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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Baked French Toast with Strawberries

I must say I'm addicted to sales.  Garage sales, discounts at the grocery, name it and if it's on sale, I'm sold!  So while strolling through the grocery store, because this is what I do with two kids (yeah right!), I tend to graze the day old bread section and always find something that I can use.  Most of the time you'll find not day olds but just the "we made too many of these items and now they're on sale!" stuff.  But you can get way more creative with these items than just the usual accompaniment to pasta and soups.  They make the most wonderful brunch items! 

Stratas or french toast bakes are the the number one thing I go to for a delicious weekend brunch item.  With my day old sale bread on hand it makes it super easy!  Not to mention, these items freeze well too so you can always hand some on hand.  This past weekend I had my bread that was staring at me on the counter and some sad looking strawberries.  So while the husband slept and the kiddo enjoyed some Sunday morning cartoons, this is what I came up with...

Baked French Toast with Strawberries
1 loaf of day old bread (I used a multi-grain) + a couple slices of regular bread
2 1/2 c. milk of choice (Coconut is great here - nice and thick)
6 eggs
3/4 c. sugar (unrefined, organic if possible)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
8-12 strawberries - roughly chopped
1/4 c. brown sugar for sprinkling

Spray 9x13 glass baking dish and preheat oven to 350.  Crack eggs and whisk till blended.  Add in milk, sugar, extract, spices and salt.  Whisk again till all incorporated.  Fold in cubed bread. Make sure every piece is equally soaked and pour into prepared baking dish.  Press down bread mixture with back of spatula and pop in the oven for 25 minutes.  Remove pan from oven and evenly spread strawberries on top.  Sprinkle with brown sugar and continue baking an additional 15 minutes or until sugar has caramelized and toothpick comes out clean from center.  Let stand 5-10 minutes before slicing and serving. 

We enjoyed ours with a little shmear of butter and a drizzle of syrup.  The options here are endless.  You can sprinkle with blueberries, raspberries or pineapple.  You can also fold in some diced apples and top with walnuts.  If you choose to fold in the fruit, you might want to cut back on the liquid a bit.  

We had leftovers for a couple days and they kept beautifully in the fridge.  What's better than yummy french toast on a Monday morning?  : )


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