Sunday, September 14, 2014

Baked French Toast

Lately I've found that I am far more satisfied with meals prepared at home. Not only do I control the portion size, I know exactly what ingredients go into each dish. Eating breakfast out may be faster, but the calories--often empty ones--can add up quickly and for someone who is health conscious, this gets the day off to a poor start (not to mention the difficulty of squeezing in lunch, dinner, and a snack without going off the charts). While I usually opt for a savory breakfast, given the success of my pancake squares, I decided to venture into the land of French toast.

I've made other versions of French toast that require preparing the mixture the night before, then baking off in the morning, but none had this souffle-like texture and streusel topping.

Serves 6 (8 PP values per serving)

12 slices reduced-calorie whole wheat bread (I recommend Sara Lee wheat)
2 cups nonfat milk or 1% milk (I used nonfat)
1 1/2 cups fat-free egg substitute
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp cinnamon
1 packet Stevia
pinch salt

topping:  2 tbs light stick butter, at room temperature
              1/2 cup packed brown sugar

Spray an 8 inch square baking dish with nonstick spray (I like the butter flavored).

Arrange bread in 4 equal stacks in the baking dish; it will be very tight. Whisk together the milk, egg substitute, vanilla, cinnamon, Stevia, and salt. Slowly pour this mixture over the bread. Use a spatula to lightly press bread and make certain that the egg mixture is equally distributed over the bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight or up to one day.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

With a fork, mix together the brown sugar and butter in a small bowl until smooth. Spread this mixture evenly over the bread. Bake for 1 hour or until a knife inserted one inch from the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for at least 15 minutes. Cut into 6 portions. I served mine with heated sugar free syrup (love Mrs. Butterworth's) with a half cup of blueberries.

This was so good I'd have loved to eat more than one piece. I was surprised at how high it rose. It looked like a souffle! Ir did fall a bit when it was taken out of the oven. It was by far the best baked French toast I've ever tried, sort of a cross between a bread pudding and French toast. I'm certain it would be a delicious dessert served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

In the future, I would add a few points to this by placing additional streusel between the bread slices before it bakes. While it won't crisp, that yummy buttery-cinnamon flavor throughout will be delicious.

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