Today’s brunch post is brought to you by a slight cold, laziness, and a craving for citrus fruits. Confused? Allow me explain.
Because Spring is a cruel b****, the weather outside keeps jumping insanely from “man, it’s so nice outside, I don’t even need a jacket” to “holy crap, I can’t feel my face” temperatures. This, combined with the fact that people always seem to get sick when the seasons change, means that a whole bunch of my coworkers either have sick kids or are sick themselves. Which, in turn, leads to lots of coughing and sneezing around the office…and then me also getting sick.
It’s a vicious, unbreakable cycle.
When I’m feeling under the weather, I generally don’t want to do anything but sleep. But, we have to eat, and junk food generally isn’t the greatest for promoting health, so I cook. The simplest, least fussy foods possible. Preferably with citrus in it, ‘cuz Vitamin C is good for you (my mom told me so).
French toast isn’t usually what I’d call “un-fussy,” but overnight french toast bake is. Slice some bread, pile it into a baking sheet, pour a milk+egg based mixture over the whole thing, and let it soak overnight in the fridge. When you’re ready to eat, just stick it in the oven for 30 minute and voila – a quick and easy breakfast that will satisfy the whole family.
For this overnight French toast bake, I took the added the step of zesting some lemons and throwing together a lemon-y glaze in lieu of maple syrup (Vitamin C, y’all). But even with this extra work, I was able to get everything on the table about 30 minutes after I got up this morning.
And with Dan helping with the other components of brunch (fresh fruit, green smoothies, bacon, and home fries), we were able to dig in much sooner than usual. Even with all my picture-taking, some of our food was still warm when we started eating. As a food blogger, I can tell that this almost never happens! Dan was pretty happy about it.
If you like French toast you’ll like this overnight/baked version, but there are some differences. Since each piece of bread isn’t individually pan-fried the way they usually are, the toast isn’t as crispy all the way through. The top of the bread gets really nice and toasty, but the bottom/middle (which is soaked in liquid overnight), stay relatively soft and moist. In terms of overall consistency, I would say this French toast bake is kind of like bread pudding with super crunchy bits on top.
Like I said – it’s different. But delicious! Especially with the lemon glaze drizzled on top. It’s buttery and smooth, delicately sweet, and absolutely packed with zesty lemon flavor. I could see it being great on just about anything – pancakes, pound cakes, etc. etc.,
As far as sick meals go, this was way better than chicken noodle soup. I swear, I feel better already! Must be all that Vitamin C from the glaze…
And, as you can see, our breakfast was so good even the furry feline members of our family tried to get in on the action. We let them have a few morsels of bacon, but kept the rest to ourselves.
Happy Sunday, everyone! Stay healthy 😀
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- 1 large loaf of French bread
- 1-1/2 cups skim milk
- 3 large eggs
- 1 lemon, zested
- 1 tbsp vanilla bean paste
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ cup butter (half a stick)
- ⅛ cup lemon juice
- ¼ cup granulated sugar
- ¼ cup powdered sugar
- 1 tbsp light corn syrup
- 1 to 2 tbsp skim milk
- The night before, lightly grease a square (8x8) baking dish with cooking spray.
- Add the sliced bread in 3 rows of about 8 slices per row, slightly overlapping. Set pan aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, vanilla bean paste, cinnamon and lemon zest.
- Pour mixture evenly over your bread slices in the pan, making sure each piece is completely soaked in the liquid.
- Cover the pan with aluminum foil and place it in the refrigerator overnight.
- When you're ready to cook/serve, take your pan out of the fridge and preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Bake french toast for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown.
- While your french toast is baking, make your lemon glaze.
- Melt your butter in a pan or skillet over medium heat.
- Stir in granulated sugar, lemon juice and corn syrup until well combined and slightly thickened, about 2 minutes.
- Remove pot from heat and whisk in powdered sugar. This will make your glaze noticeably thicker.
- Whisk in 1 tbsp milk - if you like the consistency, you're done! If you want it a little thinner/more pour-able, whisk in the second tbsp milk until mixture is smooth. (When you first add milk, your mixture will look lightly curdled - that's OK! Just keep whisking vigorously until smooth.)
- Drizzle about half your lemon glaze mixture on top of your baked french toast. Pour the rest of it into a small pitcher or serving bowl (with pouring spout) so that you/your guests can drip more glaze on the french toast if they want to.
- Scoop a few slices of french toast onto a plate.
- Drizzle with more glaze (optional).
- Dust lightly with powdered sugar (optional).
- Serve immediately, and enjoy!
(Recipe lightly adapted from Averie Cooks and Damn Delicious)