French Toast Casserole – Slow Cooking Thursday
Head over to Sandra’s for Slow Cooking Thursday and see what is in everybody else’s crock pot!
Today’s recipe is one I am trying for the first time today. I will adjust the time on it if it looks like it needs it later. I wanted to try this out when I am kind of around the house today to check how it is cooking. If it works out well, we can have French toast for breakfasts during the week without the fuss. Woo-hoo! I used the recipe from the queen of crock pot cooking, Stephanie at Crockpot 365. I just tweeked the recipe a bit to be slightly less sweet, with some different seasonings, and to be all dairy free (she is already a gluten free girl). I also used a couple of different techniques I use when doing French toast casserole for the family so that it cooks up evenly for us. It may make it a bit like a bread pudding style French toast, but for the casserole, that is what we like as the custard base seems to better absorb into the bread.
Check out all of the slow cooking recipes Stephanie shares at Crockpot365. They are all gluten free and her blog is fun reading. Her blog is one of my favorites…
Slow Cooker French Toast Casserole (adapted from Stephanie’s recipe at Crockpot365)
8 cups gluten and dairy free soft bread cubes, about 1″ to 1 1/2″ (I cut up Noah’s rolls I had on hand. Stephanie use a gluten free raisin bread. Mmmm….)
1 dozen eggs
4 cups gluten and dairy free milk substitute (I used unsweetened plain almond milk, Stephanie used heavy cream as part of her milk. To make dairy free, you could use 1 cup coconut milk blended with 3 cups almond for a richer French toast.)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon gluten free vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon gluten free almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup walnuts or other nut, optional
Oil the inside of a 6 quart slow cooker. Place the bread cubes into the slow cooker.
Put the rest of the ingredients, except the nuts, into a blender and blend at a low speed until combined. Pour egg mixture over bread cubes. Cover crock and put crock into refrigerator until about 6-8 hours before you would like your meal. (Mine soaked for a couple of hours, but you could even let soak overnight, which is what I do with my regular French toast casserole.) Stephanie set it to cook right away, but I like to let a French toast casserole’s egg mixture soak into the bread before baking so that the egg is more evenly distributed though out the casserole.
When ready to cook, put crock in slow cooker base and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
After 8 hours, Stephanie had a bit of liquid left in the crockpot, but the bread on top was browned nicely and the egg was done. She took the lid off for 30 minutes before she remembered that she had left the lid off of the crockpot, and that it was still plugged in. All the moisture was gone and the french toast was perfect. (That is why I am trying to cook the casserole about 7 hours before I would like to eat, just incase I need to let it sit for a half hour. I’ll let you know how it worked for me.)
**Edit (after supper): This took 8 hours to cook, plus the 30 minute lid off time. Perfect for overnight! I did not mind the 30 minutes as it gave me enough time to ready some strawberries and turkey sausage to have with the French toast. The smell through the house really got the kids to speed through washing their hands and get ready for dinner, too!
I caught my son and MY MOM licking their plates, so I think that means I have to make this again. My mom thought this was perfect as is (she licked the plate!!), but I thought just a bit moist, so the next time I will reduce the milk substitute by half of a cup, then if still too moist, a half cup more. That should do it for me for the moisture level to be right. I will update with the new amount of liquid when I make this again (next week for Spring Break sounds like a great idea).
I am putting this down as an official family favorite. (And a favorite of my mom’s, too, apparently! Hee, hee, hee!!) Thanks, Stephanie!!