This is one of those recipes that you have to consciously choose to ignore the calories and just savor the deliciousness. If you really think about what you’re eating, you’re in trouble. I prefer making french toast as a baked casserole partially because I tend to burn at least half of the loaf when I cook it in a pan and also because it allows everyone to eat hot food at the same time. This particular recipe comes from Paula Deen…I RARELY make anything of hers simply because I refuse to add more than 6 tbs of butter to anything I eat. And even this recipe needed heavy modification before I was okay with the ingredients (and even then, it’s still one of those “ignore the calories” recipes). The topping actually calls for 2 sticks of butter….eesh. But anyway, here it is…
Baked French Toast Casserole
-adapted from Paula Deen
1 loaf challah, hawaiian, or other eggy bread
8 large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Praline Topping, recipe follows
Slice bread into 20 slices, 1-inch each. 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 whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Spoon some of the mixture in between the slices. Cover with foil 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.
6 tbs unsalted butter
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup chopped pecans
1 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and blend well.