Growing up Easter was kind of a big deal in our house, my brother and I would wake up at the crack of dawn to hunt for our candy and goody filled baskets the Easter bunny hid for us, then we’d get all dressed up in our suits and dresses (dresses for the girls, suits for the boys, of course) and head to church. After the service was over, we’d have an Easter egg hunt in the grassy area behind church, and then head back home for another hunt in our backyard. We’d finish the morning off with family and friends and a fancy brunch, where we’d have everything from brown sugar glazed ham to cheesy scalloped potatoes and my Grandma’s famous Easter bunny cake.
Nowadays we still typically do a big brunch with family and friends, but this year, is a little different. We have family coming in town Easter weekend, and a whole slew of events leading up to the holiday, so sadly we just aren’t going to have time to prepare a giant brunch for a bazillion people. Instead of slaving away in the kitchen all morning, we’re going to give ourselves (and by ourselves, I mean myself and my mother) a break and go out for a nice leisurely brunch in the early afternoon.
Although, if we’re being honest with each other here, I’m kind of looking forward to NOT cooking. Shhh…
BUT seeing as I can’t leave my stomach on empty until noon, I thought it would be nice to a have a breakfast/brunch treat for us all to nibble on in the morning before we head out the door.
This guy combines my favorite sweet breakfast (French toast) and my husband’s favorite sweet breakfast (cinnamon rolls) into one sinfully delicious package. Marriage is all about comprise after all, isn’t it?
I took my favorite French toast vessel of challah, a dense egg bread that holds up nicely to custard, and layered it in between a luscious caramel sauce and a cinnamon and sugar mixture in three towering layers. The whole dish is drenched in an egg and milk custard, baked until golden brown and gooey, and then topped off with cream cheese frosting (my favorite!).
What I love about this is it takes all the difficulties out of making cinnamon rolls and French toast. You get to skip the dough rising, the dough sitting, the drenching of the French toast, and individually browning up each piece and instead just, stir, layer, pour, bake and drizzle.
But what I love MOST about this is every single bite has that ooey gooey cinnamon and sugar filling that we all covet in a cinnamon roll. And if that wasn’t enough, the buttery caramel sauce and cream cheese frosting, just take it to a whole other ridiculously delicious level.
Heaven on earth….
- 1 loaf challah (16 ounces) torn into large pieces (about two inches)
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- ¼ cup sugar + 2 tablespoons, divided
- 4 eggs
- 2 cup milk + 2 tablespoons, divided
- 6 ounces cream cheese, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ½ cups powdered sugar, sifted
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a deep square casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a small bowl combine, brown sugar melted butter and water.
- In another small bowl combine, cinnamon and ¼ cup sugar.
- Lay an even layer of bread on the bottom of the baking dish. Drizzle with a ⅓ of the brown sugar mixture and top with ⅓ of the cinnamon sugar mixture.
- Lay another even layer of bread across the first layer. Drizzle with a ⅓ of the brown sugar mixture and ⅓ of the cinnamon sugar mixture. Repeat with third layer. (You may have leftover bread)
- In another medium bowl, whisk 2 cups milk, eggs and 2 tablespoons sugar.
- Pour evenly over layers of bread. Cover with plastic and let it sit in the fridge for one hour. Let it come to temperate for 15 minutes after removing from fridge.
- Bake for 35 minutes until golden brown and custard is cooked.
- While the bread is cooking, whisk softened cream cheese, remaining milk and vanilla in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in sifted powdered sugar.
- After casserole is removed from the oven, let set for 10 minutes.
- Drizzle cream cheese frosting on top of French toast.
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