I made this recipe on Christmas, but I wanted to share it with you now because it would be good on any holiday morning that involves activity such as Easter, which is coming up soon. I wrote this post and put it into queue before Paula Deen announced her diabetes diagnosis. I chose not to change what I originally wrote, despite her announcement.
I was looking for a make-ahead breakfast for Christmas morning so I did a search for French Toast Bake and found Paula Deen’s Baked French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup recipe on the Food Network site.
You can imagine that any recipe created by Paula is an indulgence…and high in carbs!
I looked over the ingredient list and instructions and figured out where I could take out a few of the carbs without detracting from the overall flavor. I made the French toast portion (the bread and custard) as directed, but I halved the ingredients in the praline topping, omitting the corn syrup.
I think you could make this without the praline topping, but I wanted it to be a holiday indulgence. My kids prefer sugar free syrup, which I think is sacrelidge. I need real maple syrup. But using sugar free syrup also takes down the overall carb count.
Note that I rarely buy or make foods that contain artificial sweeteners. I tend to opt for the real thing over some poor substitute. There is very little sugar in the French toast/custard base (the carbs are in the bread). I suppose you could use the Splenda brown sugar blend in the praline topping to further reduce the carbs.
I also made the praline topping in a separate container the night before instead of making it in the morning to reduce time away from the excitement of the morning. I slathered it on right before I popped it in the oven.
Baked French Toast
(Modified from Paula Deen’s recipe.)
1 loaf French bread (16 ounces)
8 large eggs
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
praline topping (see below)
maple syrup or sugar free syrup
1. Slice bread into 1-inch slices. Arrange in a generously buttered 9×13-inch baking dish in 2 rows, overlapping the slices.
2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, half-and-half, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Beat with a whisk until blended but not bubbly.
3. Pour egg mixture over the bread covering evenly. Spoon some of the mixture between the slices.
4. Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.
The Next Morning
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Spread praline topping evenly over the bread.
3. Bake for 40 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden.
4. Serve with maple or sugar free syrup
1 stick butter, softened
70 g light brown sugar (don’t need to pack it, just weigh it)
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Combine all ingredients in a bowl and blend well.
These carb counts are approximate and reflect the ingredients I used. Read labels of the ingredients you use for an accurate count.
French toast (276.2 total) 35 Cb
Praline topping (79.8 total) 10 Cb
1 Tbs real maple syrup 13.5 Cb
One eighth of the recipe is a large serving and you could easily divide it into more servings, especially if you are also eating other foods. It is very rich on it’s own and you really only need a little bit of syrup.
My four-year-old wouldn’t touch it, which is no surprise because he won’t try anything new. Q took one bite and didn’t like it, but that’s okay, the grown ups thought it was great!