Baked French Toast: Fun and extra sweet

Chef Babz Goldman

The first Monday of August has snuck its way into our summer yet again. A dear friend mentioned to me the other day her son would be going back to school this week and my jaw dropped. Family vacations, visits to grandmas, sleepovers, and just special mornings with the family have been getting packed in. I don’t have any children, but a sweet cousin and her two little girls came to visit me this week before getting back into their back-to-school routine.

As far as I’m concerned special visits require special food. especially when kids are more fun. Kids, of all people, appreciate something that is a little more fun and has a little extra sweetness about it. And what better dish to make for the kidos than a breakfast dish. The beauty in breakfast is it’s actually delicious when served for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Today I have included a basic french toast recipe. What is so wonderful about this recipe is it is made as a bake and can be made ahead of time. It’s also pretty basic if you wanna have some fun with the kids in the kitchen. The bake is wonderful because it can be made and enjoyed for more than one. It can simply be reheated and is still syrup-slurping good.

The possible ingredients list for this recipe is never ending. Use todays base and create your own. First choose a bread you enjoy. I recommend a soft bread that will really absorb the egg and milk mix. Add flavor to your recipe with fresh fruit, jams, chocolates, or syrups. There is nothing off limits. Not sure what to add? Ask the kids. Kids love to contribute and they have no problem thinking outside of the box. You may come up with a family favorite. But be careful, you won’t be able to just make this recipe once.

French Toast Flavors Suggestions: Fruit-Peaches, rasberries, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, bananas.

Nuts-Toasted pecans, sliced almonds, honey cashews.

This & That- Graham cracker crumbs, strawberry jam, chocolate syrup, white chocolate chips, candy bar bites, coconut.

Baked French Toast

Makes 10 servings (2 1/2×41/2-inch slices)

9×13 inch baking dish recommended.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees

1 (9-ounce) loaf of dry French Bread, or any other bread of your liking

3 eggs 3 tablespoons sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups milk

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

6 tablespoons dark brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

1 cup fresh or frozen fruit

1 cup chocolate (either chunks of a bar or chocolate chips)

Cut the loaf diagonally into 1 inch slices and arrange cut side down in a single layer in a greased baking dish. Beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl until smooth. Stir in the milk until blended and pour over the bread slices, turning to coat. Chill, covered for 8-10 hours (overnight if possible). Mix flour, brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Cut the butter into the flour mixture until crumbly to form a streusel. Turn the bread slices and sprinkle evenly with the fruit and then the streusel. Sprinkle cinnamon on top. Bake covered for 40 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Bake for an additional 3-5 uncovered to really get a good crunch on top. Let stand for 5 minutes. Cut into squares and to serve. Serve with warm syrup or any preferred toppings.

Bananas Foster Sauce

(Serve as soon as possible, as mix will separate. However, recipe may be made ahead of time in crock pot, or refrigerated. I just don’t recommend making to far ahead).

1/4 cup butter

2/3 cup dark brown sugar

3 1/2 tablespoon rum, optional

1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 coarsely chopped walnuts, optional

3 bananas, peeled and sliced

Mix sugar, rum, vanilla, and cinnamon in a large deep skillet over medium heat. When mix begins to boil or bubble, add bananas and pan. Cook in skillet until bananas are baked and hot, 3-5 minutes. Serve hot over ice cream or cake or the above french toast bake.

The recipe and photos used in todays photo are from the kitchen of Chef Babz with a little help from Tables of Content, Service, Settings, & Supper; The Junior League of Birmingham, Alabama, 2006.

Chef Babz Goldman