Thursday, June 9, 2011

Caramel Apple French Toast Casserole

As a disclaimer before I begin writing this headnote, let me be clear:  this is not health food.  Just because its name suggests breakfast food, I am in no way advocating that you feed your kiddos this very sweet "breakfast" food before you send them off to school.  :)  I'm not even going to suggest that it would make a healthy dinner.  Sometimes it is fun to change up the normal breakfast or dinner routine just a bit.  Make it a bit special.  Kids work hard at being kids (sometimes too hard, if you know what I mean!) and they deserve a fun, homemade treat once in awhile. 

However, I will suggest to you that it is delicious.  Caramel sauce and apples added to already delicious French Toast?  Um, yes, please!  So, my encouragement to you is to just savor the moment.  Enjoy this.  You can go back to healthy granola-topped yogurt tomorrow morning. 

Caramel Apple French Toast Casserole
A Karla Original

1 loaf of bread (I used this whole wheat bread), torn or cut into 1-inch cubes)
4 apples, peeled, cored, and coarsely chopped
For Caramel Sauce:
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 cup water
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 cup butter
1 tbl. cornstarch
1 tbl. cold water
10 eggs
1 cup milk

Lightly spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add brown sugar, water, heavy cream, cinnamon, ground cloves, and butter.  Whisk to combine and bring to a low boil.  Make a slurry with the cornstarch and cold water in a separate bowl, stirring with a spoon until smooth.  Slowly add the cornstarch slurry to caramel sauce, and whisk until sauce is slightly thickened.  Set aside.

In a large bowl (I used my Kitchenaid stand mixer), whisk together the 10 eggs and the cup of milk.  Set aside.

Add 1/2 of the cubed bread to the prepared baking dish.  Add the chopped apples.  Pour a bit of the caramel sauce over the apples.  Top with the remaining cubed bread.  Pour egg mixture over the entire dish and top with a bit more caramel sauce (reserve some sauce for serving).  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

When ready to bake, put the baking dish into the oven while the oven preheats to 375-degrees.  (Don't put a cold dish directly into the heated oven--your glass or stoneware will crack).  Or you can remove the baking dish from the refrigerator about an hour before you preheat your oven and let it come to room temperature before baking.

Bake for 45 minutes, until egg is set and the top is slightly golden.  Uncover and bake for 15 more minutes, until top is lightly browned.  Remove from oven and let stand for 5 minutes before cutting and serving.  Drizzle remaining caramel sauce over the top.

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