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Christmas Breakfast Idea: French Toast Casserole with Caramel Pecan Topping

Looking for the perfect Christmas morning breakfast to start the day off in a festive, delicious way? How does a French Toast Casserole sound? Williamson Health and Wellness Center Nutrition and Marketing Manager Kristin DeBoard shared this recipe, which was featured in a Williamson Farmers Market Meal Kit this fall.

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 16 oz. loaf supermarket French or Italian Bread- sliced ½ in. thick

8 large eggs

2 cups milk

2 cups evaporated milk

2 apples chopped

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

½ teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

2-3 apples of your choice

If you’d like to make the caramel pecan topping along with your casserole, you’ll need the following items:

1 stick butter

1 cup light brown sugar

½ cup chopped pecans

4 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup

  • Adjust two oven racks to the upper and lower middle positions and heat the oven to 325.

  • Arrange the bread in a single layer on two baking sheets, bake until it begins to dry out, about 25 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom at the halfway mark. Allow the bread to cool. While bread is in the oven, take chopped apples and add to a greased pan, cook on low medium heat for approximately 25 minutes.

  • Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 by 13 baking dish or casserole dish of similar size, with oil or butter. Layer the baked bread tightly in the prepared dish, you should have two layers. Whisk together the eggs and milk with spices and pour evenly over the bread. Press lightly on the bread to submerge in the liquid. Cover and let sit in the fridge to soak for at least one hour. ( You can skip the refrigeration if desired but it will make for not as moist bread)

  • Adjust the rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Mix the topping now, the butter and brown sugar, maple syrup and pecans until it is a smooth mixture.

  • Assemble and bake, on top of the casserole mixture of bread and eggs, evenly distribute the apples. Spoon topping mix over the dish equally. Place the dish on a baking sheet and bake until puffed and golden on top, usually about 45- 60 minutes. Allow to cool and serve!

Kristin emphasizes that you shouldn’t skip toasting your bread, though it might seem like one step too many, it allows it to absorb the custard, and create a creamier texture, as well as emphasizing the pecan flavor. If you don’t enjoy apples, you could always replace them with raisins!

“It is meant to be made the night before and refrigerated, so this would be a good recipe for a Christmas Eve or Day breakfast,” Kristin says. “It could be made Wednesday or Thursday night while you are already in the kitchen baking cookies!”

We can already smell this yummy casserole baking! This is probably the kind of breakfast Santa enjoys when he returns to the North Pole after a long night of delivering gifts!

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