You probably won’t see me posting a ton of Breakfast recipes because I am not a huge breakfast person. I usually start my day with a smoothie and one slice of Ezekiel toast with Earth Balance Spread. I am one of those people who rarely orders from the Breakfast side of the Brunch menu and is usually found perusing the Lunch section to find something savory to eat. After all, you need something substantial to stand up against those early Brunch cocktails, right?
Well, my husband is a Breakfast lover of epic proportions. He loves those huge diner breakfasts that include eggs, toast, pancakes, bacon, butter, hash browns, coffee, and fresh juice. And since last week was his birthday, I decided to surprise him with a nice breakfast. I have seen a lot of recipes for overnight French Toast and they usually include half & half, butter and lots of sugar. That clearly doesn’t fit into my Weight Watchers agenda so I fiddled around with some ideas and came up with the healthiest version I could without sacrifcing some Baked French Toast essentials like using Challah Bread, real Grade B Maple Syrup, and real Eggs.
- Trader Joe’s has a great and inexpensive Grade B Maple Syrup. That stuff can be really expensive!
Challah is the bread to use. If you can find a Jewish bakery, grab one from there, cut it up into cubes as soon as get get it home and throw it in the freezer. Defrost the freezer bag the day you are going to prepare the mixture. This is what I do so that I don’t have to run around like a crazy person the day I am making this. If you don’t live near a good Jewish bakery, Whole Foods usually sells Challah and even Trader Joe’s. You are cutting it up into cubes so don’t drive yourself completely insane about it.
- I used 1 cup of Vanilla Hemp Milk in this recipe because Hemp milk is very thick and creamy and gives this French Toast a great consistency. If you can’t find Vanilla Hemp Milk, you could substitute So Delicious Vanilla Coconut Milk. I didn’t go with canned Coconut Milk because even the light just added too many points. If you want to use Cow’s Milk, I recommend 2% and be sure to adjust the Points Plus.
- The coconut is Organic, Unsweetened, Shredded Coconut for Baking. I buy this at Whole Foods but have seen it at many other stores in my area. Just make sure whatever brand you buy is just coconut and doesn’t have any sulfates or additives!
- There are so many varieties of Stevia you can buy; liquid, powder, for bakers, individual packets, extract. I mostly keep the individual packets and the liquid extract in the pantry but right now I only have the packets in my house so I used 2 individual packets for this recipe. If you have never used Stevia, this is a great opportunity to try it. I also use it in my coffee, tea, in smoothies and shakes and for most baking.
- 1 12 to 14 ounce loaf Challah Bread, cut into cubes
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup Vanilla Hemp Milk
- 2 cups lowfat Plain Yogurt
- 3 tablespoons Grade B Maple Syrup
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ teaspoon Stevia or 2 individual use packets
- 3 tablespoons shredded coconut plus 1 tablespoon for topping
- 2 bananas
- maple syrup for serving
- Use cooking spray to coat a 9x13 glass casserole pan - this is typically the size you use for Lasagna. Set aside.
- Cube your Challah bread (if you bought it fresh and didn't have it stashed in the freezer)
- Beat eggs in a glass mixing bowl. Add in Hemp Milk, Yogurt, Maple Syrup, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, stevia and 3 tablespoons of the shredded coconut.
- Mix until well combined.
- Place cubed Challah bread into pan and use a spatula to scrap all of your batter into a measuring cup. A 4-cup works perfectly. If you don't have a large measuring cup, just leave it in the mixing bowl and pour from there. no big deal!
- Pour all of the batter evenly over the bread. Use a spatula to give it a few turns to make sure there are no dry spots.
- Cover with saran wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight.
- When you are ready to bake the French Toast, preheat the oven to 400F. Take the pan out of the fridge and let come to room temperature while the oven preheats. Remove saran wrap and sprinkle remaining 1 tablespoon of shredded coconut over the top. Place in oven and let cook uncovered for 40 to 45 minutes. When done, pull out and let set for about 5 minutes.
- Cut with a serrated edge knife into 12 portions.
- Slice the 2 fresh bananas (and any fresh berries you have in the house) and divide up amongst the servings. Pour more Maple Syrup (make sure to measure and account for the Points Plus) over and enjoy!