Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Recipe Review - French Toast Bake

Cliff's parents recently celebrated their 38th wedding anniversary! It's a wonderful reason to celebrate and we wanted to do something special for them on this day, but we had a complicated week. It was the kick-off of Cliff's sporting clay's season, we had dinner plans with friends for Cliff's birthday, and we had a funeral to attend, just for starters. I knew we weren't going to get a chance to really do much in the way of a celebration, but still wanted it to be special. Since I had time the night before their anniversary, we picked up flowers and a card and prepared a breakfast dish that they could just pop in the oven the next morning.

I made Rachel's French Toast Bake and it was so easy and delicious! I know because I actually divided it into two 8" square pans instead of the standard 9 x 13, which would have been too much for them anyway. So, they had an 8" pan of French Toast Bake for breakfast on Thursday morning and so did we! I'm a big fan of the recipes that you can prep the night before and just pop in the oven in the morning. I wasn't sure how this one would hold up as I read some reviews that said it was too soggy. I definitely didn't think it was soggy and I know that my family and Cliff's parents didn't either. We all loved it! It was a bit more like caramel bread than typical French Toast, but there were absolutely no complaints about that. It was wonderful!

I toyed with the idea of adding a layer of cream cheese and diced canned peaches in the center, but opted to follow the recipe the first time. I'm glad I followed the recipe to start with, but I know it would also be delicious with cream cheese and peaches, so I'm going to try that next time!

Here is the recipe the way I made it, adapted slightly from the original by Rachel!

French Toast Bake

1/2 cup melted butter (1 stick)
1 cup brown sugar
1 loaf Texas toast (it took slightly less than a full loaf for me)
4 eggs
1 1/2 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla

(Photo from Rachel)

1. Melt butter in microwave
2. Add brown sugar and stir together until combined
3. Pour 1/2 of the butter/brown sugar mix into bottom of each of two 8" square pans and spread around

4. In a separate shallow pan, beat eggs, milk, & vanilla
5. Dip the Texas Toast in the egg mixture one slice at a time and lay in a single layer on top of the brown sugar mixture in each pan
6. Thinly spread a very thin layer of softened butter on top of the bread in the pan.
7. Sprinkle the top of the first layer with cinnamon
8. Dip Texas Toast for the 2nd layer in the egg mixture and layer it on top of the first in each pan. I trimmed my pieces of bread to fit perfectly in the pan and filled any gaps with leftover trimmings
9.Spread another very very thin layer of softened butter on top of the toast
10. Sprinkle top with a small amount of regular white sugar if you want. 
11. Cover & chill in fridge overnight
12. In the morning, bake at 350 for 45 minutes
10. Slice into squares, remove with a spatula and serve upside down so the brown-sugar base is actually on top. Sprinkle with a little powdered sugar.

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