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After my immense shame in not celebrating National Waffle Day on Saturday morning, I picked up a half loaf of day old clearance French bread (59 cents...bam!) with the intention of making french toast on Sunday as a consolation prize. And then I thought, "Jenni, making real French toast might require more work than you want on a summer Sunday." So off I went in search of inspiration for a baked French toast - ideally one that I could put together on Saturday and enjoy on Sunday.
One of Google's first stops was The Pioneer Woman. This was my first time visiting the blog and using one of her recipes. It was simple and brilliant. I modified it for an 8x8 pan since I had a half loaf, opted for skim milk instead of cream, and used strawberries as my fruit of choice. It's sweet, delicious and with strawberries, tastes like summer. Want to make a full 9x13 pan? Check out the original recipe here on her blog.
What You Need
For the bread
1/2 loaf of day old French bread
1 1/2 cups skim milk
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
For the topping
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of nutmeg
1/4 cup butter/margarine
If you want to add fruit, there are lots of options, I used 12 strawberries, quartered.
What You Do
Spray an 8x8 pan with cooking spray. Rip up the half loaf of bread and layer it in the pan. Why dirty a knife when you have perfectly capable hands? In a bowl, combine the eggs, milk, granulated sugar and vanilla. Whisk with a fork. Pour over the bread and then press the bread down so that most of it is covered by the egg/milk mixture. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and store in the fridge until you're ready to go (ie the next morning).
You can also make the topping the night before and just store it in a small zip bag in the fridge. Cut the flour, brown sugar, spices and butter together, either using a pastry cutter, or two knives (my method) until it resembles crumbs.
When you are ready to go, preheat the oven to 375. Unwrap your pan that has the bread/egg mixture. If you're going to add fruit, put it on first before adding the brown sugar topping. Bake for 40 minutes and serve while hot.
Never again will you have a sad loaf or half loaf of bread. You'll have delicious French toast instead.