I wanted to make breakfast for my mom and sister Christmas morning and the first thing that came to mind was overnight French toast.
I usually have French toast on Christmas. A couple years ago, I stayed over at my friend’s place in Baltimore on Christmas Eve and we made some in the morning. She only had wheat bread and low-fat milk though, so the slices didn’t turn out as well.
I went all out for this French toast. I used whole milk, six eggs, thick slices of brioche bread, and brown sugar. I also added a healthy amount of bourbon. For me, it’s not the holidays without some liquor.
My favorite part of this recipe is how it comes together overnight. You assemble the slices in the baking pan the night before and then in the morning, you pop it into the oven. It bakes for about 30 minutes covered and then 15 minutes uncovered. This allows the middle of the toast to stay light and fluffy and the outsides to get crispy and slightly browned.
I cut the amount of sugar in this recipe because I was already using brioche bread, which is pretty sweet on its own. But if you decide to use slices of sourdough or another type of not-so-sweet bread, I’d consider upping the sugar. You could still make up the difference with maple syrup but it helps to have a little sweetness in the batter.
This French toast is sweet but not cloyingly so, rich, custardy, light, fluffy, and warming. It’s everything you’d want in a Christmas day breakfast, or just breakfast in general. It’s perfect for the holidays because, like I mentioned earlier, you get most of the prep work out of the way the night before so you can sleep in the next day and pop it in the oven when you wake up.
Overnight Bourbon Vanilla French Toast
1 loaf brioche, sliced into 12 thick slices
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of ground cardamom
1 mini bottle of bourbon (50 ml)
powdered sugar, maple syrup, and berries for serving
Place the melted butter at the bottom of a 9×13 casserole or baking dish. Mix the brown sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl.
Place six slices of brioche on top of the butter. Sprinkle half the sugar and cinnamon mixture on top of the bread. Layer another 6 slices of bread on top.
Blend the milk, eggs, vanilla extract, bourbon, and cardamom in a blender on high until smooth. You could also whisk these ingredients together in a large bowl.
Pour the mixture on top of the bread slices and sprinkle with the remaining sugar mixture. Cover the dish with foil and store in the refrigerator overnight.
In the morning, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Bake the French toast for about 30 minutes covered, then remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes, or until it’s set and golden brown on top.