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Pumpkin French Toast Bake

from the kitchen of Melanie Streu -

1 loaf of bread, cut or torn into cubes - you can use ANY type of bread.
Melanie uses whole grain white, I used Italian.
1/2 cup cinnamon chips - sold by the chocolate chips in the baking aisle
1 cup milk - any kind, I used whole milk, but soy milk or almond milk, Melanie says flavored creamers work too.
1/2 cup vanilla Greek yogurt, one single serve container
8 eggs
1/2 cup pure pumpkin puree (maybe a little more)
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup old fashioned oats
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup soft butter
chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

Butter or spray a 9 x 13" baking dish with nonstick spray, sides of dish too.
Layer bread cubes in dish, sprinkle with cinnamon chips.
In a separate bowl, whisk together milk, yogurt, eggs, pumpkin, spices and vanilla. Pour over bread. Press down gently until all the bread has absorbed the egg mixture.
Let sit while oven preheats to 375 degrees.

In a separate bowl, mix oats and brown sugar together with butter.
Sprinkle evenly over top of bread mixture. Add nuts if desired.
Dot with a couple extra Tblsps. of butter cut in small pieces.
Bake at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes until cooked through, top will be golden.

Cut into squares and serve on plates drizzled with a squiggle of maple syrup.

Terri's notes:
~ Melanie says this can be assembled the night before. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and chill in fridge overnight. In the morning, remove from fridge and let sit at room temp while the oven heats up. Sprinkle with topping and bake according to instructions above.
~ I prepped bread and chips in baking dish. Mixed the liquid ingredients and refrigerated them and then assembled in the morning while oven heated.
~ IF there are leftovers, call them pumpkin bread pudding and serve for dessert!


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