Baked French Toast Recipe with Praline Topping

This baked French toast recipe is a showstopper that will please the masses! Try this easy breakfast casserole with crunchy praline topping today.

The post Baked French Toast Recipe with Praline Topping appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

This baked French toast recipe is a showstopper that will please the masses! Try this easy breakfast casserole with crunchy praline topping today.

An overhead photo of French toast casserole on a plate.

Breakfast will never be the same after you try this amazing twist on a beloved classic. Prepare to have your family begging for it every weekend!

Perhaps the best part of this dish (apart from how delicious it is) is that it’s a make-ahead and bake meal. You put it all together the night before, and then top and bake it in the morning. So much less stress than trying to make a big breakfast before you’ve had your coffee!

It’s perfect for special occasions like Christmas or Easter morning. But it’s also an amazing way to wow your overnight guests. Serve this warm, indulgent French toast bake any time you want to turn breakfast up a few notches.

Ingredients for baked French toast prepped on counter.

Ingredients for this baked French toast recipe

For the French Toast:

  • Bread
  • Eggs
  • Heavy cream
  • Milk
  • Brown sugar
  • Spices: Vanilla extract, cinnamon, and a pinch of salt

For the Praline Topping:

  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Brown Sugar
  • Chopped Pecans
  • Spices: Cinnamon and salt

Step by step photos of whisking together custard.

What kind of bread should I use?

It’s all in the name! This baked French toast casserole is made with… French bread!

It’s easy to find, inexpensive, and hearty enough to hold up to the custard. Just slice and assemble!

If you don’t want to use French bread, you can also use brioche or challah. They are rich and dense enough to not go soggy on you.

A quick note on the bread: Do not use a French baguette, as it is too crusty for this recipe. If you choose to use a richer bread such as brioche or challah, I recommend letting the torn pieces sit out overnight (before assembling) to let it stale or to dry it in the oven, as these are softer breads that won’t hold up as well in the custard.

Step by step photos of mixing together a praline topping.

How to make it:

  1. Prepare a 9×13 baking dish by greasing it with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Tear your bread loaf into 1” pieces and place them in the baking dish in an even layer.
  3. Mix the custard in a large bowl. Do this by gently mixing together the eggs, heavy cream, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. You don’t want to get it bubbly, just well-blended.
  4. Pour the mixture evenly over your bread. Press down gently with the back of a spoon to ensure all of the bread is submerged.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and pop it in the refrigerator for an overnight soak. (If you don’t have room in the fridge to chill a 9×13 baking dish overnight, try my Cinnamon Roll Bread Pudding Breakfast Casserole instead!)The next day…

     

  6. Preheat your oven to 350F.
  7. Make the praline topping by mixing all the ingredients in a bowl. Use a pastry blender or your fingers to make sure it’s combined well.
  8. Sprinkle the praline mixture evenly over the soaked French toast.
  9. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until golden brown and puffed up.
  10. Serve hot and enjoy with maple syrup!

Assembled baked French toast with and without praline topping.

Why would baked French toast get soggy?

There are a few different reasons this might happen:

  • The Bread — Choosing the wrong type of bread for this recipe could definitely give you a soggy bake. Sandwich bread, for instance, is much too soft and will turn to soup. Stick with dense breads like French, Italian, brioche, or challah.
  • Not Enough Rest — The reason you need to let the bake rest overnight is so that the bread can soak up ALL of the custard. If you leave it for only a few minutes or a couple of hours, just the outside soaks it up. That makes it extra soggy outside and dry inside.
  • Super-Sized Eggs — If the eggs you’re using are unusually large, it could be too much custard for your bread. Cut back to seven instead of eight.
  • Wrong Shaped Pan — If your baking dish is smaller than 9×13, it could funnel all the custard to the bottom rather than allowing an even soak. Similarly, if you’re using a 9×13 but it narrows at the bottom, it could cause the same issue.

As long as you follow the recipe and use the right sized pan, this breakfast bake is bound to be a crowd-pleaser! And it really couldn’t be easier. Just a few minutes of prep and a good night’s sleep, then a quick bake and you’re done!

A casserole of baked French toast on the counter.

More Favorite Breakfast Recipes

I hope you’ll put this on your menu for a holiday morning, or the next time you want an extra-special breakfast! If you make it, I’d love if you would take a moment to stop back and share a review below. ENJOY! 😍

A piece of baked French toast on a fork with a piece on a plate in the background.

Print

Baked French Toast Recipe with Praline Topping

This French toast casserole is wonderfully decadent, making it perfect for holidays or overnight guests!
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 8 servings
Calories 677kcal
Author Michelle

Ingredients

  • 1 loaf hearty French or Italian bread about 1 pound
  • cups heavy cream
  • cups whole milk
  • 8 eggs
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt

For the Topping:

  • ½ cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter cold and cubed
  • ½ cup chopped pecans

Instructions

  • Prepare the Casserole: Spray a 9x13-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. Tear the loaf of bread into bite-size 1-inch pieces (you should have about 10 to 12 cups) and place in the baking dish in an even layer.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the heavy cream, whole milk, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and salt. Evenly pour over the bread pieces in the baking dish. Using the back of a spoon, gently press down on the bread so that it is all submerged in the custard. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  • Make the Topping: In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Add the butter and, using a pastry blender, fork, or your fingertips, work the butter into the flour mixture until only pea-sized pieces remain. Toss in the chopped pecans. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
  • Bake the Casserole: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the casserole from the refrigerator and allow to sit at room temperature while the oven preheats.
  • Sprinkle the topping evenly over the casserole.
  • Bake until golden brown and puffed, approximately 40 to 50 minutes (an instant-read thermometer should register at least 165 degrees F when inserted into the center). Allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving. Top with powdered sugar and maple syrup for a traditional French toast flavor!

Notes

  • Bread: Do not use a French baguette, as it is too crusty for this recipe. If you choose to use a richer bread such as brioche or challah, I recommend letting the torn pieces sit out overnight (before assembling) to let it stale or to dry it in the oven, as these are softer breads that won’t hold up as well in the custard.
  • Custard: You can replace all of the heavy cream and whole milk with half-and-half if you’d like, or you can use all whole milk for a slightly lighter, albeit less rich, casserole. I do not recommend using low-fat milk in this recipe.
  • Nuts: You can substitute different nuts for the pecans in the topping, or omit them altogether.
  • Bake Immediately Option: While this is an ideal make-ahead recipe since it should be assembled the day before baking to allow the bread to absorb the custard, you CAN make it the same day, if desired. After pouring the custard over the bread, allow to sit at room temperature for at least 1 hour before baking. The inside will be less soft, but still delicious!
  • Freezing Instructions: This casserole can be baked, cooled completely, refrigerated for at least 2 hours, then frozen. To freeze, cover the pan tightly with foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat in a 350-degree oven, covered, until warmed through, about 15 minutes. 
Nutritional values are based on one serving

Nutrition

Calories: 677kcal | Carbohydrates: 66g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 20g | Cholesterol: 260mg | Sodium: 438mg | Potassium: 291mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 31g | Vitamin A: 1322IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 163mg | Iron: 3mg

Originally published in 2011, this has been updated to include new photos, and an updated (and improved!) recipe based on user feedback. If you wish to make the original recipe, you can find it here.

[photos by Ari of Well Seasoned]

The post Baked French Toast Recipe with Praline Topping appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

New Orleans Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

Old-fashioned New Orleans bread pudding layered with bourbon-soaked raisins then drizzled with bourbon sauce. A southern classic perfect for any holiday!

The post New Orleans Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

This bread pudding is absolutely phenomenal; toasted French bread cubes are soaked in a custard mixture spiced with cinnamon and nutmeg and spiked with bourbon. The mixture is layered with bourbon-soaked raisins, baked, then drizzled with a bourbon cream sauce. This classic southern dessert is perfect for Christmas, Mardi Gras, or any special occasion.

Two plates of bread pudding.

I fell in love with bread pudding years ago when my husband and I went to a cozy little Italian restaurant to ring in the New Year the very first year we were dating. We were served dessert right at midnight (which now, over 10 years later, astonishes me because I can’t even fathom being up and OUT at that hour, let alone eating a meal, HA! Oh, the seasons of life…); he ordered a chocolate bread pudding, and I… can’t remember what I ordered.

He gave me a taste of his and he could tell I was totally enamored with it, so he offered to trade me desserts. I have been infatuated with all things bread pudding ever since. This is the first one that I made myself and it remains my all-time favorite version!

Bread cubes, custard, and raisins for bread pudding.

Stale Bread + Custard + Lots of Flavors!

If you’ve ever wondered how bread pudding is made, the formula is quite simple >> take stale (or intentionally dried) leftover bread and combine it with a custard mixture that usually includes milk or cream, eggs, and sugar. Elevate it to another level by adding more flavor in the way of vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and liquor like bourbon, whiskey or rum, then bake it all together and wait for the magic to happen.

Bread pudding has the consistency of the middle of a huge stack of French toast – that custard-soaked, soft middle that is drenched with custard-y flavor in each and every bite. Plus, bread pudding gives you all of those wonderful crunchy edges, which is a phenomenal texture contrast to the center, and probably my favorite part ;-)

Side by side photos of bread pudding in the pan before and after baking.

Dry Bread is Key!

Don’t be tempted to use fresh bread or skip the toasting step in this recipe. If you do so, the bread will fall apart, disintegrate, and/or turn to mush in the custard mixture; using stale or dried bread allows it to soak up the custard mixture and retain its shape, which gives the dessert both a sturdy body and an ultra-creamy texture.

Note that if you assemble the bread pudding ahead of time (see success tips, below), the longer that it sits before baking, the softer and more custard-like the interior will be.

An overhead shot of a plate of bread pudding.

Bread Pudding Success Tips

A few quick tips on substitutions, alternatives, and make-ahead instructions:

  • While a French baguette is preferred for this recipe, you can use another type of bread if you’d like, but do not use pre-sliced bread – you want to be able to get nice big chunks.
  • If you do not care for raisins, they can be omitted or substituted with another dried fruit, like cranberries or cherries. You can also add chopped nuts or chocolate chips!
  • The bourbon can be substituted with another liquor if you’d like to switch up the flavor. Some ideas would be whiskey, rum, Kahlua, amaretto, etc.
  • The bourbon can also be omitted entirely if necessary. You can plump the raisins in water and replace the remaining bourbon in the recipe with milk or cream.
  • Make-Ahead Instructions: You can prepare the bread pudding through step #5 (before baking), cover and refrigerator for up to 1 day before baking. The bourbon sauce can also be prepared up to 2 days in advance and kept in the refrigerator, then reheated before serving. Alternatively, you can bake the bread pudding, cool, cover, and refrigerator for up to 2 days, then reheat in the oven, covered at 350 degrees before serving.
  • Freezing Instructions: The bread pudding can be baked, cooled completely, refrigerated for at least 2 hours, then frozen. To freeze, cover the pan tightly with foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat in a 350-degree oven, covered, until warmed through, about 15 minutes.

A plate of bread pudding half-eaten.

More Pudding Recipes!

New Orleans Bourbon Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce

This bread pudding starts with toasted French bread cubes soaked in a bourbon-spiked custard, then layered with bourbon-soaked raisins, baked, and drizzled with a bourbon cream sauce. This classic southern dessert is perfect for Christmas, Mardi Gras, or any special occasion.

For the Bread Pudding:

  • 1 18 to 20-inch French baguette, torn into 1-inch pieces ((10 cups))
  • 1 cup raisins
  • ¾ cup bourbon (divided)
  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1½ cups light brown sugar
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cinnamon (divided)
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (cubed and chilled)

For the Bourbon Sauce:

  • ¼ cup bourbon (divided)
  • 1½ teaspoons cornstarch
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • Pinch salt
  • 2 teaspoons unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Butter a 9×13-inch baking dish; set aside.
  2. Arrange the bread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake until crisp and brown, about 12 minutes, turning pieces over halfway through and rotating the baking sheet front to back. Let bread cool. Reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees F.
  3. Meanwhile, heat raisins and ½ cup bourbon in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until bourbon begins to simmer, 2 to 3 minutes. Strain the mixture, placing the bourbon and raisins in separate bowls.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the egg yolks, brown sugar, cream, milk, vanilla, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Whisk in in the remaining ¼ cup bourbon plus the bourbon used to plump the raisins. Toss in the toasted bread until evenly coated. Let the mixture sit until the bread begins to absorb custard, about 30 minutes, tossing occasionally. If the majority of the bread is still hard when squeezed, soak for another 15 to 20 minutes.
  5. Pour half the bread mixture into the prepared baking dish, and sprinkle with half the raisins. Repeat with the remaining bread mixture and raisins. Cover the dish with foil, and bake for 45 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, mix the granulated sugar and remaining ½ teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Using your fingers, pinch 6 tablespoons butter into the sugar mixture until the crumbs are the size of small peas. Remove the foil from pudding, sprinkle with the butter mixture, and bake, uncovered, until the custard is just set, 20 to 25 minutes. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F and bake until the top of the pudding forms a golden crust, about 2 minutes.
  7. Let the pudding cool on a wire rack for 30 minutes (or up to 2 hours). Serve alone or with Bourbon Sauce (I strongly recommend the bourbon sauce).
  8. Make the Bourbon Sauce: In a small bowl, whisk the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons of bourbon until well combined.

  9. Using a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the cream and sugar until the sugar dissolves. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and cook until sauce thickens, 3 to 5 minutes.
  10. Take the pan off the heat, and stir in salt, butter and the remaining 2 tablespoons bourbon. Drizzle warm sauce over bread pudding. Leftover bread pudding can be stored, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a 350-degree oven covered with foil.

  • While a French baguette is preferred for this recipe, you can use another type of bread if you’d like.
  • If you do not care for raisins, they can be omitted or substituted with another dried fruit, like cranberries or cherries.
  • The bourbon can be substituted with another liquor if you’d like to switch up the flavor. Some ideas would be whiskey, rum, Kahlua, amaretto, etc. 
  • The bourbon can also be omitted entirely if necessary. You can plump the raisins in water and replace the remaining bourbon in the recipe with milk or cream.
  • Make-Ahead Instructions: You can prepare the bread pudding through step #5 (before baking), cover and refrigerator for up to 1 day before baking. The bourbon sauce can also be prepared up to 2 days in advance and kept in the refrigerator, then reheated before serving. Alternatively, you can bake the bread pudding, cool, cover and refrigerator for up to 2 days, then reheat in the oven, covered at 350 degrees before serving.
  • Freezing Instructions: The bread pudding can be baked, cooled completely, refrigerated for at least 2 hours, then frozen. To freeze, cover the pan tightly with foil and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then reheat in a 350-degree oven, covered, until warmed through, about 15 minutes.

(Recipe adapted from Ezra Pound Cake)

Update Notes: Originally published in 2012, this recipe has been updated with more in-depth descriptions, new photos, and clearer instructions.

[photos by Ari of Well Seasoned]

The post New Orleans Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce appeared first on Brown Eyed Baker.

French Onion Soup

My favorite homemade French onion soup recipe that’s easy to make and full of the richest caramelized onion flavors. Who’s ready for a cozy bowl of homemade French onion soup? ♡ We actually just arrived home late last night from spending a week in Provence with our parents.  And amidst the most delicious week of meals […]

My favorite homemade French onion soup recipe that’s easy to make and full of the richest caramelized onion flavors.

French Onion Soup Recipe

Who’s ready for a cozy bowl of homemade French onion soup? ♡

We actually just arrived home late last night from spending a week in Provence with our parents.  And amidst the most delicious week of meals together around the table in our little cottage — with fresh croissants and baguettes picked up from the local bakery, farmers market wild mushrooms and artichokes the size of your head, approximately one million French cheeses, herby olives, fresh raspberry tart, plus the loveliest crisp local rosés — I also channeled my inner Julia Child and simmered up a batch of my favorite French onion soup for dinner one evening.  And it was delightful.

I actually first shared this recipe here during my very first year of blogging — now ten years ago! — and have made it countless times since.  And it’s always, always a winner.  Nowadays, I tend to make it vegetarian (using veggie broth instead of traditional beef broth) so that both my husband and I can enjoy it.  And after living in Barcelona for a few years, we’ve also come to love the Spanish twist on this recipe as well, which includes cracking an egg into each soup bowl and then broiling it (with or without cheesy toast) until the egg is perfectly poached on top of the soup.

However its made, French onion soup is a classic and will forever remain one of my all-time favorite comfort foods.  So if you’re looking for a well-tested recipe to add to your repertoire, I can vouch that this one’s a keeper!

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