The hustle of the holidays tends to get the best of me, despite my greatest intentions. Food is always a number one priority, or at least it always has been. The problem lately is, we are so darned busy and I don’t have the time to max out every component of every meal. These days, make-ahead recipes win me over most of the time. I love recipes you can prep in limited amounts of time and toss in the oven to bake while you rush to complete all of the last minute tasks.
(Like making 100 latex glove balloons.)
French toast casserole has always been a favorite of our family. Delicate custard envelopes torn or cut pieces of bread, similar to bread pudding but not as dense in my opinion. Recently, I had run out of half and half for standard French toast casserole, however yours truly has an egg-nog-obsessed household and we had plenty of AE Mimi’s Milk Nog on hand. Let me tell you, the results were festive and delicious.
Mike is a dedicated egg nog traditionalist. He likes the thick, creamy, old-fashioned favorite, AE Egg Nog. The kids and I prefer the light egg nog taste of AE Mimi’s Milk Nog which is equal parts AE Egg Nog and AE Nonfat Milk. It has a lighter texture and all of the great egg nog taste. It also comes in a nice half gallon size which leaves plenty for sipping and plenty for baking this delicious casserole.
I’ve added dried cranberries to the mix in this casserole for the bright punch of acidity they bring to any dish. You can easily add double the amount the recipe calls for if you enjoy them. If not, simply omit.
Mix this casserole together up to a day in advance and let the rich custard soak into the bread pieces. Prior to baking, don’t forget a dusting of sugar for a sparkly finish. If you like a bronzed crunchy top, feel free to babysit this dish under the broiler for a few minutes. Just be careful as the bread points will burn quickly as you try to get the sugar to caramelize. For serving, I like to pour a little AE Mimi’s Egg Nog into a dish, warm it for 15 seconds in the microwave and spoon the warmed casserole on top of it. I don’t know where that idea came from but I prefer it that way to pouring over maple syrup, which most people will likely do.
‘Tis the season around here for baby pigs, basketball, business and busy-ness. Here’s hoping you find the time to sit back and relax (because you made this make-ahead recipe) and enjoy the beauty of the season in the sights, friends and family and relish in cherished memories of those who aren’t here to enjoy the holidays with us this year.
Merry Christmas to you and yours and blessings for a bright, beautiful 2018!
Mimi’s Milk Nog French Toast Casserole
By: Cristen foodandswine.com
Makes 1 – 9×13 pan
1 lb. loaf of cottage, brioche, egg or country bread cut into 1 inch cubes or squares
1/2 cup dried cranberries
4 tablespoons butter, melted
8 large eggs
4 cups AE Mimi’s Milk Nog
2/3 cup granulated sugar + 3 tablespoons *for garnish prior to baking
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Toast bread slices or cubes for 10 minutes at 350F.
Grease a 9×13 baking dish with nonstick spray or 2 TBSP butter.
Add bread pieces and dried cranberries evenly in baking dish.
In a large mixing bowl add eggs, AE Mimi’s Milk Nog, 2/3 cup granulated sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Whisk well until light and foamy. Add slowly to casserole dish with bread crumbs and dried cranberries. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour, or up to 18 hours. Prior to baking: Sprinkle 3 tablespoons over casserole prior to baking. Bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes until golden brown and baked throughout. Serve warm as is, or scooped on top of 1/4 cup of warmed AE Mimi’s Milk Nog in a bowl, or alternatively, drizzled with maple syrup.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of AE Dairy. The opinions and text are all mine.