French toast is the ultimate sweet breakfast. Thick-cut, fluffy brioche soaked in eggs and cinnamon feels more upscale than typical fare like pancakes and waffles. Yet this deluxe morning treat can easily be turned into a casserole, which is a great way to feed a large group of people if necessary. Mashed recipe developer Jaime Bachtell-Shelbert turns French toast into a simple casserole by putting cubed bread in a baking dish and pouring a milk-and-egg mixture over top to soak into the bread as it bakes. As a bonus, this version is even easier to make than standard French toast because there's no need to attend to a pan or flip individual pieces of bread.
Bachtell-Shelbert told Mashed that her favorite part of this dish is "the ease of prep," but another standout element is its inclusion of crunchy nuts. Her simple French toast casserole recipe is keen on including either walnuts or pecans to the plush, spongy bread for textural variation. There's no need to overwhelm this recipe with crunchy nuts, though — just a small amount, either whole or roughly chopped, can add a layer of complexity to the breakfast dish.
Walnuts And Pecans Are French Toast's Best Friends
You can try adding other nuts to your French toast casserole, like almonds or hazelnuts, but walnuts and pecans are the best pick because of how they harmonize with the other flavors in Bachtell-Shelbert's recipe. The casserole features a buttery crumble of brown sugar and cinnamon sprinkled tactfully over top of the bread. It's undeniable that there's an unspoken bond between brown sugar's deep, toffee-like flavors and the earthy, buttery taste and texture of a walnut or pecan. In this way, Bachtell-Shelbert's French toast casserole is pecan pie-adjacent, and who doesn't like dessert for breakfast? The casserole's warm, comforting flavors are sure to make the sweet casserole a crowd-pleaser, as well as a hands-off holiday recipe to keep in store for your next celebration or weekend brunch.
For extra maple goodness, Bachtell-Shelbert recommends topping off the French toast casserole with maple syrup. Alternatively, if you want to lean into the French toast's slight nuttiness and round the meal off with other nutrients, she says the French toast "tastes great with some nut butter melted and drizzled on top with a side of Greek yogurt and blueberries." This is just about everything you could hope for in a breakfast meal: a cohesive flavor profile, a nutty crunch, and a sufficient amount of sweetness to start the day right. Best of all, nutty French toast casserole pairs perfectly with coffee.
Read the original article on Mashed.