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French Toast Casserole


I started making this french toast for Christmas morning breakfast, but it's so easy that I now make it whenever I have leftover french bread that's about to go stale. It's inspired by a Pioneer Woman recipe, but I change things up every time. For camping, I like to make it ahead and freeze in a small tin loaf pan. If it's a bigger group, I make two. 

Ingredients:
  • 1 loaf of french bread cut into cubes (best if it's a few days old)
  • 1 cup of heavy cream (I only had 1/2 cup so I mixed it with 1/2 cup skim milk and it was fine)
  • 1 tsp of cinnamon
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tbs. sugar
  • 2 tbs. maple syrup

Topping:
  • 4 tbs. butter
  • 2 tbs. flour
  • 1 tbs. sugar
  • 2 tbs. brown sugar
One of the most important things about this recipe is to let the bread dry out before you make it. If you skip this step, it won't be exactly right. Still delicious, but it won't have the perfect consistency. I like to tear the bread into quarters and leave it out for a day. When it feels firm, I cut it into cubes. 
When that's done, mix the eggs, cream, cinnamon, sugar and syrup in a big bowl. Then, submerge the cubes in the liquid. From there you can put it in a tin loaf pan and cover. I like to let it sit in the fridge for a day before I freeze it. That ensures the bread soaks up the liquid. 
While it's in the fridge, go ahead and make the topping, which you can also freeze. Cut each tbs. of butter into 4 cubes. put it in a bowl and mix with flour  and both sugars. You can use a fork or a pastry cutter to really mix the ingredients then put it in a bag and freeze. You want the butter to be pea-sized. That said, I have taken the lazy route and mixed it together in a ziploc with my hands. It turned out just fine. 
Make sure to take it out of the freezer one day before you plan to cook. If you forget, it's fine, it will just take a bit longer. I even like to take it out of the fridge an hour before baking so that it's not so cold and put the topping on top. 
We have an oven in our RV, so I put it in there at 350 for about 30-40 minutes. If you don't have an oven, you can certainly put this on the grill or even in a water bath in your dutch oven. Just fill it up about an inch with water and put it on the coals with the lid on. Keep an eye on it. You'll know it's done when you push on the center and it's slightly firm. We like to serve with syrup and whipped cream! 

 


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