A simple, buttery, french toast cinnamon roll love child drizzled with naturally-sweetened cream cheese frosting. Inexpensive enough to serve a crowd, but decadent enough to make this morning special.
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The thing about whole grain bread is that it is not white bread. When you grew up like I did on Wonder bread slices and french toast was slim, flimsy, and easy to eat 18 slices of it without thinking, whole grain french toast can be disappointing.
It’s much less custard-with-a-crust. Instead, it can turn into hearty, lightly-sweetened egg bread.
No worries. I have the answer.
First, that flimsy nonsense was not even real bread.
Second, just smother it in naturally-sweetened cream cheese frosting. It’s all about balance, right?
Cinnamon roll french toast is the perfect answer to someone who loves both cinnamon rolls and french toast and wishes they had made a baby.
Oh, that’s just me?
I’m sure you will love this anyway. It’s all the things that make a special breakfast awesome – butter, bread, eggs, cream cheese, maple syrup, cinnamon, and vanilla.
And it prevents waste by helping you use that stale bread – or maybe that loaf of the Easiest Bread Ever that didn’t turn out quite right because we’re still mastering homemade bread (or maybe you just didn’t pay attention and underbaked it, ahem. It happens.)
This simple, buttery, french toast cinnamon roll love-child is inexpensive enough to serve a crowd and decadent enough to make any morning special. Perfect for holidays or family gatherings when you want to make a memorable breakfast but don’t want to wake up extra early to prepare it.
Tips for Making Great Whole Grain French Toast:
Soak it in the egg mixture overnight, casserole-style. This gives the denser whole grain breadtimes to absorb the custard.
Add Maple Syrup to the Custard
Rather than loading the french toast with white sugar, I add a little maple syrup.
Vanilla & Cinnamon
Be Frugal & Green
In order to avoid using plastic wrap or other disposable covers for this casserole, I use my Pyrex baking pans with lids (affiliate link). Easy to cover and refrigerate overnight, easy to store leftovers, and easy to take with me to a friend’s brunch (or whatever I do in my imaginary fancy social life).
We got them over 8 years ago. They are my only rectangular baking pans, and they are still going strong!
- 1 loaf whole grain bread, (about 1 lb)
- 3 cups whole milk
- 6 eggs
- 1/4 cup maple syrup or 2 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch salt
- Butter or oil, for greasing
- 2 tbsp sugar, (turbinado, sucanat, and coconut sugar work great!)
- 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Cream Cheese Frosting:
- 6 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 3 tbsp butter, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Generously butter a 9x12-inch baking pan. Slice whole grain bread into 1/2-inch thick slices. Then cut each slice into 4 pieces (I like to slice it crosswise).
- Stack the bread slices in the baking pan in 2 rows across and 2-3 slices deep.
- Whisk together the milk, eggs, maple syrup, 1 tbsp cinnamon, vanilla, and salt until thoroughly combined.
- Pour the egg mixture evenly over the slices in the pan. Cover pan tightly and refrigerate overnight.
- The next morning, preheat the oven to 350 F. Remove the baking pan from the oven and uncover it. Take the cream cheese and butter out of the fridge to let it soften.
- In a small bowl, combine the 2 tbsp sugar and 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Sprinkle it evenly over the top of the french toast.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the egg and milk is no longer runny, and the casserole is golden brown.
- While the french toast cools, make the frosting. Place the cream cheese and butter in a medium-size mixing bowl. Use a sturdy whisk or electric mixer to beat until soft and fluffy, then add the rest of the ingredients. Mix until it becomes a smooth frosting. If you want it to be more of a glaze, add a few tablespoons of milk, 1 tablespoon at a time.
- Slice french toast into squares and serve, generously drizzled or spread with cream cheese frosting.
You can bake the bread ahead of time and freeze it: simply wrap the loaf in plastic wrap and store in a gallon-size freezer bag.
Use any leftover bread that's going stale! You can even freeze a partial loaf and wait until you have enough stashed away to make a whole batch of this. (Pssst - it doesn't even have to be homemade. Use what works for you!)
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Nutrition InformationYield 12 Serving Size 1 square
Amount Per Serving Calories 234Total Fat 14gSaturated Fat 7gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 124mgSodium 162mgCarbohydrates 20gFiber 1gSugar 17gProtein 6g
Please note: The actual calories and nutrition of this dish will change depending on what ingredients you use. Nutrition information is not always accurate.