Last December, I shared a delicious recipe for cinnamon bread French toast casserole. It was made out of necessity after cutting up a loaf of cinnamon bread to make French toast, and finding out that it just fell apart. So I cut it into chunks and made a casserole instead of French toast in a skillet.
But what if you want French toast casserole and you wake up in the morning to find that it's already as hotter than the surface of the sun? Are you going to want to have your oven on for 45 minutes to make breakfast? I'm not! Fortunately, you don't need your oven at all to get a tasty French toast casserole. Let your slow cooker do all the work instead!
I first heard of this concept from Pinterest. So when I went to actually make a slow cooker French toast I found about a million recipes. But I was disappointed with about all of them. It wasn't that they sounded good; it was that they almost all instructed to cook the casserole for 3-4 hours. What?
I don't consider myself to be a total bum, but I don't get up at the crack of dawn on the weekends. So if I get up after 8:00 in the morning, I don't want to enjoy breakfast at noon. And I sure as heck don't want to get up at 5:00 in the morning to start working on a breakfast that is supposed to be easy. What I had in mind was something I could put together at night, and and that would be ready for me to eat when I woke up in the morning.
I had a feeling that if I wanted to, I could get away with cooking this slow cooker French toast casserole longer than some of the recipes said. But I was afraid that if I did, I would end up with a casserole that was burnt on the outside, but soggy on the inside. And the recipes I checked out where all so varying on the ratios of bread, milk, and eggs, I had no idea which one to try.
Finally, I did find a recipe that called for an 8 hour cook time. That was more up my ally. And after reading a lot of recipes and their accompanying reviews, I decided how much of each ingredient I wanted to try. After my extensive research, I was finally ready to give it a shot!
This recipe was really simple to make. As I planned, I prepared everything the night before. I made sure to thoroughly grease my Crock Pot before filling it with my ingredients. I turned on my Crock Pot right before going to bed. When I got up in the morning, I uncovered the Crock Pot to let some of the moisture escape. Meanwhile, I whipped up a streusel topping. Why shouldn't French toast casserole have streusel topping? And before I knew it, it was time to sit down and enjoy the fruit of my labor. Well, the bread of my labor.
After one bite I knew that I had done something wonderful! My husband and I both loved this French toast casserole. It was perfectly spiced and decadently rich. The texture of the bread was very soft, but the pecans in the streusel topping provided a nice crunchy contrast. And there were a few spots on the edges that were a little burned, but it wasn't enough to be objectionable. Going into making this, I was pretty nervous about how it would turn out. But overall I was very pleased. I will definitely be making this again!
Slow Cooker French Toast Casserole with Streusel Topping
1 loaf cinnamon bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 1/2 cups skim milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup toasted pecans, chopped
2 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp brown sugar
Place cut up bread in a large mixing bowl. Whisk remaining ingredients in a medium mixing bowl. Pour mixture over bread and stir to combine. Refrigerate 1-4 hours.
Grease the bottom and sides of a slow cooker. Turn on low. Cook for 6-8 hours, depending on your slow cooker.
Combine streusel toppings, cutting in butter. Top French toast with with streusel and continue to cook uncovered about 30 minutes, or until excess milk is gone.
*Added tip: Because crock pots are heated along the edges of the pot, burning can easily occur if the element gets too hot. Since making this recipe, I have found a tip in a Cook's Country magazine (December/January 2011) to prevent burning in crock pot recipes. Fold a 30x15" sheet of parchment paper into 3" strip and place inside the perimeter of your crock pot. Lightly spray the parchment paper with cooking spray. Continue as directed. I hope this helps anyone trying this (or any!) crock pot recipe!