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.