This post is sponsored by Little Northern Bakehouse. All opinions are my own and all products are those I truly recommend.
It’s spring (finally!), and I am looking forward to a season of entertaining in our new house. When entertaining, I prefer simple recipes that can be prepped ahead and easily feed a crowd. French toast does not usually fall into that category, requiring the laborious steps of individual dipping and soaking before even getting to the actual cooking part. Enter this baked overnight french toast. This recipe is genius, because it can be prepped entirely the night before. Eggs, coconut milk, maple syrup and the divine pairing of orange and cardamom combine in a rich custard that gets soaked up overnight by the bread. All that is left to do the following morning is pop it in the oven, and perhaps while it bakes whip up some coconut cream, slice some strawberries and make some tea or coffee. I also add the small extra step of drizzling the french toast with melted butter or coconut oil and sprinkling with coconut sugar right before baking for some swoon-worthy caramelization. The french toast comes out of the oven perfectly golden, slightly crisp on the outside and tender on the inside and ready to feed a crowd. It would be perfect for a relaxing Mother’s Day at home.
I’ve been wanting to share this recipe for a while now, and when Little Northern Bakehouse reached out to me to collaborate on a post, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity. I was delighted to learn that this recipe worked very well with their gluten-free bread. I used their White Wide Slice Loaf. If you follow a gluten-free diet or are entertaining guests that do, this recipe will allow you to have your French toast and eat it too. My mom dabbles with a gluten-free diet occasionally, so I will be making this for her when she visits this weekend as an early Mother’s Day treat.
I do not follow a gluten-free diet (I am basically addicted to gluten-FULL sourdough bread), but I love exploring alternative flours and gluten-free baking methods. I’d say I am an equal opportunity bread enthusiast. I am typically not a fan of most commercial gluten-free bread out there, but I was pleasantly surprised by the taste and texture of Little Northern’s breads, particularly in this recipe. All of their breads are gluten-free, non-GMO and comprised of whole food ingredients. An added bonus is the fact that their breads are certified Glyphosate Residue Free. As a consumer, I’m increasingly on the lookout for products committed to testing for this carcinogenic substance that has been found in many mainstream food products. If you are gluten-free or gluten-free curious, you can find Little Northern Bakehouse breads in the freezer aisle of most natural foods stores.
This recipe also works very well with brioche, challah or (my personal favorite) a sweet sourdough focaccia loaf we have been tinkering with lately. I told you I’m bread-obsessed. Whatever bread you use — gluten or gluten-free — my main tip is to use stale bread. Either leave the bread slices out all day or overnight or lightly toast the bread in the oven before proceeding with the recipe. You want the bread to dry out a bit so it can soak up more of the delicious custard. I hope you enjoy! Xo Maggie
- 1 lb slightly stale bread, sliced thick — brioche, challah or Little Northern Bakehouse Wide White Slice gluten-free all work well
- 6 eggs
- 1 15 oz can full fat coconut milk
- 1 cup almond milk (or other milk of choice, but the richer the better)
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 1/2 tsp cardamom
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp vanilla bean powder or 1 tsp extract
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 tsp orange zest
- 2 tbsp orange juice
- 3 tbsp butter, ghee or coconut oil, melted
- 1 tbsp coconut sugar
- Toppings: whipped cream, fresh strawberries, powdered sugar and maple syrup
- Grease a 9×13 inch baking pan with butter or coconut oil.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, both milks, maple syrup, cardamom, cinnamon, salt, orange zest and orange juice until well-combined. Dip each slice of bread into the egg mixture and arrange dipped slices in the prepared baking pan in a shingle pattern, overlapping or tearing the slices as necessary to fit in the pan. Pour any remaining egg mixture over the bread and lightly press the bread to further absorb the egg mixture. Cover pan and refrigerate for at least one hour or overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375°. Uncover the pan and drizzle the bread evenly with the melted butter or coconut oil and sprinkle the coconut sugar atop the bread.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the french toast is golden brown and the center is set. Check after 30 minutes, and if it is browning too quickly cover lightly with aluminum foil.
- While the french toast bakes, slice fresh strawberries and prepare whipped cream, if desired — coconut cream or regular cream are both delicious. See notes below.
- Serve french toast with a dollop of whipped cream, a handful of sliced strawberries and good glug of maple syrup. Enjoy!
- Be sure to use slightly stale bread. Either leave the bread out all day or overnight or lightly toast the bread in the oven before proceeding with the recipe. You want the bread to dry out so it can soak up more of the delicious custard.
- Whipped cream: For coconut cream, whip the hardened coconut cream from a chilled 15 oz can of coconut milk, reserving the liquid for another use (e.g. smoothies). For regular whipped cream, use 1 cup of very chilled heavy cream. For both, once the cream forms stiff peaks, whisk in 2 tbsp powdered sugar or honey and 1 tsp vanilla extract. I also like to whip in another 1/2 to 1 cup whole milk greek yogurt for a delightfully tangy (albeit slightly less fluffy) whipped cream.