It hasn’t stopped rocking and rolling around here.

School just got out, schedules are in transistion, my husband is in full rehearsal mode with the band getting back together (oh Lord, did I just admit that is really happening?) and I just got back to town after an amazingly inspiring trip to Seattle for BlogHer Food. I did my fare share of blogger-stalking, business card exchanges and tweeting #overkill and met many of my fave bloggers and even more new faces I am so stoked to now/soon be following. And yes my pants are fitting a bit tighter. Damn Seattle has some good eats!

Chocolate Chip and Banana Baked French Toast from FoodieCrush.com

I’ll be doing a blog biz wrap up later this week and can’t wait to share the highlights. And BTW Austin, watch out  ’cause this bloggo bunch is headed your way next year.

Before I left for Seattle I was crazy busy with deadlines, all of that said above and most importantly our Smudge’s 8th birthday. I’m still not sure if my post-party hangover is from the night of 8 year olds who don’t know any other speed than full throttle or food bloggers who pretty much do the same.

Either way, they both created new inspirations for me. Like this ooey gooey concoction that thanks to requests at our house for more combinations of chocolate and banana, has yet to fade from the peanut gallery.

I blame it all on my favorite Chocolate Chip Banana Bread, a recipe that quickly crowned me “the best cook of all the moms,” an invisible badge that I secretly—but oh so proudly—display.

Foodie Crush Banana and Chocolate Chip Baked French Toast with Oatmeal Crumble

For the birthday party my title was put to the test. The sleepover with eight of Smudge’s friends meant morning would arrive early, creating a house humming with hungry girls who were dangerously low on blood sugar after the previous night’s all-night binge.

And if you’re a mom, you know the mere thought of the clamor that was about to begin was ample motivation to create an easy, no-fuss breakfast. Hey, I might even get a few extra minutes of shut-eye before the next torrent of girl-frenzy began. (Disclosure: I did not, thank you.)

I considered pulling out my favorite stand-by Ham and Cheese Breakfast Souffle but quickly realized this meal called for an extra dose of sugary sweetness.

I’ve made baked french toast plenty of times, but this time decided to continue the banana/chocolate chip theme with a riff on my daughter’s newest obsession of pancakes studded with said ingredients. As I was pulling the dish together I started daydreaming of fruit crumbles (mind wandering: is it age or adult onset ADD?) so impulsively mixed a little oatmeal, butter and brown sugar together for a struesel-like topper. It was just the texture balance the custardy dish needed.

A couple of tips to make this recipe easy and flavor-filled for the morning bake:
1. Use store-bought cinnamon swirl bread to add an extra layer of flavor. Bonus: The bread I used had a sugary topping that simply added to the sweetness of the dish.
2. No need to break up the bread into pieces, go ahead and layer the slices whole with crusty bottoms of slices alternately stack with the golden top crusts.
3. I use a deep-dish lasagna pan so I can use 4 layers of bread
4. Like banana bread, go ahead  and use those almost too ripe bananas to enhance the banana flavor
5. Prepare the night before, but remember to pull from the fridge a half hour to bring to room temperature before going into the oven

 

Banana and Chocolate Chip Baked French Toast with Oatmeal Crumble
 
Serves: serves 12
Ingredients
  • 2 loaves sliced cinnamon swirl bread (about 24 slices)
  • 2 ripe bananas, sliced
  • 1 ½ cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 8 eggs
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • ¼ cup butter, melted and cooled plus 1 tablespoon for greasing pan
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
for crumble
  • ½ cup oatmeal
  • ½ cup butter, at room temperature
  • ½ cup brown sugar
Instructions
  1. Generously grease a 9 X 13 deep-dish casserole dish with 1 tablespoon of butter. Place a layer of bread slices alternating direction of bottom crusts and top crusts to outside of pan. Add a layer of bananas and chocolate chips. Repeat 2 more times ending with layer of bread.
  2. In a large bowl whisk eggs, milk, butter and vanilla together. Slowly pour over bread layers making sure to coat evenly.
  3. In a small bowl combine oatmeal, butter and brown sugar and mix into clumps with your fingers. Top casserole with oatmeal clumps. Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
  4. To bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove casserole from refrigerator and bring to room temperature, about a half an hour. Bake uncovered for 35-45 minutes or until edges are bubbling and top is golden. Remove and let set for 5 minutes and serve.
Notes
special supplies: a 9 X 13 deep dish lasagna or casserole dish. If you choose to use a regular depth baking dish, reduce milk by 1 cup and layer bread just 3 times rather than 4

Baked French Toast can be adapted and customized in so many unique ways. Check out these food blogger’s twists on the standard breakfast classic.

Savour-Fare’s Savory Baked French Toast Croque Monsieur is an even Frenchier twist on french toast in only the best of savory ways: with cheese, ham and egg.

Becky marries the sweet to the sour with Vintage Mixer’s mama’s recipe for Baked Strawberry Rhubarb French Toast with an almond struedel topper.

The Urban Baker’s version of Baked Blueberry French Toast is best when left to rest overnight, but in a pinch, Susan’s breakfast treat is pretty darn tasty when the kids demand.

And since we really can’t get enough blueberry love, go ahead and dive into Creative Culinary’s decadent Blueberry and  Cream Cheese Baked French Toast

Maple bacon, sliced apples and white dinner rolls (!) make Kitchen Runway’s Maple Bacon Apple Baked French Toast a triple threat of the Triple S’s: sweet, savory and salty.

Related Recipes
Ham and Cheese Breakfast Souffle
Dutch Babies 
Ham and Cheese Egg Cups
Salmon and Egg Bagel Benedict
Grandma’s Scrambled Eggs

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