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Slow Cooker French Toast Casserole

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Slow Cooker French Toast Casserole is a delightful and easy-to-make breakfast or brunch option that combines the comforting flavors of traditional French toast with the convenience of a slow cooker. This dish features cubed bread soaked in a rich, cinnamon-spiced egg mixture, topped with pecans and a sweet cinnamon sugar topping. Perfect for weekend mornings or special occasions, this casserole is sure to be a hit with family and friends.

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Ingredients

For the Casserole:

  • 6 eggs
  • 4 cups of cubed bread (preferably day-old or slightly stale)
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup cubed unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup chopped pecans

For the Topping:

  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

Instructions

Step 1: Prepare the Bread and Egg Mixture

  1. Grease the Slow Cooker:
    • Lightly grease the inside of your slow cooker with butter or non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Cube the Bread:
    • Cut the bread into 1-inch cubes and place them in a large mixing bowl.
  3. Mix the Wet Ingredients:
    • In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, ground cinnamon, and maple syrup until well combined.
  4. Combine the Bread and Egg Mixture:
    • Pour the egg mixture over the cubed bread, ensuring all the bread is well coated. Gently stir to combine.

Step 2: Assemble the Casserole

  1. Layer the Ingredients:
    • Pour half of the bread mixture into the slow cooker. Add half of the cubed butter and half of the chopped pecans on top.
  2. Repeat Layers:
    • Add the remaining bread mixture, followed by the remaining cubed butter and chopped pecans.

Step 3: Prepare the Topping

  1. Mix Topping Ingredients:
    • In a small bowl, combine the light brown sugar and ground cinnamon.
  2. Add Topping:
    • Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar mixture evenly over the top of the bread mixture in the slow cooker.

Step 4: Cook the Casserole

  1. Set the Slow Cooker:
    • Cover the slow cooker with its lid and set it to cook on low for 4-5 hours, or on high for 2-3 hours. The casserole is done when the center is set and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Step 5: Serve

  1. Cool Slightly:
    • Allow the casserole to cool slightly before serving.
  2. Serve:
    • Serve warm, topped with additional maple syrup if desired.

Cooking Notes and Tips

  • Bread Type: Use a sturdy bread like French bread, brioche, or challah for the best texture.
  • Prep Ahead: You can assemble the casserole the night before and store it in the refrigerator. In the morning, simply transfer it to the slow cooker and cook as directed.
  • Storage: Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat individual servings in the microwave.

Variations

Add Fruit

  • Fresh Berries: Add fresh or frozen berries like blueberries, raspberries, or sliced strawberries.
  • Sliced Bananas: Layer sliced bananas between the bread cubes for added sweetness.

Make it Dairy-Free

  • Milk Substitute: Use almond milk, soy milk, or any other non-dairy milk in place of regular milk.
  • Butter Substitute: Use a dairy-free butter alternative.

Add Flavor

  • Vanilla Extract: Add 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract to the egg mixture for added flavor.
  • Nutmeg: Add a pinch of ground nutmeg to the cinnamon sugar topping.

Serving Suggestions

Toppings

  • Maple Syrup: Drizzle with additional maple syrup for extra sweetness.
  • Whipped Cream: Top with a dollop of whipped cream.
  • Powdered Sugar: Dust with powdered sugar for a classic touch.

Sides

  • Fresh Fruit: Serve with a side of fresh fruit for a balanced breakfast.
  • Bacon or Sausage: Pair with crispy bacon or sausage links for a savory contrast.

FAQs

Q: Can I use whole grain bread? A: Yes, whole grain bread can be used for a healthier version of this casserole.

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Q: How do I prevent the casserole from becoming too soggy? A: Using day-old or slightly stale bread helps prevent the casserole from becoming too soggy. Additionally, be sure to evenly distribute the egg mixture and not over-soak the bread.

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Q: Can I freeze this casserole? A: Yes, you can freeze the fully cooked casserole. Allow it to cool completely, then wrap it tightly in plastic wrap and aluminum foil. Freeze for up to 2 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in the oven or microwave.

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Q: Can I add other spices? A: Absolutely! Feel free to add other spices like nutmeg, allspice, or even a pinch of cardamom to the egg mixture or topping.

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Slow Cooker French Toast Casserole is a delightful and convenient way to enjoy a classic breakfast dish with minimal effort. With its rich, cinnamon-spiced flavor and crunchy pecan topping, this casserole is sure to become a family favorite. Enjoy experimenting with different variations and serving suggestions to make this recipe your own. Happy cooking!

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