Brunch Staples: Challah French Toast

When one of my (many) second cousins was engaged back in 2001, her aunts enlisted the extended family in a cookbook project. They asked each of us to contribute our favorite recipes as an engagement gift to the happy couple, and then emailed the final document to everyone. Several of the recipes are old family classics, so I printed and bound it to keep with my other cookbooks.

A number of the newer recipes have become favorites in our own home, including this one contributed by someone who is not related to me (but in my family, that is not a disqualifier), and clearly knows her way around a brunch table. I love that I can make it the night before. I’ve also made it up to the point of chilling, then frozen it for weeks, thawed it in the fridge for a day and cooked it in the morning. The ideal make-ahead dish.


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Challah French Toast Casserole (serves 8)


1 loaf of challah

8oz. reduced-fat cream cheese

8 large eggs (egg substitute works well, too)

1.5C 2%milk (confession—I usually use skim)

2/3C half-and-half

½ C maple syrup (don’t skimp!), plus more for serving

½ t Vanilla extract


  1. Coat a rectangular 11×7 baking dish with cooking spray or similar.
  2. Cut off top of challah crust and slice into 1-inch cubes. Lay cubes in pan.
  3. Mix all other ingredients in a blender. Pour evenly over mixture in dish. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Heat oven to 375 degrees. Bake 50 minutes, covering when it starts to brown.
  5. Sprinkle with powdered sugar (optional) and serve with additional maple syrup on the side.   

If you serve this with a number of other items buffet-style, it’ll feed a lot more people. It naturally slices into 8 servings, but those pieces are really big and a lot of your guests will cut them in half.

I usually bake this with the Santa Fe Egg Bake, and add a fruit salad to the table.  If you do the same, bake them both at 350 for one hour, but check them at 50 minutes and understand you may need to adjust the time. That is fine because each one will stay very warm when covered. Actually, the egg bake needs time to cool regardless.

Do you have a favorite brunch staple?


2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Harriet on January 16, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    OK, here is my question – are you cutting the top, that you just cut off, into cubes? What do you do with the bottom of the Challah? does it get used in this recipe or do you just munch n i while the casserole is in process?


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