Is it a dessert or is it breakfast? How about you eat it for breakfast, and then again for dessert? I am just giving you options. No need to commit to those two meals only. There is also lunch and dinner! And if you are a hobbit from the shire (or just a-shire to be one, get it), apparently you have a first AND second breakfast. Basically, the options are limitless.
So whether you are going for your first or your second breakfast, this French toast bake is pretty awesome. It has all of the makings of a beautiful French toast bake, but it also has a caramel sauce. Maple syrup is so yesterday; unless you are buddy the elf, then syrup is everything. You are of course welcome to add syrup. You just might go into a coma and die. I mean, not really, the odds of that happening are quite low. I am just being overly dramatic in my point that this dish is sweet enough on its own; very unlike me. You are going to want that spoon full of sugar to make the Amy go down. Okay, that sounds bad. Moving on.
I have actually made this dish two ways. First, I made it with croissants and then again with brioche bread. And since I am in the giving holiday mood, I will give you BOTH recipes. Hey, I have all the time in the world too. Not insanely busy at all. Four hours of sleep is all I need. If only you could see me rolling my eyes right now. I am sooooo busy and exhausted. I was talking to my husband yesterday and he said he was incapable of throwing something in the trash or pick up because there were five things out in the house and it was distracting. I said a) You're smarter than that, stop making excuses. And then b) Do you not understand that every single other person we know thinks I am super woman and that I get an inhuman amount of things done during the day? You are literally the only person alive who thinks I should be doing more with my day. Have some perspective you lucky bastard. (I said all of this with a loving subservient twinkle in my eye. Still rolling my eyes.)
Have I really even talked about this French yet? Hahahaha
Whether you chose brioche or croissants, you are still in good hands. This alarmingly simple dish will impress your friends and family and it won't have you slaving all day. Go ahead and enjoy your first and second breakfast(s) with your loved ones (or total strangers if you need to make new friends).
The instructions and the caramel sauce are the same. You will need more liquid ingredients, however, for the bread than you would for the croissants. The bread will absorb more moisture than the croissants. I will include the quantities for the "bake" part below, then go into directions for both as one single element.
You can also make the base (carbs soaked in fat and sugar, haha) the night before, cover it and let it sit in your fridge. If you do make it the day of, allow the bread covered in the egg/milk mixture) to sit for at least 30 minutes before baking.
Ingredients with Croissants:
2 cups whole milk
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup white sugar
3 tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Ingredients with brioche (or another "sweet" bread, not to be confused with sweet breads, haha):
16 oz bread (roughly 1 loaf)
3 cups milk
1 cup heavy whip
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1. In a large bowl, beat together milk, eggs, heavy whip, sugars and vanilla until a homogeneous mixture has formed.
2. Tear or cut your croissants/bread into 1 1/2" cubes.
3. Gently fold the bread into the liquid. Cover and allow the liquid to soak in for at least 30 minutes, or over night.
4. Grease your baking dish and add the coasted bread into your pan. (You will want something that is larger than an 8"x 8" dish. I used a rectangular and oval shaped casserole dish when making this both times. Just eye it, I am confident in you.)
5. Bake at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes.
Caramel Sauce Ingredients/Instructions:
1/2 cup salted butter
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1. While your French toast is baking, go ahead and prepare your caramel sauce.
2. In a large, non stick pan melt 1/2 cup of butter.
3. Once the butter is melted, whisk in 1 cup of brown sugar.
4. Slowly add the 1/4 cup of heavy whipping cream, whisking along the way, until everything is one blended color.
5. After your oven timer goes off, carefully pour the caramel sauce on top of the French Toast bake as evenly (and carefully) as possible.
6. Turn the oven temperature down to 300 and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
7. Allow your dish to cool before eating.
8. Garnish with powdered sugar if desired.
9. Is it cooled? Okay, go head and eat it. You can just pinch little bites out of the pan. I know I did.