What’s more important – scrumptious food or time with loved ones? I think we can all agree that it’s the latter. But what if you can have your cake – or, in this case, french toast – and eat it, too?
Whenever I’m hosting a brunch-time gathering or a big holiday is upon us, I turn to overnight breakfast dishes – those for which all the preparation happens the night before. And then the next morning, all I have to do is pop it in the oven.
Recipes like this cinnamon blueberry overnight french toast allow me that quality time I might miss out on otherwise – and – bonus! – it’s a people-pleaser, too.
This recipe packs a double-bonus of quality time. Because I’m not rushing around in the morning, my always-underfoot toddler isn’t in the way – instead, she pulls up a chair and helps (okay, “helps”) me prep it the day before.
We wash and pick over blueberries. I measure; she pours. She whisks; I stand by with a kitchen towel to catch errant spills. We both transfer cubes of bread to the casserole dish and pat them down. We high five, and then we smile. This is what life is all about.
But I’d be remiss if I didn’t confess to another quality-time-themed angle when it comes to this recipe: it allows me a little quiet time to myself, too.
First thing in the morning, before the family wakes up, I can creep downstairs and, instead of chopping and prepping, I can sit down with a cup of coffee – and actually drink the whole thing while it’s still warm! I can thumb through my favorite gardening book. I can daydream a little.
I can admire the little details around me, the things that get lost in the everyday rush-rush of life.
And life is beautiful.
But, bonus! So is this french toast!
After about an hour in the oven, this french toast bake comes out smelling like sweet cinnamon. Cut individual squares, scatter with more blueberries and drizzle with maple syrup, then sink a fork in. The golden-brown crunch of the top gives way to a soft, vanilla-scented, custard-y center punctuated with bursts of tart berries.
It makes quality time a lot sweeter – in every way.
Sponsored by McCormick Spices
This post was sponsored by McCormick, who asked bloggers like me to share stories about recipes that are an important part of our family lives. Do you have a favorite family recipe? Share your own American Homemade story in the comments below. And if you’re looking for new recipes to incorporate into your life, be sure to check out McCormick’s new FlavorPrint tool. Select your preferred flavors, and McCormick will match you up with a set of recipes to your specific liking. Pretty spiffy!
Cinnamon Blueberry Overnight French Toast
- 8 cups challah bread cubes (cut into 1-inch squares (cinnamon swirl or other sweet eggy breads like brioche are also great))
- 6 large eggs
- 3 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 cups blueberries (fresh or frozen, plus a few additional for topping)
- Pure maple syrup for topping (if desired)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Spread the bread cubes on a large baking sheet or cutting board and let sit at room temperature to crisp up a bit, at least 1 hour but up to 8.
- Butter a 9-inch x 12-inch baking dish and add half of the bread cubes (4 cups). Scatter blueberries on top, then add remaining bread.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt. Pour over the bread cubes and blueberries. Pat gently to help submerge the bread. Cover tightly and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 6 hours.
- To bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. In a small bowl, mix together the 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Remove casserole from refrigerator and uncover. Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar mixture over the top.
- Bake for 60 – 70 minutes, until golden brown and no longer jiggly. If it begins to brown too much toward the end of baking, cover with a piece of foil.
- Cut into squares and serve with additional blueberries and maple syrup.
I just want to DIVE IN HEAD FIRST to your final photo. Stunningly beautiful!
Your post just made me feel so relaxed! Sometimes I just need to stop and smell the artichoke. 😉 I can just feel warm breeze and picture myself sitting outside in the garden, taking bites of overnight french toast. Life is beautiful indeed, my dear!
Wow, this looks delicious! Gorgeous shots by the way. Being able to make recipes with family and friends is for sure a plus in the kitchen 😛
I need to try making these overnight French toasts! Looks so so good!
My daughter loves to help me in the kitchen too. She just turned 5, and it’s amazing how her skills have grown since she started cooking and baking with me. She’s actually a real help now! This is such a sweet post, and I totally want to make that french toast, too!
Such beautiful photos and sentiments too. I haven’t had French toast in a long time, and I love the fact that I can prepare this the night before and have more time to linger with my family over a pot of tea. Thanks for sharing.
You had me at overnight!
This looks like the best comfort breakfast ever! So perfect to spoil company too 😀 pinned!
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Yum! Perfect for a lazy weekend morning, as well as a fun brunch! I can pop this in the oven and have some extra knitting time to boot! Actually, this would be great for dinner on pajama day, too! You have another ‘keeper’ here….
I have this soaking in my fridge as I type! I can’t wait to eat it in the morning! It looks so yummy, I just can’t wait. I made my own banana bread in my beautiful new bread machine, yep, just can’t wait!
p.s. I am LOVING your photography. Confession, that’s what drew me into this wonderful recipe! It’s just such a great post all around.
What a lovely post and a delicious looking recipe. I can’t wait to make this for a lovely weekend breakfast. I might just follow your lead and sneak downstairs for that quiet cup of coffee too!
Thank you, Nicky! Those sneaky early morning hours are heaven, I assure you. 😀
This looks scrumptious! Would I have to thaw the blueberries first??
This looks scrumptious!! Do I need to thaw the blueberries first?
Nope, no need! 🙂
This looks good. It’s bread pudding, though, I think
Do you think I could replace the milk with almond milk?
Yum! I think I need to make this for Easter morning!
Looks delicious! Love our photo style, too 😀
I’m a huge fan of overnight French toast. My trick for the bread is to put it in the oven at 250-300 for 15-20 minutes and it gets nice and stale:) And yes, challah makes the best French toast, but in my house, if we have it Friday night, often there isn’t enough left over for brunch. Just have to buy 2 loaves!
Breakfast is one of my favorite meals, and I usually end up eating it for dinner. This looks amazing and I can’t wait to try it. I’ve been on a french toast kick lately, but haven’t made any overnight recipes. Gorgeous photos!
I love this – I’ve made something similar but not the overnight method. Can’t wait to try this. Though I like to cook early in the morning, I also adore a lazy pour-over cup of coffee and reading the paper while the already-prepared stuff goes in the oven! Lovely photos!
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I made this for us this week and it was fabulous! I love the blueberry/cinnamon sugar combo. I just used a loaf of homemade bread and it worked great. Super delish!
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