French Toast Casserole
Makes about 10 servings
- 1 (1-pound) challah loaf, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 4 cups half-and-half
- 2 teaspoons sanding sugar
- 2⅛ teaspoons ground cinnamon, divided
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs, lightly beaten
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1½ cups pecan pieces, divided
- Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting
- Maple syrup, to serve
- Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 13×9-inch freezer-safe baking dish.
- In a large bowl, toss together bread cubes and half-and-half; let stand at room temperature. In a small bowl, stir together sanding sugar and ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon; set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Add light brown and granulated sugars, whisking occasionally until smooth and combined, about 2 minutes. Remove pan from heat. While whisking constantly, pour in eggs, nutmeg, and remaining 2 teaspoons cinnamon. Pour butter mixture over bread mixture. Gently fold in 1 cup pecans to combine. Spoon bread mixture into prepared dish. Sprinkle with remaining ½ cup pecans, and cover with foil.
- Bake for 45 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle top with sanding sugar mixture. Continue to bake until golden brown and a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes more. Serve warm or at room temperature. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, and serve with maple syrup.
Kitchen Tip: To make the day before, bake and let cool completely. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight. When ready to serve, let come to room temperature, and reheat at 350°. To freeze, bake in a freezer-safe dish and let cool completely. Wrap in double plastic wrap, then in foil. Freeze for up to 3 months. To thaw, let sit in refrigerator overnight. When ready to serve, unwrap and let come to room temperature. Bake covered with foil at 350° until fully reheated, 15 to 20 minutes.
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