Well kids, we made it. Christmas is tomorrow morning, and today is my favorite part: Christmas Eve. The anticipation has been building in our home since the second Thanksgiving Day was over. The tree is up, the decor is tastefully scattered through our little apartment, there's Christmas lights on the balcony, Christmas cookies have been made,
Christmas cards made/delivered (we skipped this one again this year. It costs a lot to make and send them, and we kind of like saving our money in attempt to oh... SAVE MONEY. We don't want to live in an apartment forever, and want to build a freaking new amazing house. So no, no cards again. We're apparently scrooges. Christmas will still come, haha.), the maple sausages are ready in the fridge for Christmas morning, and all the gifts for our families have been bought, wrapped, and placed neatly under the tree. I've loved just sitting on the couch, snuggled up with my man and a small glass of eggnog, watching Christmas movies (and um... a little Parks and Recreation. haha). It's been heavenly. I love the excitement of Christmas Eve. It was my favorite time as a child, and to this day I still love it even more than Christmas Day!
I know all of you probably have your Christmas Eve and Christmas Day breakfast/brunch/dinners planned, but hear me out. Those family members are going to be around for more than a day or so, and you're going to want a killer breakfast casserole to blow their socks off. Lucky for you, this Gingerbread French Toast Casserole is just the ticket, and is E.A.S.Y as heck to make. Let's dive in...
Ever tried those amazing ginger cookies? Well, this casserole tastes almost exactly like a plate of them - only less sweet and with more of a maple delight to each bite. The custard soaks up the bottom layer of the cubed french bread and creates such a lovely layer. It tastes just like a gorgeous maple-soaked french toast slice. Next, there's the crusted top. The top layer gets all crumbly with the streusel layer, and toasted bread slices. I can't even go on about this casserole enough. We usually have our german pancakes for breakfast on Christmas morning, but OH MAN, this is coming up at a close second. Maybe a tradition for Christmas Eve breakfast? mmMMMmm!!
I won't be on here for Christmas Day, so I want to make sure you all know just how much it means to me that you're hear reading my foodie blog. I love what I do, when I can do it, and am so grateful for your comments and emails sharing that you've made my recipes and LOVED them! It's always fun to know that a recipe I've shared has made it to your table, and eaten by your family with welcome forks! I wish you all a Merry Christmas, and just love the crap out of you fine people.
Overnight Gingerbread Baked French Toast Casserole
makes 10 servings
1 medium loaf of french bread, cubed (should be about 9 cups)
1 3/4 C whole milk
1/2 C pure maple syrup
2 t pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 t cinnamon
1 t ground ginger
1/2 t nutmeg
1/4 t allspice
1/8 t ground cloves
1/8 t salt
1/2 C all-purpose flour
1/4 C brown sugar
1/4 C cold butter, cubed
1/2 t cinnamon
1/4 t ground ginger
1/8 t nutmeg
1. The night before serving for breakfast, generously coat the bottom of a 9x13 with soft butter. Add bread cubes in a mostly even layer. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine together eggs, milk, maple syrup, molasses, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger nutmeg, allspice, cloves, and salt until well-combined (using an immersion blender works wonders here). Pour mixture over bread cubes in baking dish.
3. Prepare topping by placing the flour, sugar, butter, butter, and all spices in a food processor. Pulse ingredients until crumbly, like the texture of coarse sand. Evenly sprinkle crumbles over fresh toast casserole. Cover with foil and let refrigerate overnight.
4. The next morning, preheat oven to 350 degrees while casserole comes to room temperature on the counter/table. Bake for 45 minutes, then remove foil. Broil on low for 10 minutes (watch it! It might be done in 5). Serve hot with real maple syrup and fresh fruit.
recipe adapted from: five heart home