Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup

This is a great little recipe to serve at a brunch.  It is easy and tasty and looks pretty darn impressive, too.

Just don’t tell anyone, but it is crazy easy to put together.  Who doesn’t like a dish you can throw together the night before and pop it into the oven before your guests arrive.  They will walk through the door smelling this deliciously sweet breakfast casserole.    Let’s get started.

Cut your French bread into 1/2-inch thick slices.  Layer the bread in three rows in a 9×13″ pan.  The bread will overlap just a little bit.  Oh, and be sure to spray or butter your pan before you put your bread in the pan.

Mix together the eggs, half and half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and ground nutmeg.

Pour the mixture over the bread slices, making sure that the overlapped pieces get a little something, too.

Once the egg mixture has been poured over the top of the bread, cover with saran wrap and refrigerate overnight.  Take out the casserole about an hour before you are going to bake it.  This will take the chill off of the dish and will cook a little more evenly for you.

I made the praline topping the night before as well.  You just don’t want to spread it onto the bread until right before you are ready to bake the casserole.

Mix together the room temperature butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, cinnamon and nutmeg. 

Once this is mixed together add in the pecans.

Gently spread on the bread.  I had to put the praline mixture in the microwave for about 15 seconds so it would spread a little easier.  You just don’t want to tear the bread.

Now pop in the pre-heated 350 degree oven for about 40 minutes or until puffed and lightly golden.  Serve with maple syrup and a simple fruit salad.  Entertaining really can be easy.

Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup
Recipe courtesy of Paula Deen
Serves 6-8

1 loaf French bread (16 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup whole milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Dash salt
Praline Topping, recipe follows
Maple Syrup

Praline Topping:
2 sticks butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Combine all the praline ingredients together in a medium bowl and blend well.  Right before baking the casserole, spread the praline mixture on top of the bread, working gently so you do not tear the soaked bread.

Slice French bread into approximately 16 slices, 1-inch thick each.  (Use any extra bread for garlic toast or bread crumbs).  Arrange slices in a generously buttered 9 by 13-inch flat baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices.  In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt and beat with a whisk or rotary beater until blended but not too bubbly.  Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure that all are covered evenly with the milk and egg mixture.  Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices.  Cover with saran and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spread Praline Topping evenly over the bread and bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden.  Serve with maple syrup.  Serves 6-8


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