Start the New Year off on a most delicious note with Gingerbread Apple French Toast Bake. Sugar-dusted squares of apples and French bread, encased in warmly spiced milk and egg filling accented with molasses, can hardly wait for a drizzle of maple syrup. Make it the night before, and pop it into the oven when you wake for a perfect Rose Parade and football game- watching breakfast. This dish is ideal for brunch with family and friends, with bacon or sausage, and fresh fruit. Happy 2018!

French Toast

  • 1 large French bread boule (round) cut into cubes, or batard (loaf), cut into 1” slices
  • 8 eggs
  • 1 ½ cups milk (whole or 2%)
  • 1 cup half and half
  • ½ cup molasses
  • ½ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. Gingerbread Spice (right), or substitute 1 ½ tsp. cinnamon, ½ tsp. each ginger and allspice and ¼ tsp. each cloves and nutmeg
  • pinch of cardamom
  • 4 tart baking apples (i.e., Granny Smith, Honey Crisp), peeled and cut into four segments away from the core
  • 2 Tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • Confectioner’s (powdered) sugar, for dusting

Gingerbread Spice Mix

  • 2 Tbsp. each ground allspice, ground cinnamon, ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp. each ground cloves, ground nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground white pepper
  • Pinch of cardamom

Whisk all spices together until well combined. Store in an airtight container. Use in cookies, cakes, pancakes or gingerbread.

Instructions

  1. Spray 9″ x 13″ baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Place bread cubes or slices into prepared baking dish.
  3. In a large bowl, lightly whisk eggs, milk, half and half, molasses, ¼ cup sugar, vanilla extract and gingerbread spice.
  4. Slice apple segments and evenly layer them over the bread in the dish.
  5. Pour egg mixture over the top
  6. Mix remaining ¼ cup sugar with 1 tsp. gingerbread spice; sprinkle evenly over apples.
  7. Dot the top with the butter.
  8. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  9. Preheat oven to 400F. Remove French toast from refrigerator while oven preheats.
  10. Uncover and bake for 45 – 50 minutes until golden brown, set, and a small knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Check after 35 minutes and cover the top with foil for the remainder of the baking time if it’s getting too brown.
  11. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes.
  12. Dust the top with powdered sugar, cut into squares and serve with maple syrup.

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