Baked French Toast with Streusel Topping

Oh how I wish I were brave. While meandering along the Pacific Coast Highway, I fell in love with everything – the tiny towns, the friendly people, the beauty that surrounds you and the cold, crisp, clean air. If I were truly brave, I’d pack up everything and head up north to open a little bistro serving breakfast and lunch. I’m just not that brave. More than 60% of restaurants fail within the first year. A staggering 80% will not survive to see five years in business. Why? There are a number of factors – location, start-up costs and the most dreaded of all – yelp. In this day and age of trendy eateries, all it takes in one bad review and you may as well hang a sign on your door with a giant thumbs down. Everything has to be perfect BEFORE the doors ever open. There is no room for mistakes. Yet I wish I were brave. And younger – much, much younger.
Some of you might remember this offering from Calling on Home Cooks for Sunday Brunch Ideas. Way back in August 2014 I was looking for brunch ideas and had offered up some of my favorite brunch recipes for consideration. While the Baked French Toast was not the winner, in my heart it is one of my favorites. Anything that can be assembled the night before and simply popped into the oven the next day is great when feeding a crowd. It allows plenty of time to scramble up a few dozen eggs an a few pounds of bacon. Served along side fresh season fruit, the presentation is great.
Baked French Toast with Streusel Topping
French Toast
1 loaf sourdough bread, cut into 1-inch pieces
6 eggs
1½ cups whole milk
½ cup half and half
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of salt
Spray a 13×9 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray or butter liberally. Add bread cubes to baking dish and distribute evenly.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, half and half, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and pinch of salt. Pour over bread cubes. Press bread cubes into the baking dish to make sure they absorb custard.
Cover baking dish tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Streusel Topping
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ stick butter, diced
In a small bowl, mix together ingredients for the Streusel topping being sure to break up butter into small pieces. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove baking dish and Streusel topping from the refrigerator. Sprinkle Streusel topping liberally over the top of the French toast.
Bake 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for about 3 minutes before serving.
Serve warm with maple syrup.

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