This recipes comes directly from my amazing sister-in-law, Lynn. She calls this her overnight Christmas French Toast Casserole. It's soooooooo good that my husband and I included it in our family recipe book that we gave out as favors at our wedding. The first time I ate this on Christmas morning 2013, I was in absolute heaven. I have made it every Christmas morning since then. Although I missed posting for you all to enjoy this holiday season, I thought it would make the perfect New Year's Day breakfast (though, please, on all that is holy, start your New Year's Resolutions on Jan 2).
1 lb. soft bread (my top two choices are cinnamon swirl - no raisins - or brioche)
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 cups Half & Half (or heavy whipping cream)
1 cup sugar
Splash of vanilla extract
1 cup blueberries, optional
1 cup strawberries. optional
Maple syrup and whipped cream, for garnish
In a large bowl, combine 2/3 cup sugar, 1 tsp. cinnamon, eggs, Half & Half and splash of vanilla. Whisk together until blended.
Butter a 9x13 baking pan (preferably). Break up bread into large chunks and place in pan. Pour egg mixture over bread pieces. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
The next morning (Christmas Day, New Year's Day, any given Sunday!), preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sprinkle remaining cinnamon and sugar over the top of the mixture.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until puffy and golden brown.
Cut into squares and top with berries, warm maple syrup and whipped cream.