The high temperature today is 12 degrees in New York City. 12 degrees!
That means within seconds of being outside, any exposed skin feels like ICE. You literally walk around all day with a chill that drills down to your bones.
So, obviously, staying inside sounds more desirable than anything (outside of a trip to the tropics). And, eating hearty comfort food is the next best remedy to keep warm.
Wednesday nights are breakfast for dinner nights in our apartment. While my kids love their Chicken Asparagus quiches, the Zucchini and Cheese frittatas, and the homemade smoothies, the only breakfast dish that can pull its weight for dinner on such an arctic eve is Baked French Toast!
Baked French Toast is french toast that’s been baked in an oven and served like a casserole. While it sounds fancy, it follows the same steps involved in making classic french toast but introduces the oven instead of the skillet! And, of course you’ve got to add in other tasty, sinful ingredients like brown sugar, butter and sugar to enhance the overall flavor WOW factor.
If your kitchen is well-stocked, you won’t need to trudge out to make any last minute trips to the market. However, even though I had some challah on hand, I bought a fresh loaf of potato bread to use as the base for the dish. The operative word here is thickness. You want to bake with a bread that can really soak up the egg mixture without getting too flimsy and fall apart. Either a challah loaf you can cut yourself, or Potato Bread, or even Texas bread (if you can find it) are your best bets.
Oh, and resign yourself to the fact that this dish is NOT waist-friendly. Therefore, do not purchase any type of thin, low-calorie Weight Watcher’s-esque bread. It simply won’t do anything for the dish and you’ll be sacrificing flavor and texture.
So, dieters beware. You’ve been duly warned! This dish is dripping with sugary sweetness!
You can make this dish an art project for your kids as you carefully layer on the thick, moist, bread slices. You’ll probably need to creatively arrange the bread like puzzle pieces to make sure the entire pan is covered. Cut off the crusts too, it’s just easier. My son had a great time making sure there was no brown sugar poking through.
Next comes the cinnamon and egg, vanilla, milk mixture (the same one you’d use for french toast on the skillet). I poured half the mixture for this layer and saved the rest for the next layer of bread.
After you repeat this step for another layer of bread, the dish is ready for some oven time.
Within minutes your kitchen will be bursting with the comforting smells of baking bread and brown sugar.
When the dish is complete, I promise, you will not be able to contain yourself as you cut through the hick slices of baked french toast.
My kids ate two huge pieces and wanted more (I finally had to put my foot down. Remember, it’s not the healthy Pomegranate Smoothie).
The dish is so delectably sweet, there is absolutely no need for any extra butter, syrup, jelly, or powdered sugar.
And, do you know the BEST part about Breakfast for Dinner nights?
Having leftover Dinner for Breakfast the next morning!
I cut the remaining pieces up into smaller sticks and we had french toast sticks (that seems more breakfast-appropriate).
Oven-Baked French Toast
- 1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 loaf thick bread (Challah, Potato bread)
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/2 cup milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Cinnamon and sugar to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Melt butter in the microwave. Add brown sugar until it’s completely mixed.
- Pour butter/sugar mixture into bottom of greased 9 x 13 pan making sure it’s covering the bottom of the pan.
- In a mixer, beat eggs together with the milk and vanilla extract.
- Cut bread pieces and layer them on bottom of the pan making sure that it is completely covered.
- Pour 1/2 of the egg mixture onto the bread layer.
- Sprinkle a generous amount cinnamon/sugar over top the bread.
- Add second layer of cut bread pieces.
- Pour over top bread the remaining egg mixture.
- Sprinkle more cinnamon.sugar mixture over top the bread.
- Cover and let set and chill in the refrigerator for a few hours prior to baking.
- Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.