Every year on Christmas Eve I would make this french toast casserole before heading out to my aunt's house for the annual family holiday get together. That way, the next morning when we all watch my niece open up her gifts from Santa, I can throw the casserole in the oven and by the time she's done, the casserole's done. It really does time out perfectly and I found that it is a lot more enjoyable to just relax Christmas morning with a hot cup of java, listening to Christmas music in the background while my niece tears into her gifts. However last year we were unable to make it home for the holidays but I still kept the tradition alive and made the casserole at home. I will have to do the same this year as well since we won't be home for the holidays again. Plus, I think I might be working on Christmas, so this might be more a dinner when I get home than a breakfast. Yeah, apparently National Parks don't close for Christmas and someone has to show up and talk to visitors. Oh well, I am not complaining, I would much rather work the holiday that have one of my co-workers who has a family at home waiting for them spending their Christmas day sitting in the visitor center.
This is a super simple casserole that you make the night before and let it sit and soak over night in the fridge. Then the next morning all you have to do is pretty much just throw it in the oven. I did alter the recipe quite a bit since it does come from Paula Dean and that woman likes her heavy creams and butter. I have also found that from previous years, if you cut the bread in cubes instead of slices, it soaks up the egg mixture better leaving you with perfect french toast texture throughout. As apposed to some parts being dried out and more toasted and others having a glob of egg on the side.
- 1 loaf of challah bread (any bread will work)
- 8 eggs
- 3 c. skim milk/soy milk
- 1 TBSP. sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- Slice bread into 1-inch thick cubes. Arrange bread onto buttered 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Combine all the ingredients above and whisk until blended. Pour egg mixture over the bread making sure all of the bread is evenly covered. Cover casserole with foil and store in the refrigerator over night.
- 1/2 c. butter/margarine
- 1 c. light brown sugar
- 1 c. pecans
- 2 Tbsp. lite calorie light corn syrup (not the dark stuff)
- 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
- Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well. Store in container in the refrigerator over night.
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- Praline topping will have separated over night, stir until well blended.
Pour mixture evenly over bread.
- Bake for 20 minutes with foil on. Remove foil and continue to bake an additional 20 until the bread is puffy and golden brown.
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