French Toast Casserole with Cinnamon Bread Pudding

Bonus! We’ve got a 2-for-1 recipe for you today. In order to make this French Toast Casserole you’ll need to first make the Cinnamon Bread. Then you’re essentially making a bread pudding that comes together to create the flavor and texture you’d find in french toast.

The great news? It’s a perfect make-ahead food – so on special mornings when you’re busy or tired or feeling like the hair of the dog is in order (like New Years Day), you’ll have a relatively high protein, high fat food that feels like a special indulgence.

We recommend you make your bread at least a day ahead. I know. It’s awful. You want this NOW. But dried out bread soaks up the pudding more and makes this more like french toast, I promise!

 

Cinnamon Bread

Ingredients

Edited to add: we first posted this without the eggs included, this was a mistake! Our apologies, this is now the correct recipe – we didn’t transfer the chef’s scribbles onto the blog properly…

Instructions

  1. ♥ Add all ingredients (except raisins) into the food processor and pulse until combined. If you’re using homemade or a different brand of almond butter which isn’t oily, you may want to add oil until the batter is smooth and combines – you don’t want a crumbly batter. It should be similar in texture to a regular bread dough, like a loose play-doh.
  2. ♥ Fold in raisins (if using), we didn’t for the French Toast Casserole.
  3. ♥ Pour into a greased or lined 9×5 loaf pan.
  4. Bake at 350 for about an hour, checking regularly for when the top becomes slightly golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean (without any wet batter sticking to it). The bread will continue to cook slightly as it cools, so don’t overcook or the bread will become tough and hard.
  5. Let cool for about an hour on a cooling rack and then remove from pan. Slice for toast or cube for French Toast Casserole (below).

Now in and of itself this bread is great. It’s not too sweet and topped with a schmear of honey butter was just delicious. Or try it with our homemade Apple Butter and Pumpkin Butter! Even with using a full loaf pan, it is very sturdy and would make fantastic french toast in and of itself. I bet adding 1/2 a cup of raisins to be folded in before baking would make a delicious addition for Cinnamon Raisin Bread!

But if you, like us, are looking for an opportunity to cook ahead of time and avoid being in the kitchen for hours – then we recommend dicing this bread up (after eating a slice or two) and preparing the below custard. We made it plain as cinnamon bread to simulate the taste and texture of french toast, and it worked!

Custard for the French Toast Casserole

Instructions

  1. ♥ Slice and then cube cooled bread and wait a day!
  2. ♥ Lay bread cubes in a coconut oil greased 9″ by 13″ baking dish.
  3. ♥ In separate bowl, whisk together coconut milk, eggs, syrup, vanilla and cinnamon extract. Once combined stir in raisins.
  4. ♥ Pour custard over bread, lightly pushing down to soak all bread cubes and spreading raisins out evenly. Let the bread soak up the custard for at least an hour – we prepped all of this the night before and then baked off the next morning.
  5. ♥ Top with pecans.
  6. Bake uncovered for about 40-50 minutes at 375 degrees. It will take longer for the custard to set if the casserole is cold (from chilling overnight from soaking) when put into the oven. If you’d like this to be more like bread pudding, you’ll want to under-cook it slightly. For a more french toast-like casserole (what we recommend) then you’re looking for the custard to become stiff, with a slight give when touched.
  7. Let cool for 10 minutes; serve warm.

This is a perfect make-ahead dish! You can store the cooked casserole in the refrigerator for up to a week. Just pop back in the oven covered for a few minutes to heat through before serving. It can serve up to 12-18 people, depending on how many sides you serve.

Just be aware, this dish is NOT that sweet. Considering the amount of calories from protein and fat, the carb ratio is low. We didn’t have any concerns with giving it to our boys as it was in the morning, and for our special Christmas brunch we simply served it with maple syrup on the table for those that wanted it.

Let us know what special occasion you make this for and how it turned out. I think it’ll be a regular addition to our kitchen – considering how simple it is to make and how much it lasts!

About Stacy

Stacy Toth has written 371 post in this blog.

Stacy is the matriarch of the Paleo Parents family. After beginning a paleo diet and founding PaleoParents.com in 2010, she lost 135 pounds and found health and happiness for the whole family. The following three years have been a progressive journey with a mission to educate people about nourishing their bodies by eating real foods. Stacy can be found on all forms of social media as @PaleoParents as well as the top-rated The Paleo View Podcast and her two cookbooks, Eat Like a Dinosaur and Beyond Bacon.

  • Lynnep13

    What can I swap out for the almond butter & almond flour? Dang nut allergy!

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      I’ve heard ground sunflower seeds and sunflower seed butter (maranatha brand) works as a sub – but we haven’t tried it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/CindyDavidson Cindy Davidson

    Does it taste like coconut? I wish I loved coconut flavor, but sadly I do not. :(

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      It doesn’t, there’s lots of other more prominent flavors going on. A non-coconut loving friend had some last night and enjoyed it. You could use 1/2 and 1/2 if you do dairy or try almond milk – just use less and maybe add 2 more egg yolks. You need the thickness & the fat for the pudding to set-up.

  • Danielle @ Against All Grain

    Yum and great photos you guys!!! Did you get a new camera?

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      No, I’ve just been able to take photos in sunlight and have actually made an effort… :)

  • Audrey

    Looks fabulous, thank you so much. I want you to know how much I appreciate your recipes, and I love your book. I have been paleo for two years now, and I’m slowing converting my husband and 2 teenage boys. They all are super stubborn, need I say more? Breakfast is no doubt our most challenging meal, I love bacon, sausage, eggs, frittatas, omelets, veggies, and leftovers. But my boys? They are challenging, to say the least. Now that I have my diet dialed in, 2013 is the year to work on their diet! Thank you again for all that you do, love you two!

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Aww, thank you Audrey!! <3

  • Dana

    After you cube the cooled bread, do you leave it on a baking sheet (or other flat surface) to dry out, or do you cover it lightly, or do you store it in an airtight container until the next step?

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      We put it in the 13×9 and left it on the counter overnight. You’re trying to make it stale, so don’t cover it!

  • Tracy

    Can you make this in a bread machine? Or have any recipes with almond flour for the bread machine?

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      We never have used a bread machine, so I don’t know. Aren’t bread machine recipes all involving yeast?

  • http://www.facebook.com/karen.o.roush Karen O’Rourke Roush

    I’ve never heard of cinnamon extract. Where do you get that?

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      I believe we got ours at a regular grocery store. Whole Foods
      I think.

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Karen, I added a link to a brand on Amazon. It’s just going to add a bit of extra flavor but not necessary.

  • Corinne

    Should there be eggs or something in the bread?

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      The recipe is correct as written. The almond bitter binds very well on its own.

      • Corinne

        Thanks! Mine did not turn out well… kind of like a brick. Hopefully it will be good in the casserole though. :)

        • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

          Our only guesses are that there wasn’t enough oil in the almond butter you used or maybe it was overcooked? It should be dense, but not tough at all! Ours sliced up nicely and we ate a couple pieces – was delish!

          • Lizzie B

            Saw this after leaving my comment. Any suggestions as to which brand of Almond Butter to use?

          • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

            We linked to the brand we use/like, MaraNatha creamy raw or roasted will work, just not no-stir because it has some additives to it.

        • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

          We re-made the bread and realized it should indeed have had eggs. Somehow
          I transcribed Matt’s notes wrote when drafting the post. We remade it
          today with eggs (now added to post) and it’s back to being lovely. Our
          SINCERE apologies!

  • Gluten Free Miracles

    The bread looks real dense, but I could see how it would work well in the French Toast casserole.

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      It’s a nut based bread, so it’s definitely dense. But also rich with flavor and protein/fat compared to most breads ;)

  • Lizzie B

    Attempted to make the bread today so I could do the casserole for tomorrow’s breakfast. Uh, I seem to have utterly failed with the bread. The dough seemed dry and I questioned there being no eggs in the recipe, double checked and even saw an earlier comment about the eggs. I now one have a crumbly dense almond flavored brick. It’s also slightly burned – that could be my oven. Any ideas? The recipe looks and sounds wonderful and I may try the rest of the casserole with some GF bread, or try it with another Paleo bread recipe that I’ve used in the past.

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      Lizzie, what kind of almond butter did you use? Was it nice and oily? We always use Maranatha and you’d need significant oil in it to work for the bread. If that’s not it, maybe it’s the size/temp of the bread pan/oven? We’re going to make it again and make sure it works for us still. Take it out when the bread is slightly browned on top and a knife comes out clean on the center – depending on a bunch of variables cooking time could change as much as 10-20 minutes.

      • Lizzie B

        Hmmm, I used the MaraNatha No Stir? Maybe that’s it? Since the loaf was getting burned on top I took it out a few minutes early, did the knife check and had some crumbs still on the knife. Used a regular size 9×5 loaf pan. Thanks for the help troubleshooting.

        • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

          yes, that’s definitely it! the no-stir kind has reduced oil to help it keep combined, and some other additives that would affect the baking chemistry (probably). we linked to the brand we use/like, but we edited to add if you use no-stir or homemade adding extra oil will probably be necessary.

      • Lizzie B

        Hmmm, thought I replied – but don’t see the comment here… I used the MaraNatha No Stir? Maybe I should’ve used the regular stir it up kind? My loaf is burned on the edges all around. Chalky, but in trying to cut/crumble it (still thinking of trying it in the casserole) it is oily enough to stick to my fingers. I took it out a few minutes early due to being very brown/black. The knife check showed some crumbs still… used a regular 9×5 loaf pan.

        • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

          Maybe your oven’s too hot? Definitely that type of almond butter would make a difference though.

        • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

          We remade the bread and realized it should indeed have had eggs. Somehow I transcribed Matt’s notes wrote when drafting the post. We remade it today with eggs (now added to post) and it’s back to being lovely. Our SINCERE apologies!

  • NoGrainNoPain

    Any suggestions as to what point would be best to freeze this? Prior to the final baking, or after it’s all done? I am about to have a baby, and want to make this for when I have family in town, so we can have easy meals! Thanks!

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      I would slightly undercook it and then freeze it. When you’re ready to eat it, let it thaw in the fridge then heat it up from cold and it’ll finish cooking the last 5 minutes to warm it through.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=661724265 Mary Chatriwala

    I am SO excited about this recipe! My family has been eating an overnight french toast casserole for years! I made it for Thanksgiving with gluten free bread (and it was delish) but I was not thrilled about it… (the ingredients)
    I made the cinnamon bread yesterday and the batter did NOT pour. It was dry and crumbly. Any suggestions? I checked and rechecked that I had all of the ingredients. No oil, no eggs, no coconut milk, just almond butter – is it supposed to pour? The loaf was not bread-like but just dried out more when baked. I am still using the crumbles in a casserole but any help would be greatly appreciated!!

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=661724265 Mary Chatriwala

      D’oh! I had loaded the recipe site before I actually made it (excitedly) and hadn’t reloaded it to see the other comments! Oh well! Now I’ll know to use eggs!! The casserole still turned out fine with the dry bread crumbles! Happy New Year!!!

  • http://twitter.com/NeoHomesteading cat morrow

    This looks fierce. I am so hungry now!

  • Treesh

    The Cinnamon bread is phenomenal! I just made it today. Wonder how I should store it?

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      We kept in in an airtight container on the counter for a week.

  • Sarah Zullo

    I made the cinnamon bread today for the first time. My kids are home since it’s a snow day and they are loving it! I won’t have enough left this go around to try the casserole!

  • Cassandra~

    Hummm, I wonder if you could substitute cocoa powder for the cinnamon? When I was growing up I never knew there was any kind of bread pudding besides chocolate! My mother made such a wonderful chocolate bread pudding & she never made any other kind…lol.. she loved chocolate and passed that down to all 7 of us!

    Chocolate goes so well with almond, you’d think that chocolate bread would be a natural variation… I think I’ll try it.

    Thanks for the recipe and the blog…. these kind of things help those of us who are inspired to go Paleo and are just learning how to start.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kara.klett Kara Klett

    Do you think this would make a good sandwich bread?! I’m trying to find a good recipe because I love bacon and egg sandwiches’

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      I think so, let us know how it turns out!

  • http://www.facebook.com/kj.goodman.3 KJ Goodman

    made this loaf last night. Yum!! Kidds loved it to ***bunus*** it was a nice treat and happy they liked it. At least they liked desert… dinner with Paleo pizza was not so much of a hit…:-( time…it is a change… anyway we made the french toast in the morning. Family of 6 1 loaf doesn’t go very far LOL ~

  • Stefanie

    I just failed horribly at this… I had oily almond butter, but still not oily enough, so I put in coconut oil… Is this where I went wrong?? It’s still cooking in my oven but I can tell its going to be a crumbly, irritating FAIL… :(

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      I’m sorry to hear that. Perhaps that is the problem. Usually, if the almond butter is not crumbly, the won’t be either. Other than that… did you include the eggs? An early posting of this recipe left out the eggs and people found themselves with crumbly bread.

  • Kathy Scollan

    I am trying to stay away from almonds because of digestive reasons. Can this be done with another flour other than wheat?

    • http://PaleoParents.com Stacy & Matt

      You can replace almond flour for finely ground sunflower seeds instead!

  • Mac

    My daughter made this for our recent family beach vacation….yummm….young and old loved this and requested it for a second time!
    Due to nut allergies the cinnamon bread was made with coconut flour recipe from preppypaleo.com.

  • Kestrel

    Ooh this looks good! I had gastric bypass 10 years ago and can’t eat more than about 15g of sugar (not carbs).
    Has anyone run this through a nutritional analysis? Yes, I’m that lazy. I just made parsnip muffins, tahini pie and biscuits for Easter and am just…too..tired…. ;)
    These both look amazing!!