So, today marks four years that this blog has chugged along. I began with a list of my favorite recipes to share but have gotten sidetracked by trying tons of new dishes I’ve discovered along the way.
This French Toast Berry Bake, though, is on ol’ favorite that comes from a high school friend who serves it at her Christmas Brunch each year. Of all the goodies in her luscious spread, this is the one I look forward to most. She graciously shared the recipe with me many eons ago.
However, I rarely make it because the butter and sugar and bread creates a total calorie bomb. So darn fluffy and sweet and tart and crunchy, though, as you combine all that with berries and pecans.
I always feel guilty about making this. You see, in my mind I associate this with special holiday events, and considering that I’ve feasted for weeks on sugary treats during the holiday season, my mind tells me to avoid making one more sweet and calorie-laden dish.
However, this year, my mom sent me home on Christmas day with a leftover baguette. Perfect excuse to make this fruity french toast dish, right? This time I attempted to modify the recipe and reduce the fat content. I used less sugar, for starters, and I used dark brown sugar to deepen the flavor. Then I swapped the butter for coconut oil. Still tasted sweet enough.
Then I started wondering how many fewer calories were used with coconut oil vs. butter. To my surprise, they are nearly equal!! Loads of articles out there about how coconut oil isn’t necessarily better than butter nor vice versa. So much for my great idea to seriously make a dent in calorie reduction. I’m happy that I managed to cut back on the sugar, at least, and not reduce the love I have for this ol’ fav.
By the way, much of this can be prepared a day in advance, making it an easy breakfast meal to pop in the oven upon waking. Always a good thing, right?
French Toast Berry Bake
French Toast & Batter
- 1 24-inch baguette
- 6 large eggs
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar (original recipe calls for 3/4 cup light brown sugar)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 cup pecans
- 2 cups blueberries or any combination of mixed berries
- 1/4 cup coconut oil (original recipe calls for 1/2 stick butter)
- 2 tbsp. dark brown sugar (original recipe calls for 1/4 cup light brown sugar)
- Butter a 13×9-inch baking dish.
- Cut baguette into 1-inch slices; arrange in baking dish.
- Whisk together eggs, milk, brown sugar, vanilla extract, nutmeg, and salt; pour over bread. At this point, you can cover and refrigerate the dish overnight until ready to bake the following morning.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Toast pecans by stirring them in a pan over medium heat until they smell toasty. Coarsely chop and sprinkle over mixture in pan.
- Sprinkle berries over mixture.
- In small saucepan, melt 1/4 cup coconut oil with brown sugar until sugar dissolves. Drizzle over mixture in pan.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes.
SOURCE: my high school friend Gina