Created by TODAY with our sponsor Blue Diamond Almond Breeze.
This is one of my favorite recipes to serve for big weekend brunches because it's an easy and delicious way to satisfy a crowd with varied dietary needs ... without having to make different dishes for everyone.
Technique tip: This can be prepped ahead and baked just before serving, which is especially nice when entertaining.
Swap option: If you need to, you can easily swap in a loaf of gluten-free bread or replace the egg with a vegan alternative. And, depending on the time of year, you can replace the apples with whatever fruit is in season. I especially love adding fresh peaches during the height of summer!
- One 1½ pound loaf whole wheat or multi-grain sandwich bread (preferably stale)
- 8 large eggs
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2½ cups unsweetened Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
- 5 large tart apples
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest (optional)
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 cup Almond Breeze Unsweetened Almond Milk
- 1/2 to 1 teaspoon kosher salt
For the French toast:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9- by 13-inch baking dish.
2. Chop the bread into 2- to 3-inch pieces. Pile cut bread and any crumbs on a baking sheet and place in oven for 5-10 minutes, to toast slightly. Remove from the oven and transfer to a large bowl.
3. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs well until thick and lemon-colored. Beat in the maple syrup, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, salt, vanilla and almond milk. Pour this mixture over the bread and toss to combine. Let it sit and soak while you prepare the apples.
For the apple filling:
1. Peel, core and slice apples into 1/2- to 1-inch thick slices.
2. Heat 4 tablespoons of coconut oil in a large skillet over medium heat, then add the sliced apples, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, maple syrup and lemon zest. Saute for about 5 minutes or until the apples are just slightly tender. Remove from the heat and let cool.
3. Fold the apples (and any sauce or oil in the pan) into the bowl with the bread, until evenly distributed, then transfer into the prepared baking dish, spreading out the mixture evenly.
4. Bake uncovered for 45 minutes to an hour, or until puffed slightly and golden brown on top. 5. While the French toast bakes, make the caramel sauce.
For the caramel syrup:
1. In a heavy saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the remaining 4 tablespoons coconut oil with the brown sugar and maple syrup. Whisk continuously until the brown sugar has melted, then reduce heat to medium-low and let simmer about 5 minutes, whisking regularly.
2. While continuing to whisk, pour in the 1/2 cup of almond milk in a slow, steady stream. Add the salt and continue whisking regularly for about 5-7 minutes, allowing the syrup to thicken slightly. Test the syrup by dipping in a clean metal spoon and drawing a line down the back of it with your finger. If it holds the line, it's ready. Remove from heat and let it cool to room temperature.
3. Drizzle half the syrup over the French toast bake and serve to guests with additional syrup on the side.