Friday, September 12, 2008

Boozy Chocolate French Toast Casserole

You may recall I made a large batch of spinach artichoke dip recently and served it at not one, but two get togethers I had at my home last week. For each party I purchased a round loaf of sourdough bread in which to serve the dip. Although I can’t explain what led me to save the “caps” and hollowed out bread from these bowls, I did and was left with a large zip top bag full of ugly misshaped sour dough bread chunks.

Two days ago it finally hit me what I can do with the left over bread – French Toast Casserole. After a simple search on I found several recipes that I used as a template for my sweet breakfast casserole.

Let’s get started shall we? First thing to do is DON’T forget to grease your baking dish with butter or non-stick spray. Which I did. Not a huge problem because this is a very moist casserole, but it would help to get every morsel of good stuff out after baking. To start the assembly, I began by drizzling the bottom of my baking dish with maple syrup, then sprinkled with brown sugar.

Tear your left over bread to form one layer across bottom.

Top with 4-6 pats of butter. I’m only doing this because PW does this in her Sleepin’ In Omelett (Which is brilliant by the way. I made the Sleepin’ In Omelett for a work event and everyone flipped over it. I had at least five request for this recipe.)

Now because we want to a tad healthy here I’m going to sprinkle with cinnamon and two handfuls of granola. This is the homemade ginger granola that I purchased at the Austin Farmers Market.
Tear another layer of bread across your dish, add two handfuls of granola, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a little bit of nutmeg.

I went to look for pecans but didn’t have any. What I did find were some semi-sweet chocolate chips. Hey! Let’s make this a chocolate french toast casserole!!
Top with more pats of butter. PW would be proud.

In a mixing bowl start with 3 cups of milk, and whisk in 4 eggs, 3 tablespoons of sugar, ½ teaspoon of salt, and then whatever flavoring you want.
I was planning on making mine a “boozy-chocolate-french-toast-casserole” by using 3 tablespoons of Bailey’s but I only had a tablespoon left, so I added what I had left of the Bailey’s and then two tablespoons of Kahlua. You could also use 3 tablespoons Cointreau, and Frangelico (hazelnut), Chambord (raspberry), Creme de Cassis (black currant) Grand Marnier or just a teaspoon or two of vanilla or almond extract would be wonderful here. Also, you could bump up the citrus flavor with a teaspoon of zest, add a half-cup of chopped nuts such as almond slivers or pecans between layers or on top.
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 if you need to. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The bread will absorb all of the milk custard while you sleep.

In the morning when you are still half asleep, set your oven to 400 degrees and then bake your casserole for 30-45 minutes (depends on how many layers you made and how thick your french toast is.) Just watch for it to be puffed and golden brown.

Cut into generous squares and serve with maple syrup, fresh fruit, powdered sugar or all of the above.

I want to note that when I removed mine from the oven after 45 minutes there was still a lot of liquid left in the dish. I didn’t have longer to let it bake (I needed to leave for work) so I hoped that it would reabsorb as it sat out. I also questioned if I used too much milk, I could possibly cut back by maybe a full cup. OR this could have something to do with the particular dish that I used. It wasn’t a 9x13 baking pan, it was a smaller squatty dish – my favorite Sur La Table green stoneware that I like to bake in. Maybe if the bread was spread out and the liquid mixture was spread out it would have baked differently – well I’m almost positive it would have baked differently. I scooped a spoonful out and took it to work with me. The flavor was great, the texture was more of a bread pudding though. After letting it sit in the fridge for a day I noticed that the bread did reabsorb all the liquid that was previously sitting at the bottom of my baking dish. And it would probably taste GREAT cold, eating it directly from the dish in the fridge with a large wooden spoon. Not that I would do that, but just saying.

1 comment:

  1. Looks incredible! Kudos to you for figuring out how to turn the bread scraps into a delicious meal!


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