Shut the front! Did I just say eggnog, french toast, and bourbon together?
Did I mention it was perfectly acceptable for breakfast?!
Well, Merry Christmas to you and yours!
I am serious, this French Toast casserole that is infused with festive notes reminiscent of Eggnog, is the perfect way to usher in Christmas morning.
Plus you assemble this the night prior to baking! Which yes, that gets you out of the kitchen and with your family!
Truthfully, Eggnog is not one of my favorite Holiday flavor combinations. I think that I was ruined by overly sweetened drinks that were a bit too rich for my enjoyment.
However, it is something my Hubbie requests each year at Christmas time.
And when you look at the players for Eggnog, eggs, nutmeg, cream, and sugar, it is simply the starting of a custard.
Custards? I love custards. They are perfect for ice cream, puddings, trifles, and bread puddings or french toast. I just don’t want to drink a thick raw custard.
So if Eggnog is a technically a custard, why wouldn’t it be the perfect base for french toast?
And that is when this little casserole creation popped into my brain.
I flip over french toast. It is one of my hidden love languages I believe.
So if I could combine my love of French Toast with my Hubbie’s love of Eggnog AND serve in the morning with ZERO work, what could be better?
And I am so glad that it worked–totally NAILED IT with this one! Not to brag or anything.
Overnight French Toast Casserole
In order to make a delicious overnight breakfast casserole, the bread is key. You want a thick sliced bread that is slightly dried out, therefore making it able to absorb the custard of your choice. I chose to use my whole wheat bread recipe that had been diced into 1 inch cubes. To ensure my bread was dried out, I left the cubes of bread sit out, uncovered, several hours.
Next, you just have to whip together a custard. Like I said, a custard base is cream/dairy-free milk of come sort paired with eggs, sugar and flavorings of your choice. Since I am choosing to highlight Eggnog, I went for a combination of milk, half-and half, tons of nutmeg, eggs and sweetened with maple syrup (because maple syrup goes perfectly with french toast.)
Then you need to let your bread sit in that custard for at least 12 hours to fully absorb the richness of the custard.
And then you bake and breakfast is served.
The Bourbon Glaze
Every good french toast needs a good topping.
Maple syrup is an obivious choice, as is fresh fruit and whipped cream.
But to make this casserole Holiday worthy, what about throwing a bit of bourbon into the mix? And since Eggnog has traditionally been served with a shot of bourbon, A bourbon glaze only seemed fitting.
But you can leave the Bourbon out of this glaze for the kiddos or non-drinkers in your family.
I made a simple cream cheese glaze the night before I served the casserole and in the morning added a bit of Bourbon to the adult’s portions. And WOW! Since I am not a liquor drinker just a whiff of bourbon was all I needed to wake up, no coffee necessary!!
Eggnog French Toast Casserole
- For the Casserole:
- 1 pound whole wheat bread or french bread
- 8 large eggs
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground nutmeg
- Dash salt
- For the Bourbon Glaze:
- 4 tablespoons softened cream cheese
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 tablespoon Bourbon (or additional milk)
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Butter for greasing
- Slice bread into 1-inch cubes. Arrange cubes in a buttered 9 by 13-inch baking dish.
- In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, syrup, vanilla, nutmeg and salt and whisk until blended but not too bubbly. Pour mixture over the bread slices, making sure all are covered evenly with the milk-egg mixture. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
- To make the glaze: beat cream cheese with bourbon, milk, sugar and lemon juice until smooth. Store in the fridge until serving.
- The next day, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake casserole for 40-45 minutes.
- Serve with glaze (to thin glaze out, simply whisk with a fork for a minute or add a slash more bourbon or milk.)
*You can also make this in individual 1 cup casserole dishes. Just evenly divide among 12 1-cup ramekins that have been greased and adjust the baking time to 30 minutes.