Something as time-consuming as French Toast lends itself to weekends only when you can take your time dipping and cooking each slice. I love French Toast and don’t want to have to wait until weekends to make it. Thank goodness for the concept of Overnight French Toast, in which you just pour a batter over a baking dish full of slices of bread, ready to toss in the oven in the morning. It means you CAN have the treat of French Toast any day of the week! Yay!
Easy Overnight French Toast
Serves 6-8 people
1 loaf of old (and starting to harden) bread * sliced approximately 1/2 inch thick
12 ounces whole milk
4 whole eggs or 3 whole eggs plus one egg white (egg substitute can also be used)
1 TBS flax meal or wheat germ
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar, divided
Diced pecans and/or walnuts (optional)
Coat an oblong baking dish or two square baking dishes with butter or spray with non-stick spray (make sure to spray over the sink to avoid messy over-spray).
Lay the bread slices into the pan, turning them however you have to to make them fill the pan as completely as you can. You may have to cut some slices in half but that’s totally okay.
Mix all the liquid ingredients (and flax or wheat germ), starting with the milk. A handy tip is to measure the milk into a 4-cup measuring cup, adding each of the other ingredients. Then use a fork or whisk right there in the measuring cup to mix it up. It makes it easier and tidier to pour directly from a measuring cup and saves a mixing bowl or two.
Before pouring the liquid over the bread slices, mix in 1/4 of the brown sugar, retaining half. Pour the liquid as evenly as possible over all the bread. Don’t worry about how liquidy it all looks. The liquid will be absorbed as it sits.
Sprinkle the remaining brown sugar over the top, as evenly as possible. Don’t worry that it doesn’t cover every inch. After all, you’ll be pouring sweet syrup over it. Sprinkle pecans or walnuts over the top too. Because I have a child who doesn’t like nuts, I didn’t chop mine up so that he could easily remove them (and give them to me because I LOVE them!).
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and place in the refrigerator where it can sit evenly and isn’t likely to get nudged overnight.
In the morning, preheat the oven to 400 degrees. With the foil still on, bake the dish for 15 minutes. Then remove the foil and brown it another 10 minutes for a total of 25 minutes. I preheat the oven and get the pan in as soon as I get up in the morning so that the French Toast is warm and ready by the time we’re all ready for breakfast.
Using a spatula, scoop out servings and enjoy with syrup.
Note: Italian or French bread work great but this dish is a great reason to check out the day-old bread rack at your grocery store and try different breads including ones with seeds and nuts or even cranberries inside. Experiment!