You can see we are settling back into a naturally sweetened life just fine and dandy. We’re really hitting things off with this French Toast Bake.
I’ve had this recipe on my mind for a long time… But I didn’t want to post it right before our sugar-free challenge… or too soon after. I wasn’t trying to make things difficult for anyone and I was following the reintroduction phase. Sometimes though, a blogger must make sacrifices for the greater good. The right thing to do was share this French Toast Bake!! Why? Because you absolutely needed to know about this delicious, naturally sweet breakfast or brunch in time for Easter. With this bake around, it will be easy to stay naturally sweet among the candy eggs and chocolate! Consider this your healthy Easter candy basket because it’s just that good.
Let’s just take a look at this beauty. Does it even look healthy?! Does it even look easy? It totally is! Gorgeous caramel, candied bananas and thick cinnamon seasoned bread come together almost effortlessly. These are things dreams are made of. I should also mention the really beautiful thing about this dish is that you can really use any kind of bread and the recipe is easy to adapt. I used a honey-sweetened spelt flour bread that my grocery store carries but if you have fresh wheat bread on hand or just bought a large loaf at the bakery, use those slices up. Let’s keep it simple.
I love adding bananas to this dish solely for the caramel texture they take on. The banana bits soak up the sweet liquid and are transformed into decadent caramel morsels scattered throughout this dish. Coupled with fresh fruit or a generous dusting of natural sweeteners, this contains the very best of spring flavors.
Do we have you convinced? Now it’s your turn! Go make this toast bake and make your Easter a very happy one!
Naturally Sweet Caramel French Toast Bake (can be dairy-free & gluten-free)
1/2 Loaf Bread of choice
1/2 cup Organic Butter or Earth Balance Butter
1 cup Coconut Sugar or 3/4 cup Coconut Sugar & ¼ cup Xylitol
4 Organic Eggs
1 cup plus 1 Tablespoon Almond Milk
1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup
2 teaspoons Pure Vanilla Extract
1 teaspoon Cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon Nutmeg
1 Banana, thickly sliced and quartered
Melt butter and sugar together in the microwave or stovetop until melted and smooth. Beat vigorously until combined and the mixture looks like a caramel. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, milk, maple syrup, vanilla and spices.
Butter a 9-inch or 10-inch casserole dish or pie dish. Pour 1/3 of the butter sugar mixture on the bottom of the pan. Layer bread in the pan. Pour another 1/3 of the butter/sugar mixture over the slices. Sprinkle with 3/4 of the banana slices. Pour about 1/2 of the egg mixture over that layer. Top with another layer of bread. Pour the remaining sugar butter mixture over toast, banana bits and add the remaining egg/milk mixture to the pan. The bread should be almost covered and moist, but not soaking. Sprinkle with the remaining banana bites. Gently press down on any dry corners or gently swirl pan a bit to get all the bread moist.
Cover pan with foil. And allow dish to sit at room temperature while the oven preheats to 350 degrees. If you use a hearty wheat bread or have extra thick slices of bread, you can allow it to sit in the fridge for 30-45 minutes. Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes or until middle toasts are nice and hot and all egg is cooked through. You can cook uncovered for about 5 minutes to get a crisper top. Cut into and enjoy with pure maple syrup, applesauce, whipped cream, fresh berries, powdered xylitol or all of the above!
This dish can be assembled up to 12 hours before baking and if you’re serving a crowd, double recipe. Cold leftovers are ridiculously addicting. Happy Easter!!!