive with me. (Or maybe it was the fact that it was Shop & Save challah?)
- The bread will soak up this delicious milk custard whild you sleep--magic! But fair warning: the baking dish will be heavy as fill-in-the-blank when you take it out of the fridge the next morning.
- As you can see, putting your baking dish into the oven long-ways inside of sideways will result in a slightly crispy top to some of your bread pieces. Lesson learned: Don't cook longways like Frazzoo. (And don't try to cram more into your 1970s oven than is absolutely necessary.