My mom makes a killer french toast bake which was the inspiration for this version. When she’s expecting a crowd she makes two 9″ x 13″ trays of it, which makes it look like there’ll be leftovers for days. Sure enough though, all but a tiny corner is left of both trays afterwards. It’s that good. I ate more than my fair share this past Mother’s Day (definitely a “loosen the proverbial belt buckle” sort of occasion), and was jazzed when I discovered an extra half of a challah loaf left over. What better way to use it than making…more french toast! 🙂
Here’s the low down. This french toast is dotted throughout with fresh blueberries just like my mom’s version, but I added the warm spice of chai, which is becoming one of my favorite new flavors to experiment with. This recipe requires very little inactive time, as the bread soaks up the liquid mixture during the time it takes for the oven to preheat. That means you can start this french toast in the morning and still eat it for breakfast. Nice!
As the french toast bakes, the blueberries heat and pucker. This allows them to burst with warm blueberry juice when they’re pierced with a fork. Gaaah, aren’t they pretty?!
I used two-day-old challah bread (slightly stale) for this recipe, as it’s a rich bread that doesn’t mush up when it’s soaked in the egg mixture and baked. If you can’t find challah bread, I suggest using a bread that’s dense, versus the type that’s lighter or has air pocket holes. I also used chai tea latte concentrate, plus added spices, for the fab chai flavor. While I’m in the throes of a sugar-free chai tea latte concentrate obsession and have plenty on hand, you can whip up an equivalent for this recipe without making a Target run:
Pour 3/4 cup (6 oz.) boiling water over 1 chai black tea bag, and let steep for a few minutes. Remove tea bag, and add:
- 3 tsp granulated sugar
- 1/8 tsp cinnamon
- 1/16 tsp ground ginger
- 1/16 tsp ground cloves
- 1/16 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp milk
- 1 ice cube (optional, to dilute slightly)
Stir all until sugar has dissolved and all ingredients are mixed. Let cool until room temperature (or refrigerate). Yields enough liquid to use in place of chai tea latte concentrate in recipe below.
This french toast bake serves a lot less servings than its gargantuan inspiration so I’m going to call it good at yielding six breakfast-sized servings. If you’re like me though and can’t be trusted around french toast…I’d decrease that number. Up to you.
- 8 oz. challah bread cubed into 1" pieces (about half of one large loaf)
- 4 eggs
- 1 1/4 cups milk I used 1%
- 3/4 cup chai tea latte concentrate*
- 1/2 cup maple syrup plus approx. 2 tbsp for drizzle
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp ground cloves
- 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/8 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
- Maple syrup for serving
- Grease an 8" x 8" baking dish and set aside. Using a serrated knife, cut challah bread into 1"-sized cubes and place bread cubes into baking dish.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, chai tea latte concentrate, 1/2 cup maple syrup, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger. Pour egg mixture into baking dish over top of the bread cubes, and press down slightly with a spatula or spoon to submerge the bread.
- Scatter blueberries over top of the french toast, the drizzle approx. 2 tbsp of maple syrup over top.
- At this point, preheat oven to 350°F. I let the french toast sit for 5-10 minutes while the oven preheats so the challah absorbs the egg mixture.
- Once oven has preheated, bake french toast for 20-23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the highest part comes out clean and no liquid remains.
- Switch oven to the broil setting and broil for 10-15 minutes longer, or until top has crisped.
- Once the top layer of the bake has crisped to your liking, remove from oven and let sit for a few minutes before serving. Top with a drizzle of maple syrup if you prefer.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.