Eatin’ Pants: Baked French Toast

Sarah came into town this weekend and it was fabulous!  Hours of talking, shopping, REAL margarita-making, fried chicken eating and silly TV watching.  Not only did we view the Tony’s and talk theatre, I also introduced her to Toddlers and Tiaras.  And this horror.

And, proof that she’s a nice person, Maggie ADORED her.  The dog that runs from everyone in the entire world let Sarah pet her within five minutes of meeting her and then proceeded to spend most of the weekend licking Sarah’s toes or climbing in her lap for cuddles. However, that also meant that she got to experience Maggie sneezing on her more than a few times.  I like to pretend that it’s an expression of love and not just doggie allergies.

She even got to meet Jethro, who had been in Oklahoma at the farm, and realize that I’m really and truly not lying when I say the man does not talk.

While I completely forgot to send Sarah home with mini brownies, I did make sure that she was well-fed before boarding her flight by making Smitten Kitchen’s Boozy Baked French Toast.

This is the same recipe that DDay has made for her, which I was grateful for because I had no idea how it would turn out.  And what it turned out to be was heaven in our mouth.

SK warns that it’s a little more of a bread pudding than French toast, so if you don’t like custard-y amazing bread pieces slightly sweetened, dusted with cinnamon and drizzled with maple syrup, well then, stay away.  Because you won’t like this.

And also, you’re a Communist who hates all things true and good.

You’d also be my husband.  You see, he didn’t think I’d notice, but I totally called him out on it later. While Sarah and I were eating and chatting, Jethro grabbed a piece and some bacon.  (Of COURSE there was bacon.  Who do you think we are?!?)  He sat on the other side of Sarah and I saw him take a big giant bite and then immediately get up and go into the kitchen.  And judging by his face, I knew exactly what he was doing.  He was SPITTING IT OUT.

Oh, he played it off like that wasn’t what he was doing, but I know him.  Apparently, he thought it was cinnamon rolls.  He’s not a French toast eater, and definitely not a bread pudding eater.  He said the warm and mushiness of the bottom layer of bread was too much for him.  He also said it felt like it was covered in a substance that is definitely not appropriate for me to reprint on a blog read by female members of both of our families.

He’s a terrible person.  AND a Communist.

Baked French Toast

(from Smitten Kitchen‘s recipe, slightly adapted.)

Prep time: 20 minutes, but needs to be refrigerated overnight  Cook time: 30 minutes

1 loaf supermarket Challah bread in 1-inch slices*
3 cups whole milk**
3 eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Flavoring of your choice ***

*We used french bread, because the Challah I bought was pre-cut fairly thinly.  Any bread would work, but as Sarah pointed out, the denser the better.  You want it to soak up all that eggy goodness.

** It still works well if you use a milk with a lower fat content.  I used lactose-free 2%  milk because 1. I did not want Sarah to run away and never come back and 2. I never have whole milk on hand because it’s gross.  I bet you could also use coconut milk, but I’d be hesitant on using soy/almond/rice milk.  No idea how that cooks up.  If you’re feeling decadent, use half and half or cream.  Just don’t plan on doing anything the rest of the day if you do that, good Lord….

***SK has many suggestions on this, her go to is 3 tablespoons Bailey’s and 3 tablespoons Cointreau but you can use whatever you’d like.  You can also add zest, nuts, dried fruits, etc.  We opted for vanilla extract, but if using extract use less than you would if using a liqueur. (A teaspoon for every tablespoon of booze you’d use.)

  1. Grease a 9×13 pan with butter.  Salted or unsalted, but don’t be a sissy and use margarine.  If you want to eat healthier, have a bowl of wheat bran.  If you want a heart attack, try rendered bacon fat.  It was mentioned in SK’s comments that if you want, you can sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon in the bottom of the pan after greasing to give it a nice syrup-y glaze.
  2. Layer the bread slices in the pan.  They need to be pretty tightly packed, so cut up a slice or two to fit in the gaps.  One loaf yields about two layers, but if your bread is sliced thin you might have three.  SK does not recommend more than three, it’ll be more difficult to bake.  If you are using fillings, layer them now or sprinkle on top.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, salt and flavorings.  Pour this over the bread so it soaks into every lovely crack and crevice.  Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
  4. Wrap it up all nice and tight with plastic wrap and let refrigerate overnight.  [Sidenote: Don’t use Press n’ Seal.  that stuff is great, but it also seems to leave a little residue on the pan and since there will be baking involved, that makes me nervous.]
  5. The next morning, marvel at how all the milk custard has been absorbed.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes at 425 degrees or until it becomes nice and golden brown.  If you have a finicky oven and things tend to burn, cover with foil for the first 20 minutes and uncover for the last 10.
  7. Cut into squares and serve with your topping of choice.  Don’t serve to Communists.
  8. Eat it happily with friends and talk about everything and anything under the sun.  Plot ways to be able to eat this everyday and not gain 100 pounds.  Be grateful for Smitten Kitchen and hope she does a book tour in Dallas.
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16 Comments on “Eatin’ Pants: Baked French Toast”

  1. d-day
    July 5, 2011 at 10:59 am #

    ahhhh yay baked french toast!! did you show me up and make it more delicious than mine?? haha. it’s ok if you did.

    that’s a good tip about the foil for part of it, mine always gets a touch tooooo browned on top, will do that next time.

    also! I need to read SK comments apparently! sprinkling the bottom with brown sugar/cinnamon is genius.. did you do that? was it amazing?

    also I’m so super jealous of Sarah for getting to visit you.

    • Sarah
      July 5, 2011 at 2:24 pm #

      You guys used different ingredients, so it was totally different. Delicious both ways. It seems to me there’s no real way to mess this up. NOW, TO TRY IT AS MANY WAYS AS POSSIBLE!

      • kindofamess
        July 5, 2011 at 3:42 pm #

        Definitely different and no more awesome than yours! And yes to trying as many ways as possible….I’m already envisioning making individual portions in tart pans or layering it with strawberry syrup….

        We did not do the brown sugar glaze-y thing and I’m super sad about that. Next time…oh yes, next time….

        • Zan
          July 6, 2011 at 9:24 am #

          I was there for Dday’s French Toast. Nom nom nom…

  2. Kristy
    July 5, 2011 at 1:23 pm #

    Bahahaha, don’t serve to Communists. Love.

    • kindofamess
      July 5, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

      He’s just damned un-American. On the FOURTH OF JULY, no less.

      • Kristy
        July 5, 2011 at 4:21 pm #

        Maybe it’s because it’s “French” toast? You know how Americans feel about the French (when they aren’t pretending to *be* French or dying to go to France, that is.)

  3. craftosaurus
    July 5, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    Ok, so I’m a communist. I was super excited to make this recipe a few months ago but…. I like my French toast more cooked-through, less custardy. (I also have difficulty with underdone pancakes.)

  4. Beylit
    July 5, 2011 at 4:46 pm #

    Wow that sounds divine! I am not a fan of cinnamon in general but I think I can make an exception for that. I also am really finiky about the texture of my food so I hope that doesn’t effect my ability to enjoy it. My boy would probably love it though. He has an unnatural love for bread pudding (he says it is because he is from Louisiana, but I don’t know what that really has to do with anything.)

    Damn it, now I’m hungry.

    • Sarah
      July 5, 2011 at 5:21 pm #

      I’m a texture eater, and I can totally do this. The top layer was nice and crisp, and the bottom layer was more pudding-ish … so it was a damn near perfect balance.

      See? It was so good that I’m pushing everyone to make it! BOOZY BAKED FRENCH TOAST FOR ALL!

    • kindofamess
      July 6, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

      Check out the creme brulee french toasts link I posted above…I think that might be more up your alley if you’re afraid of mush. (Nummy mush, but slight mush, nonetheless.) BUT, this also reheats fairly well….which has nothing to do with your comment, but that’s plus in my book. :-)

  5. Sarah
    July 5, 2011 at 4:47 pm #

    Just putting this out there:

    1. Maggie is awesome, and her sneezes are not bad. Have a dalmation sneeze on you if you want to know BAD.
    2. Breakfast (and everything else!) was DELICIOUS. But DAMMIT, mini brownies!!!
    3. Makenzie is devil span. I’m sure of it.
    4. He. Really. Does. Not. Talk. It’s actually kind of comical. Though he was really nice when I said goodbye. =)

    5. You are freaking awesome. I had such a blast, and intend on figuring a way to camp out in that room forever. Count on it. ::winks::

    Thank you, again!!

    • kindofamess
      July 6, 2011 at 4:36 pm #

      You have to come back!! And bring DDay! We have air-conditioning upstairs now!!!

  6. Megan Beardsley
    July 13, 2011 at 5:16 am #

    That sounds Delish my love! Sadly, I have no waffle, pancake, or french toast breakfasts because I have a husband that doesn’t like sweet breakfast. Only savory. Sad Face.

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