This scrumptious baked cinnamon crunch french toast topped with a mouthwatering cinnamon crumb crunch topping is the perfect make ahead breakfast! Whether for a special occasion, a holiday breakfast, or just a lazy weekend morning, this is a breakfast casserole recipe you need to have in your recipe box.
Cuisine: American, Holiday
Keyword: baked french toast, cinnamon french toast, Mother's day, overnight french toast, Thanksgiving
Grease baking pan(s) with butter. This recipe easily splits, make either two 9x9 inch pans or one 9x13 inch pan, depending on your need. I make two smaller pans, one to eat, one to give away or freeze for another day.
Tear your bread into chunks or if you prefer cut into cubes and distribute evenly into the prepared pan(s).
In a large bowl, crack your eggs one at a time and whisk after each addition. Add in milk, cream, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and sea salt. Whisk well until thick, creamy and eggs are blended in well.
Pour mixture evenly over torn bread into pan(s), cover pan tightly and store in fridge overnight (or until needed) -- you can bake it right away, although it's best if let sit overnight.
MAKING CINNAMON CRUNCH CRUMB TOPPING
In a medium-large mixing bowl add your flour, packed brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Mix together with a fork. Next, chop your cold butter into small cubes and toss in.
Using a fork, mix the butter and flour/sugar mixture until coated, then get your hands dirty and get in there and mix, mix, mix.
You can use a pastry blender, however; for this crumb topping I highly recommend you use either your hands or a mixer. It'll take you a couple of minutes, but you want the color to be uniform and the crumb mixture to stick together, you will still have some pieces of butter that shine through, that's perfectly fine! Ultimately you want to be able to make marble sized crumbs on top of the casserole.
Once it's combined, toss it in a ziplock baggie and store in the fridge with the french toast mixture and let it chill overnight.
BAKING THE CINNAMON CRUNCH FRENCH TOAST
When you are ready to bake, preheat your oven to 350°, remove your french toast casserole and topping from the fridge.
Crumble your crumb crunch topping evenly over the top(s) of the french toast.
Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, more bread pudding-like texture or 1 hour plus for a firmer, crisper texture. Since I like mine softer and my family likes theirs firmer, I typically split the difference baking for about 50-55 minutes.
If desired, serve with warm maple syrup, a little pat of butter and fresh berries, but it's totally optional, it's delicious all on it's own.
Any leftover (white) bread works well; my favorites are Brioche, Challah (egg bread) and French Bread, but you can use Sourdough, along with other white breads as well.
If you split the casserole into two pans, I suggest at least making 1 1/2 servings of the crumb topping, maybe even double it. Can you really have too much crumb topping? I think not!
You may freeze your french toast casserole before or after baking! To cook, remove casserole from freezer day before you want to serve. Allow the casserole and crumb topping to thaw in refrigerator overnight, then bake as directed.