July 17, 2011

French Toast Casserole with Maple Syrup

Hey all! Sorry! I know it's been a while since I've posted a new recipe! I've been so busy lately with life stuff that it's been keeping me from cooking! Don't you hate that? It's the first thing to go when I'm too busy. Lately my diet has been consisting of so many processed foods. I can't wait to get back on track. I did finally find a new car and I sold my old car. Now I'm just looking for a new apartment and eventually a new job. Like I said before "So much to do, so little time".

I did, however, find the time to invite my parents over for breakfast and offer to make breakfast for them! I was perusing the recipes over at Food Network's website and stumbled upon a recipe by Paula Deen for a French Toast Casserole. I was officially in love. I knew I had to make it, but the ingredients list was filled with non-vegan foods, so I had to come up with my own way of making it! Speaking of which, I know Paula Deen is not a "favorite" of the Vegan community, but I actually happen to love her. I love her show, I love her personality, and she just seems like a sweet person. I know that she puts 12 eggs, half a pig, and a pound of butter in about everything she makes, but I try to see beyond that. Really, a lot of her recipes look really good. Maybe I can see her differently since I grew up in a similar household (where my grandmother cooks my grandpa's eggs in bacon grease *shudder*). What do you guys think of Paula?

Also, there's something else I must address. I was born and raised here in America's heartland (Minnesota/Wisconsin). The only time I've ever heard the term "casserole" was if my Mom or Grandmothers were making Tuna Noodle Casserole. Otherwise, we always called casseroles by a different name - "hot dish". Is that a purely Midwestern thing or are there other parts of the country that do the same thing? I find it so interesting! A friend of mine and I were in Key West, Florida a few years ago and we went to eat at a restaurant. She asked the waitress what kind of "pop" they carried there and she said "You must not be from around here". She said they called everything "Coke"! Anyway, I've gone off on enough tangents today! My parents absolutely loved the recipe - so here ya go! You have to cut the bread and let it soak in the batter overnight, so it takes a little advanced preparation, but it's worth it!

  • 1 large or 2 medium French baguettes
  • 3 cups flour
  • 3 cups non-dairy milk (I used Silk Soymilk)
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp cinnamon 
  • Walnut Praline Topping - recipe below
In a bowl, whisk together the flour, milk, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

Slice bread into 3/4 inch thickness. Spray a large casserole dish or baking dish with cooking spray. Layer the first layer with slices of bread. Pour a third of the batter on top of the bread. Repeat to make three layers (or more if you have enough room in your dish and enough batter!) Cover with tinfoil and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning, preheat the oven to 350F. While the oven is heating, you can make the praline topping!

Praline topping:
  • 1/2 cup Shortening
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance Spread
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 2 tablespoons agave nectar or maple syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Mix together all the ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Spread evenly over the french toast and bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the tops are golden brown.


  1. That looks amazing. I think this is something my husband and brother in law would really love. The next time we are all together I am making this!

  2. Yeah, that looks awesome.

    I'm a fan of comfort food, so I can totally see the appeal of Paula Deen.

    I grew up in ND, by the way. We call it hot dish there, too.

  3. I LOVE Paula Deen for the same reasons you do. She just seems so sweet.

  4. This looks so Yummy! I think I'll make it for the next holiday breakfast! Out west, we call it casserole instead of Hot Dish and we call it soda instead of pop. When I moved to Wisconsin as a child I though hot dish was the strangest thing. I love Paula Deen too! Comfort foods galore! When I cook and bake I usually use coconut milk as a substitute. You still have a little bit of the coconutty taste but its consistency is close to milk so it works really well. :)

  5. I'm a Paula Deen personality fan too - she reminds me of the Southern grandmother I never had! I love this recipe - and I'm definitely trying it next Sunday brunch opportunity! Great post!

  6. Matthew, I just put a version of this in the fridge to have for breakfast tomorrow morning. I will let you know how it turns out.

  7. Great! Can't wait to see how it turns out!

  8. It was fantastic! Thanks for the recipe :)

  9. Adore Paula and can't wait to try this recipe!

  10. Who knew french toast can be into a casserole. That is awesome. By the way - I am from Florida and we do say "soda" and casserole. I even sometimes say "dish" myself. As for Paula Deen - same reason as you. She's a joy to watch.

    One recipe I can make with bread, is bread pudding, which is good. But I'm dying for this french toast recipe! For some reason, this would go wonderfully in Winter on a Sunday morning.

    I can get the Earth Balance at Whole Foods; as for the shortening, Publix carries some vegan lines too, but if I'm going to Whole Foods for Earth Balance I can try to find the shortening.

    I really love your blogs and the recipes. Just signed up! :) I also follow your FB page.

  11. Thanks Shawn! I'm glad you love all the recipes!

  12. Well, I just finished step 1 and have put it in the fridge. I used coconut milk (because I think soy milk tastes disgusting) and was a bit surprised to find that I had a big bowl of thick gloppy glue once I poured the milk into the bowl. I had to add almost a whole nother cup of milk to turn the batter into something that looked usable and I needed to use my electric mixer on it to get the globs to dissapate. I've got my fingers crossed for a good result tomorrow morning!

    1. Hmm...I've made this recipe numerous times and haven't had a problem with it! What kind of flour did you use? I hope it turns out ok for you!

  13. Is this not an adaptation from this?


    Or is it the other way around?

  14. I took this to a potluck at my school today and everyone loved it! It definitely held its own against all of the cream cheese and butter laden goodies. (:

    1. Yay! I'm so glad everyone loved it!! My non-vegan family loves this one too!

  15. Hi, thanks for this recipe, I made it for Christmas breakfast and my vegan husband loved it, I didn't have shortening so I used more earth balance spread for the topping, still turned great!!

    1. I'm so glad you guys liked it! I've used Earth Balance when I've been out of shortening too! It works out just fine! Merry Christmas!

  16. Pretty good, but I had a minor issue...
    I mixed up the batter with white whole wheat flour, and it became very glutinous overnight, basically baking into layers of boring wheat bread between my french bread slices. Maybe I should have used more milk, less flour, or constructed fewer layers (I made 3).
    But the overall product was excellent, especially with ample maple syrup to coat the bready slices, and the praline topping is amazing!

    1. I think I usually only do 2 layers, but that shouldn't be a problem. Maybe it was because you used whole wheat flour? Usually whole wheat flour requires more liquid when baking! I'm glad you liked it though!!