This is such a treat on holiday mornings. My kids love it. The moms in my Mothers of Preschoolers group used to love it, too, and always requested that I make it when it was my turn to help provide breakfast. As always, this dish can be as organic or as local as you chose. If you can’t afford all the ingredients in organic form, consider buying organic or local apples or eggs.
Here’s what you do. Put this together anytime on Christmas or New Year's Eve — even during the day. Before you start making your coffee the next morning, pre-heat the oven. When you pour your first cup of coffee, throw the casserole in the oven — even if it hasn’t fully preheated. Go open gifts. By the time you’re done opening your gifts, breakfast will be just about ready.
This dish doesn't have to be for Christmas only, though. It's great any holiday morning or any Saturday morning for that matter - any time you want a little something extra special for breakfast.
Overnight Christmas French toast
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 teaspoon ground cinnamon, divided
3 tart apples (Granny Smith, Winesap, Rome or other)
1/2 cup dried cranberries (or cherries)
bread, ripped into pieces (about 2/3 a sandwich loaf or other bread that you choose)
6 large eggs
1 1/2 cup milk (skim works just fine)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1. Combine brown sugar, butter, and 1 teaspoon cinnamon in a 9x13 inch baking dish. Add apples and cranberries, mix together then spread evenly over the bottom of the dish.
2. Place bread pieces over the mixture until they reach the top of the baking dish.
3. In a blender, mix eggs, milk, vanilla and 2 teaspoons cinnamon until well blended (can also use a wire whisk – blend really well). Pour over evenly over bread, soaking completely. Cover and refrigerate over night – up to 24 hours.
4. In the morning, preheat oven to 375°.
5. Cover dish with oven-proof cover and bake for 40 minutes. Remove cover and bake an additional 5 minutes.
6. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.
• You don’t need additional butter or any syrup with this casserole. The brown sugar turns into sweet syrupy yumminess.
• I’ve made this several times with Ciabatta bread and it works really well, but any white or light wheat bread will do. It’s a great way to use up stale bread because the egg and milk mixture will soften it right up.