Breakfast in our home is a ritual, more for the kids than Lisa and myself, and over the years I have had to change up the standards in order to keep things from getting boring. Pancakes, waffles, and french toast lend themselves to a lot of interpretation and one of my favorites is baked french toast.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Start with a rectangular 3 quart casserole dish, and glass is the best because you can judge done’ness by looking at it as it is baking. Coat the casserole dish with non-stick baking spray, I prefer the Bak Klene brand because it is available in a gluten-free formula that works as well as the original, although in this case gluten-free is not necessary because the dish is not gluten-free.
8 slices white bread
1/2 cup brown sugar (turbinado is a great choice but anything will work)
1 tbs cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
In a bowl, mix the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, milk and vanilla together, set aside.
I use classic white bread or potato bread for this dish but you can certainly experiment with whatever suits your fancy. I think sweet french bread would be an awesome choice for this but have yet to try it. Layer the casserole dish with bread slices and coat the bread with a portion of the brown sugar mix. You will end up with 3 to 4 layers of bread for this dish and the idea is to layer the bread, cover with sugar and then add another layer.
When you get to the uppermost layer of bread, hold off on the sugar mix. Take your whisked eggs and pour evenly over the casserole dish. With the egg mixture combined with the bread, cover the top layer with your remaining sugar mixture and sliced almonds.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the eggs are set. You can judge done’ness by visually inspecting the glass casserole dish, looking for a nice browning around the sides, and by poking a skewer or fork into the center. If it comes out dry, the dish is done.
Remove from oven, slice and sprinkle with powdered sugar. This dish is sufficiently sweet that maple syrup is not required.