When you’re young and living at home, the holidays are these grand things to look forward to, and I’ve found as I’ve grown older, that they could just be any other day, if you don’t make a point to make them special. So, in order to have more special things to look forward to around the holidays, to make them my own, I’ve decided to start my own traditions, that L. Smith and I can share. This challah french toast casserole is one tradition I’d like to make, and so far, I’ve successfully made it to enjoy as our New Year’s Day brunch for the past 2 years. Last year, I even made the challah from scratch (this may not be a yearly tradition, as it takes a long time, but it was worth it!)
It’s heavenly, rich and sweet. You can also assemble it the night before and just pop it in the oven in the morning. All good things in my book. I’ve also taken to incorporating a secret ingredient, to truly make it a family tradition that I can pass on one day. (I always thought it cool, the families who pass down generations-old and secret family recipes.) I won’t be sharing the secret ingredient, but the recipe is still amazing as is!
What holiday traditions have you started on your own? I’m always looking for new ideas, so please share!
Happy New Year!
Challah French Toast Casserole
Rich and sweet, challah french toast casserole is a fantastic treat. Assemble it the night before and just pop it in the oven in the morning!
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 6-8 servings
- 1 challah loaf, or 1 4-roll package of Trader Joe’s challah rolls (this is what I use, as it’s less expensive than a loaf)
- 5 eggs
- 2 cups of milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 2-4 tablespoons of liqueur of your choice (I’ve used Creme de Cacao, Amaretto, Bourbon in the past)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar
- pinch of salt
- cinnamon as you like, either ¼ teaspoon mixed in, or a sprinkling as a topping
- maple syrup
- powdered sugar
- cinnamon sugar
- walnuts or pecans
- Cut bread into approximately 1-inch slices.
- Grease a large casserole pan (one that looks great on the table is a plus).
- Layer the bread slices in the pan, at least 2 layers deep. Save a slice or 2 to tear into smaller pieces to fill the spaces between the slices.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, and add in the milk, vanilla, liqueur(s), sugars, and salt.
- Pour the liquid over the bread slices.
- If letting sit overnight, cover the pan with aluminum foil and place in fridge.
- (The next morning) Preheat the oven to 425* F.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes.
- Let rest for 5 minutes before serving with your choice of toppings.
If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and use the hashtag #firsttimefoods. We’d love to see what you make!