One of my favorite mottos is “Always have something to look forward to.” When the holiday hubbub is over, I look forward to January and – please don’t cringe – a really big snowstorm. My “perfect” winter would consist of just one snowstorm during this rather uneventful month, the kind of storm when the governor orders everyone to stay at home.
As part of the pre-snow ritual, I head to the supermarket for milk, bread and eggs. Ironically, those ingredients are the basis of some yummy comfort food. Once the “shut down” is confirmed, I invite nearby neighbors to pull on their boots and stomp through the snow for an impromptu snow day brunch at our home.
This recipe can be prepared the night before, so we can still sleep in. Add some fresh fruit, a carton of orange juice and a bottle of Prosecco to your pre-storm shopping list, and the snowstorm will become even more festive. Now that’s something to look forward to!
Cinnamon Raisin Baked French Toast
Sliced cinnamon-raisin bread – about 1½ loaves
Butter for greasing baking dish
2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup light or heavy cream
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
To make topping:
1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Butter, if desired
1. Butter a 9 x 13 baking dish generously, then overlap the bread slices until bottom is covered.
2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, cream, sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon until well blended.
3. Using a ladle, pour the mixture evenly over all the bread slices. Be sure to soak every piece of bread.
4. To make the topping, combine the cold butter, flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a bowl. Cut it together with a pastry cutter.
5. Sprinkle the topping all over the casserole. Cover the pan with foil and refrigerate it for several hours or overnight.
6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Bake the foil-covered French toast for 45 minutes for a soft texture. If you prefer a firmer, crispier texture, bake 15 minutes more. Remove foil for the last 15 minutes of baking.
7. Serve each helping with maple syrup and butter, if desired.