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This recipes is from a column in the (Raleigh NC) News & Observer by Beverly Mills & Alicia Ross of Desperation Dinners and was suggested to be served for Grandparents' Day (Sept 10th). I haven't made it yet but will try it next weekend when the grandbabies are here. The oldest likes to "help" me cook and I think this would be a good recipe to do w/ her.
- 1 (1 lb) cinnamon-swirl bread (*, for appx 16 cups cubed)
- 6 large eggs
- 1 1⁄2 cups half-and-half
- 1 1⁄2 cups reduced-fat milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 5 tablespoons butter or 5 tablespoons margarine
- 3⁄4 cup chopped walnuts (3 oz) or 3⁄4 cup pecans (3 oz)
- maple syrup, for serving
- sliced fresh berries, for serving (optional)
- Spray a 9x13" baking dish or glass pan that is safe to go into a hot oven when its cold (such as pyrex or corningware).
- Cut bread into bite-sized cubes; place 1 1/2 c of cubes into quart sized ziploc bag and remaining cubes into baking dish. Set aside.
- Whisk eggs well in a 2qt bowl; whisk in half-and-half, milk, and vanilla and pour over bread cubes in casserole dish.
- Press the bread cubes down into the egg mixture to make sure they are all moistened.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours up to 24 hours.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 375*.
- Place butter in a microwave-safe dish; cover with a paper towel and nuke for 30-45 seconds until almost melted. Remove and stir until completely melted.
- Add nuts to bag of reserved bread cubes, then pour melted butter into bag. Seal and shake until the bread and nuts are coated w/ butter.
- Uncover the casserole dish and press the bread cubes down w/ the back of a spoon to remoisten.
- Scatter the bread cubes/nut mixture over the top, using a spoon to evenly distribute.
- Bake, uncovered, for 45-50 minutes until lightly browned on top and puffed. (Baking time will vary depending on how cold the dish is.).
- Let casserole sit for 5-10 minutes before serving. The casserole will settle and deflate a bit as it stands.
- To serve:.
- Cut into squares, place on individual plates, and pass maple syrup to drizzle on top. Serve with sliced strawberries or other berries or a mixture of berries, if desired.
- *NOTE: Pepperidge Farm Cinnamon-Swirl bread with or without raisins works well in this recipe.
I loved the ease of making, and the nice flavor of the casserole. It was still a little damp for my taste - I let it sit on the counter for about 15 minutes after taking it out of the refrigerator, then baked it for 50 minutes. I'll try it again, perhaps for Christmas brunch, but will cook it 10-15 minutes longer.
This casserole was loved by my family. Very good flavor and not really soggy like some french toast casseroles I have had are. Even my boyfriend's mother asked me for the recipe.