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~ Cinnamon-Raisin Bread French-Toast Casserole ~

IMG_9099Bread.  After a day or two or three, if you don't use it, you're going to lose it.  Some stale-ish breads make great croutons, others make great French toast.  The French have a name for it: "pain perdu".  That translates to "lost bread".  The basics of any French toast recipe are very simple:  Thickly-sliced 2-3 day old bread is dipped into a flavored egg/cream mixture where it sits until saturated.  It's then fried in a skillet containing a coating of oil.  When executed correctly, it emerges from the skillet crisp and golden brown on both sides with a creamy, almost pudding-like center.  I almost always use brioche or challah to make French toast, but, my oh my:  leftover cinnamon-raisin bread produces a really mouth-watering cinnamon-roll-tasting version.  

Besides eggs (any kind) served with bacon or sausage, French toast is at the top of my favorite breakfast list.  French toast is right up there with waffles.  In the case of all of these, they require you to have the time in the morning to make them.  This is why a lot of busy people resort to cereal, pop tarts or the drive-through during the week.  I am not one of them, but, even I often save cooking elaborate stovetop breakfasts for weekends -- cooking breakfast is an ordeal!

IMG_9024Make-ahead breakfast casserole recipes will change your life!  

Every cook should have a few of them in his/her apron pocket!!  

This crowd pleaser is one I often serve to overnight guests!!! 

IMG_8257I've spend the last week posting recipes that make use of my ~ Bread Machine Basics and Cinnamon-Raisin Bread ~.  So far, we've enjoyed ~ Waldorf Chicken Salad on Cinnamon-Raisin Bread ~, and ~ Cinnamon-Raisin Bread Stuffing Muffins ('Stuffins') ~ with roasted chicken and gravy.  Get the recipes by clicking on the Related Article links below. This is my last loaf of bread and my last recipe!

IMG_8892 IMG_89122  pounds cinnamon-raisin bread, cut into 1 1/2" cubes and placed in a large bowl, about 16 cups of bread

1/2  cup salted butter, melted (1 stick)

IMG_89201  cup dark brown sugar

8  large eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2  cups French-vanilla coffee creamer (1 1/2 cups cream + 1 tablespoon vanilla extract + 1/4 cup sugar may be substituted)

1  cup chopped pecans or walnuts, for topping casserole 

no-stick spray, for preparing casserole dish

IMG_8904~ Step 1.  Spray a 3-quart casserole with no-stick spray.  I use clear glass, so I can keep an eye on this casserole as it bakes.

IMG_8898~ Step 2.  In a small bowl, melt butter in the microwave. Add the brown sugar.  Stir until the mixture is smooth.  Pour and distribute it over the bottom of the casserole.

IMG_8927~ Step 3.  Cube the bread, placing it in a large bowl as you work.  In a 1-quart measuring container, using a fork, whisk the eggs.  Whisk the coffee creamer into the eggs.  

IMG_8935Pour the mixture over the bread cubes.  Using a large rubber spatula, fold until the bread cubes are all coated.  Set aside for 5 minutes.  Fold again.

IMG_8971~ Step 4.  Distribute all of the bread cubes and all of the liquid in the bowl over the brown sugar mixture. Do not fold or stir the bread mixture into the brown sugar mixture.

IMG_8953~ Step 5. Sprinkle the pecans over all.  Cover and set aside 1-2 hours at room temp or refrigerate overnight.  

IMG_9014Note:  If refrigerating overnight, return to room temperature, 1-2 hours, prior to baking.

~ Step 6.  Bake on center rack of 350 degree oven, 30-35 minutes. Casserole will be golden, set, and bubbles of the brown sugar mixture will be surfacing across the top.

Allow to cool 20-30 minutes prior to slicing and serving warm...

IMG_9012... with a pat of butter melting over the top of each portion:

IMG_9117Cinnamon-Raisin Bread French-Toast Casserole:  Recipe yields 12 servings.

Special Equipment List:  13" x 9" x 2" casserole dish, preferably glass; tablespoon; cutting board; serrated bread knife; 1-quart measuring container; fork; large rubber spatula; plastic wrap; cooling rack

French Toast #9 (Just Toast, Finished Closeup)Cook's Note:  To learn how to make ~ Mel's French-Vanilla French Toast (Pain Perdu) ~, just click into Category 9!  To make it, your going to need the recipe for ~ Bread Machine Basics & My Brioche Recipe ~ too.  You can find it in Categories 2, 5, 9, 15, 18 or 20!

"We are all in this food world together." ~ Melanie Preschutti

(Recipe, Commentary and Photos courtesy of Melanie's Kitchen/Copyright 2014


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