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By Casey Barber
Today

Got overnight guests, family or friends who need an extra-special way to start their day? Prep this rich and decadent French toast the night before and you'll have a deluxe breakfast the next morning. With this easy baked method, you won't be stuck flipping toast at the griddle either — giving you more time to chat at the breakfast table. 

Make-ahead French toast
Yield: 4-6 servings
Active Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour to 1 hour and 15 minutes

  • 1 loaf of sturdy Italian bread, Pullman bread, brioche or challah
  • 4 large eggs
  • 3 cups cream (heavy or light), half-and-half or whole milk
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • Store-bought caramel sauce (optional, but delicious)
  • Powdered sugar and/or maple syrup for serving
Today

Do-ahead: Soak the French toast

Slice the bread: The night before you want to serve the French toast, slice the loaf of bread into 1/2 to 3/4 inch-thick slices.

Make the batter: Whisk the eggs, cream, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and nutmeg together in a large mixing bowl until the sugar dissolves.

Dip and stack the bread: Dip each slice of bread into the egg-and-cream mixture and lay flat in a 9x13 casserole pan. You'll need to stack the bread slices in 2 or 3 layers to fit them all in the pan. 

Store and soak: Cover the pan with plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate overnight.

Today

The next morning: Bake and serve

Assemble the toast: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Meanwhile, carefully remove the slices one at a time from the casserole pan and "reassemble" the loaf by standing the slices up in a standard 9x5-inch loaf pan or other small baking dish that will fit the slices snugly. The bread will be very soft after its overnight soak, so be gentle. (If it falls apart, put it back together as best you can — it will bake up fine!)

Add optional sauce: For extra decadence, drizzle the bread with caramel sauce, dripping it between the slices.

Bake: Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until the loaf is cooked through and crispy on top.

Eat up: Serve with additional caramel sauce, powdered sugar, and/or maple syrup.