Next to holiday finger foods (fondly just called ‘snacks’ at my house), Christmas brunch is my absolute favorite! Christmas brunch is also my favorite kind of holiday get-together to host. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because you get to have a little breakfast, a little of those fabulous Christmas finger foods, and a little Christmas dessert. I mean, where else can you get so much of all the things you love all in the same meal?
This particular recipe is a sweet standard on our Christmas morning brunch menu every year- a French toast bake, or casserole that can be made the night before or the morning of. All depending how much time you find yourself with.
Not to mention, this French toast bake is packed with all the flavors of the holiday- soaked in egg nog and topped with loads of cranberries, pecans and orange zest.
Wonderfully festive, beautifully indulgent, French Toast Bake with Egg Nog & Cranberry Pecan Topping is a Christmas showstopper, for sure. But shhh… don’t tell anyone… it’s not hard to make at all!
French Toast Bake with Egg Nog & Cranberry Pecan Topping
1 loaf French or Italian bread (16-20 oz)
8 large eggs
2 C egg nog
1 C half and half
dash of salt
1 can whole berry cranberry sauce (14 oz)
1 C light brown sugar
1 ½ C chopped pecans
1 heaping TBSP orange zest
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp ground nutmeg
a handful of fresh cranberries
Preheat oven to 350.
Lightly butter or oil 9×13 baking dish.
Slice bread (if not pre-sliced) into 24 or so slices. Place the sliced bread into baking dish cut-end down, crust-side up in 2 rows to fill the dish. Placing the cut ends down optimizes the bread’s opportunity to soak up all those eggs and good egg nog for yummy French toast perfection in the next step.
In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg nog, milk and salt. Pour the mixture over the bread, covering each piece and making sure the mixture gets between the slices of bread as well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes if you are pressed for time or overnight if you have the chance to plan ahead.
Combine brown sugar, chopped pecans and cinnamon. Stir in whole berry cranberry sauce until mixed well. Spoon the topping evenly over the bread. You may have to spread it some to evenly cover the top of the bake.
Sprinkle orange zest over the cranberry pecan topping. Adding the orange zest last makes sure that it’s seen even after the French toast is baked. It adds festive color and tells your eyes, “hey, this is going to be good! Look at all the flavors here!”
Bake 50 minutes or until the French toast is puffed and the topping is bubbling. Let cool 10-15 minutes before serving with warm maple syrup.
***Pin this French Toast Bake here!***
Need more Christmas Inspiration? Check out these ASD favorites!
Looking for holiday encouragement? Check out these ASD Life & Grace moments!
- 1 loaf French or Italian bread (16-20 oz)
- 8 large eggs
- 2 C egg nog
- 1 C half and half
- dash of salt
- 1 can whole berry cranberry sauce (14-15 oz)
- 1 C light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 C chopped pecans
- 1 heaping TBSP orange zest
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- a handful of fresh cranberries
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Lightly butter or oil 9x13 baking dish.
- Slice bread (if not pre-sliced) into 24 or so slices. Place the sliced bread into baking dish cut end down, crust side up in 2 rows to fill the dish.
- In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg nog, milk, egg nog, and salt.
- Pour over the bread, covering each piece of bread with egg mixture and making sure the mixture gets between the bread as well.
- Cover with foil and refrigerate for 30 minutes up to overnight.
- Combine brown sugar, chopped pecans and cinnamon.
- Stir in whole berry cranberry sauce until mixed well.
- Spoon evenly over the bread. Spread to evenly cover.
- Sprinkle orange zest over cranberry pecan topping. Add a few fresh cranberries for color.
- Bake 50 minutes or until egg mixture is puffed and topping is bubbling.