French toast is always a popular breakfast in this house but it’s most often relegated to a Sunday morning when we have no need to be in a rush. It’s also not typically a favorite of mine where cooking it is concerned. When I have a crowd to feed, it seems like cooking the French toast in batches is a balancing act of dipping and cooking one batch while trying to keep a finished batch from getting cold, so we can all eat at the same time. I’ve managed to do this before by keeping the cooked French toast in a warm oven while I make the rest of it but that still leaves me with the problem of the bigger the crowd, the longer I’m standing over the stove flipping French toast. Well, this recipe is a great way to end that madness.
This casserole is easy to put together at night, and bake up for a crowd the next morning. It’s so nice to smell this baking while I’m working on my first cup of coffee. I like to make this if I have bread that’s on the brink of being stale, but any bread you have hanging around (stale or not), will work fine. I do like Texas toast for this but I’ve made this successfully with everything from crusty Italian to plain sandwich bread. Now that I’m on a mission to not buy bread at the store, I think I’ll use this recipe to use up any bread machine bread I have hanging around. I can’t stand soggy French toast, and I love that this casserole is soft inside but not at all soggy. By “overnight,” I should clarify that means this can be assembled the night before and sit in the fridge for at least twelve hours and it’ll be fine. I usually assemble it once we’ve cleaned up from dinner and served it around 9 or 10 a.m. the next day and it’s always been fine. I wouldn’t make it much more than twelve hours before you plan to serve it, and ten hours is ideal.
Overnight French Toast Casserole
- 1/2 C. (1 stick) butter, melted
- 12 slices Texas toast or any other leftover bread
- 1 C. brown sugar
- 2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 5 eggs
- 1 1/2 C. milk (I’ve used everything from skim to heavy cream and they all work fine)
- optional: 1/2 C. chopped pecans
Pour the melted butter into a 9×13 inch glass baking dish.
In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and the nuts (if using).
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, and vanilla together.
Place six of the bread slices in a single layer on top of the melted butter in the baking dish.
Sprinkle half of the brown sugar mixture evenly over the top of the bread slices.
Place the remaining bread slices in a single layer on top of the sugar mixture.
Pour the egg mixture evenly over the layered bread.
Sprinkle the remaining sugar mixture evenly over the top of the casserole.
Cover the dish in foil and refrigerate overnight.
In the morning, remove the casserole from the refrigerator, remove the foil and cover it with a new piece of foil.
Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Bake the casserole for 30 minutes.
Remove the foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, until the casserole is browned and set.