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Make Ahead French Toast Casserole

French toast has been one of my favorite breakfast dishes for as long as I can remember. With the business of the holiday season, this is a terrific make ahead dish for breakfast, brunch, or Christmas morning, and perfect for a crowd!

For French Toast
Butter, for greasing
1 loaf crusty sourdough or French bread
8 whole eggs
2 c. whole milk
1/2 c. heavy cream
1/3 c. sugar
1/2 c. brown sugar
2 tbsp. vanilla extract or paste
Warm maple syrup, for serving
Butter, for serving
1 c. fresh blueberries or strawberries, for serving

1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
1 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

For the French toast:
Grease a 9’x13′ baking dish with butter. Tear bread into chunks, or cut into cubes, and evenly distribute in the pan.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream, both sugars, and vanilla. Pour evenly over the bread. Cover the pan tightly and store in the fridge until needed (ideally, overnight). This can also be made and baked all at once.

For the topping:
Mix the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and some nutmeg in a medium bowl. Stir together using a fork. Add the butter and use a pastry cutter or your hands to mix it all together until the mixture resembles small pebbles. Store in the refrigerator until needed.

When you’re ready to bake the casserole, preheat the oven to 350˚. Remove from the refrigerator and sprinkle the topping over the top. Bake for 45 minutes for a softer, (bread pudding-like) texture or for 1 hour or more for more firm, crisp texture.

Serve and top individual portions with butter, drizzle with warm syrup, and sprinkle with berries.