A recipe for an apple pie spiced French toast casserole, baked in the oven. This is an easy do-ahead breakfast that makes it a wonderful choice for Christmas morning or any busy day during the holiday season, and a fun Thermos Food Jar giveaway.
Dawn arrives, its first rays of light glinting through the cracks in the blinds, peeking through from the living room where the tree sits, lights left on for the whole of the night, twinkling as the blackness of light gives way to the grey of morning.
From the hallway that leads to the bedrooms the sound of feet hitting the wood floors can be heard as bodies that were just laying flat have jolted upward, covers shoved aside, throwing skinny legs down to the floor. Small creaks break the silence as these barefooted children dare to move towards the door and down the hall to where a mound of brightly-wrapped packages lays undisturbed, the paper smooth and shiny, with tags determining to whom they belong.
The squeals of the first carry until they are all awake, staring wide-eyed at the gift they’ve been given until they can’t contain themselves any longer and pad down the hallway again to see if their parents might be convinced to join them so the real fun can begin.
Somewhere between the presents and the cleaning up ripped paper torn between small, eager fingers those tiny mouths that are squealing must be fed, and for us that means that we need to find food that can come with us, for next stop is grandma’s, and then it’s straight on to the other grandma and the Christmas program that the children will sing in.
In between all the driving and it being Christmas, there aren’t many places to stop and grab a bite on the road, and so this breakfast that gets in their bodies first needs to be hearty and filling. If it’s portable, even better, for getting them to sit still after their presents have been opened is akin to an act of torture to a young child.
All the goodness of apple pie is baked into this French toast casserole. It can be put together the night before and baked off while the family opens presents, cleans up paper, and gets ready to head out the door. It makes a wonderful breakfast for dinner, brunch offering, or relaxing Saturday morning breakfast.
2 medium apples, cored and sliced
1 cup whole milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
For the topping:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Lightly grease an 8×8 or 9×9 pan. In a large bowl add the bread cubes and apples. In a separate bowl mix together the eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract, and cardamom. Pour over the bread and apples and stir. Let it rest a minute to allow the milk and eggs to soak into the bread. Pour into the prepared pan.
For the topping, mix together the butter, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, and salt until thick and crumbly. Add in the pecans. Spread the topping over the bread and apples in the pan.
This can be baked immediately or stored in the refrigerator and baked the next morning. To store, cover loosely with plastic wrap or foil and place in the refrigerator, removing when it’s time to bake.
To bake, preheat oven to 350º F. Bake uncovered for 40-45 minutes, until topping starts to brown and the center of the bake is puffed. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly before serving. Serve warm.
Makes 4-6 servings.
The Thermos Food Jars make it easy to bring this breakfast on the road with you. Environmentally and budget friendly, we have a grand total of seven food jars in our home that make frequent trips to school with the kids. They keep your food warm, so when you crack it open in the car it’s still hot and comforting as you make your way to grandma’s house in the snow.
I’m giving away THREE (3) Thermos 10-Ounce Stainless Steel Food Jars to three readers:
- Thermos® double wall vacuum insulation for maximum temperature retention
- BPA-Free, unbreakable stainless steel interior and exterior
- Cool to the touch with hot foods, sweat-proof with cold
- Compact design is lightweight for easy portability
- Wide mouth is easy to fill, eat from, and clean
Leave me a comment below. What do your Christmas mornings look like? Do you have holiday traditions that take you away from home? Have you finished your holiday shopping yet?
For Extra Entries
- Share the link to the post on Facebook and let me know that you did.
- Tweet this giveaway and leave a comment letting me know that you did: Enter to win a @ThermosBrand Food Jar from @FoodforMyFamily http://wp.me/puu57-3iG #giveaway
This giveaway is provided by Thermos and will run until Friday, December 7, 2012 at 11:59 pm CST and is open to all U.S. residents 18 years of age and older. Three winners will be chosen at random using Random.org from all eligible entries. Chosen winners must respond within 48 hours of notification to claim their prize. Good luck!