Start to finish: 1 hour prep and cooking time
Servings: 5 to 6
Difficulty level: Beginner

Overnight French toast at breakfast or brunch says welcome, congratulations or just good morning. The recipe is a delicious variation on a familiar dish. Oven-baking results in crisp-edged, browned, sugar-crusted French toast that you can serve plain with just the glitter of powdered sugar or with fruity sides and toppings.


Ingredients

  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, tightly packed
  • ½ stick butter, melted
  • 10 to 12 bread slices, ¾-inch-thick, or prepared French toast bread slices
  • 1 ½ cups milk
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup powdered sugar

Directions

Mix and Assemble

Whisk the sugar and melted butter in a bowl with a whisk or fork until well-mixed and spread the mixture over the bottom of a 9- by 13-inch baking dish You need a baking dish with at least 2-inch sides.

Place the bread in the baking dish, overlapping to fit all of the pieces in two rows.

Combine the milk, eggs, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt in a small mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients using the whisk or fork and pour the mixture over the bread, covering each slice.

Cover the dish with plastic wrap. Place the tightly covered baking dish in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 4 hours to allow the bread to soak up the flavors and liquids.

Refrigerator to Oven

Remove the baking dish from the refrigerator, remove the plastic wrap and allow the dish to sit for 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place the rack in the middle of the oven.

Bake the French toast uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes. Check the dish to see how it is browning. If the toast has browned enough, remove the dish from the oven and use a pot holder or heat-resistant cooking mitten to place the cover or aluminum foil on the baking dish.

Return the baking dish to the oven and continue cooking for another 10 minutes, or until the ingredients have cooked through to the bottom of the baking dish and the bread remains moist.

Remove the baking dish from the oven and allow it to cool for 2 to 3 minutes before sprinkling powdered sugar lightly over the bread or drizzling the bread with maple syrup.

Serve the French toast while it is hot.

Serving Suggestions

Add sliced fruit to the baking dish before placing it in the refrigerator or the oven, or add the fruit after the French toast has finished cooking. Sliced bananas, strawberries, mangos, apples and peaches are tasty choices, hot or cold.

Add blueberries or sliced fruit to the diner’s plate with a serving of French toast or provide a selection of toppings in bowls from which diners can self-serve.

Variations and Tips

Variations

  • Sprinkle ¼ cup of chopped walnuts or pecans over the contents in the baking dish before placing the dish in the refrigerator.

  • Add raisins to the overnight French toast before placing in the refrigerator.

  • Add 1/4 cup or a couple tablespoons of maple syrup to the mixture in the baking dish before adding the bread for a sweeter, stickier French toast.

  • Add ¼ teaspoon of ground ginger or a little nutmeg to the batter.

Tips

  • It’s okay to skip the overnight refrigeration and cook the French toast immediately after preparation. The heat helps the ingredients blend to create the flavor and texture you want.