As far as fancy breakfasts go, French toast is the family favorite. And baked French toast? It just doesn’t get easier. Here are a few things baked French toast has going for it: easy prep, make ahead, totally delicious. So when it came time to teach my daughter a new recipe, French toast was an obvious pick.
One of the hurdles to teaching my daughter to cook has been the cracking of the egg. It needs a confident whack, but not too confident. It takes finesse and kids, generally speaking, lack finesse. But if you place a little faith in their abilities, after a few dropped eggs and a little time spent fishing out bits of eggshell, they can become pretty efficient egg-breakers.
And once they’ve got the egg-breaking down pat they can pretty much make baked French toast (with adult supervision at a few key moments). If unloading some of the cooking duties isn’t enough … It can also be put together the night before, and baked the morning of.
Before you head into making this recipe with your kids, here are a few key takeaways I picked up this time around:
- Knife skills: children mostly don’t have ’em, so when trimming crusts or generally cutting, keep a close eye on thumb placement, stability, and cutting motion. And be sure to use the right knife for the job; here, a serrated bread knife is best.
- Cracking eggs is a skill that takes time. Since this recipe is basically bread soaked in milky sweet scrambled eggs, it’s a great one to learn on.
- Be warned: when it comes to powdered sugar sprinkling, kids are maximalists. Your French toast may be completely white by the time they’re done, but they’ll have an excellent time doing it.
- Much of the secret to cooking well lies in confidence and practice, so create low-stress opportunities for your child to explore and learn.
Cinnamon and Brown Sugar Baked French Toast
Makes: 4-6 servings
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 45 minutes
- butter for greasing pan
- 1 medium loaf stale bread (pick up a plain bakery loaf with a doughy, dense interior or use challah)
- 4 eggs
- 3 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for topping
pinch sea salt
- 2 cups whole milk, plus 1/4 cup as needed
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″ x 9″ baking dish and set aside.
- If using a crusty loaf, cut off crusts and discard. Cut loaf into 1/2-inch thick slices. Arrange slices in the buttered baking dish so that each slice is at a slight angle. Use scraps to fill in the corners.
- Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk in the brown sugar, cinnamon, and sea salt. Slowly drizzle in the milk, whisking all the while. Finally, add the vanilla extract.
- Pour mixture over the bread slices. Use a slotted spatula to gently press bread down into the eggy mixture. Add up to 1/4 cup more milk if the bread soaks up all of the liquid. (If making ahead, cover French toast and set in fridge. In the morning set dish out while oven preheats to temperature and bake as below.)
- Bake French toast for 45 minutes or until the bread is set and the top is a light golden brown.
- Cool for 10 minutes. Dust with confectioners’ sugar, and cinnamon if desired, and serve.