Wednesday, July 18, 2012

blackberry baked french toast for happy mornings

It is no secret that I am a huge fan of breakfast foods. Huge fan. If I could have belgian waffles every single day for the rest of my life I probably would. (Side note: I do not yet own a belgian waffle maker, and for some strange reason they do not sell frozen belgian waffles in NoVa. I don't get it, but they are severely lacking in my life right now.) The problem with breakfast is it tends to require effort. In the morning. Which is hard. So I like breakfasts that are super easy, but I also want them to taste amazing. 

Let me introduce you to a little something I threw together recently.

Looks amazing, right? So here's a little secret: I threw it together in just a few minutes with things I had around the kitchen and needed to get rid of. And. It was AMAZING!

1/3 loaf old french bread (or whatever stale bread you may have lying around)
1/2 cup leftover buttermilk you don't know what to do with (or half & half, or regular milk)
4 eggs
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
handful of blackberries (or any fruit you have)

for topping:
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
2 tbsp butter or margarine
sprinkle of almonds (optional)

You with me so far? This sounds pretty easy, right? Almost all of the ingredients are substitutable. Make this with some challah bread, or old croissants, can you imagine? Yum! Throw some strawberries or peaches in there instead of blackberries, also yum. Leave out the topping if you want, it won't hurt my feelings. Oh yeah, I almost forgot, I'm completely making up all those measurements. When I made this I just poured stuff together without measuring it. That's how easy it is. 

So here's what you do.
1. tear your bread into roughly 1" chunks and place in a small baking dish (I used a small loaf pan)
2. mix together eggs, milk, and vanilla
3. pour egg mixture over bread chunks until well covered
4. place in refrigerator for at least 20 minutes or until bread soaks up egg mixture. Do not skip this step, it makes such a huge difference!
5. now it's time to add your berries. You could be like me and carefully place your berries between and underneath and on the bread to be sure that each bite has a berry, or you could just sprinkle them all on top because what does it matter anyway. 
6. put flour and brown sugar in bowl, cut in butter until the mixture starts to form crumbles.
7. sprinkle brown sugar mixture over bread mixture
8. add almonds if you choose (it really did add a nice texture)
9. bake in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes or so, until the top is nice and golden brown.

This made two very generous sized portions for the hubs and I. Just scoop it out, put it on a plate, and enjoy it. No syrup needed for sure.

If you made it through this whole post and decided to make this dish (or a version of it) for yourself, please leave a comment and let me know how it went!

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