Lately, I’ve been making an effort to create some make-ahead breakfasts that are easy to grab on the go or heat up in the morning, because early weekday mornings can be… challenging. Especially Mondays. I’ve made a few batches of homemade granola bars, stocked the fridge with individual servings of chia pudding, and filled our freezer with single-smoothie bags of healthy ingredients, all super easy to assemble or take with me on busy mornings.
But none of those compare to this baked blueberry bagel French toast casserole – yep, it’s a mouthful. This French toast is everything I want in a decadent breakfast: A mix of chewy, Cobblestone Bread Co. cinnamon-raisin bagel bits and plump blueberries baked in a sweet, cinnamon egg custard, all topped with an indulgent brown sugar streusel.
It’s also a completely make-ahead recipe. With a bit of quick prep the night before, and minimal effort in the morning, the French toast breakfast of my dreams is possible. Even on a Monday. Yes, please.
Cobblestone Bread Co. recently unveiled their latest line of breakfast products – a collection of bagels and English muffins in several flavors. When they sent me an assortment to try, I played around with some quick, weekday breakfast recipes: whole-wheat bagel sandwiches (filled with whipped, herbed cream cheese, thick slices of red onion, and local smoked salmon), and toasted English muffins slathered with homemade strawberry jam.
Over the weekend, I pulled out the remaining bagels – cinnamon raisin – which quickly became destined for that bagel French toast casserole.
Once I got to thinking about it, using bagels in lieu of brioche or sandwich bread makes perfect sense. Cobblestone Bread Co. bagels are naturally dense and chewy, and won’t go limp in the presence of solid custard. Instead, the pieces soak up just enough liquid to stay tender and flavorful while baking, without creating any sort of unfortunate mush in the middle.
I roughly chopped the CBC cinnamon raisin bagels into chunks, layered the pieces into a baking dish, and topped them with fresh, juicy blueberries, which settle into the crevices of the bread, softening and bursting while they cook, and adding sweet berry flavor to each bite.
Next, I poured a thick, creamy egg custard on top, then let the whole thing marinate overnight, melding the flavors together and letting the bagel bits really soak up all the sweet, cinnamon and vanilla-spiced, custard-y goodness.
Right before baking, I whipped up a truly indulgent, crumbly brown sugar streusel, sprinkled that on top, adding another caramelized, nectarous layer of flavor.
You could stop there… But I served scoops of this delectable dish with a fine dusting of powdered sugar, drizzles of maple syrup, and more fresh blueberries and raspberries. Basically the best breakfast bread pudding in all the land.
One of the glorious things about this baked French toast (and there are many) is that it can be made entirely in advance, which makes breakfast the morning of, so, so easy. Simply pop the casserole dish in the oven while you’re making coffee, let the intoxicating aroma of cinnamon wake you up, and about 45 minutes later, you have a delicious, crowd-pleasing breakfast. You can also easily halve the recipe if you’re feeding a smaller group – but I bet you’ll still want seconds!
Bagel French Toast Base
- 6 Cobblestone Bread Co. cinnamon raisin bagels, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup blueberries*
- 8 large eggs
- 1–3/4 cups whole milk
- 1/2 cup cream
- 3/4 cup pure cane sugar
- 1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Brown Sugar Streusel Topping
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cubed
- confectioners sugar
- maple syrup
- fresh berries
- Layer the cubed bagel pieces in a 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Top with the blueberries.
- In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cream and sugar until completely combined. Stir in the vanilla and cinnamon. Pour over the bagel pieces, cover, and refrigerate for at least two hours or up to overnight. The longer it soaks, the more of the custard will be absorbed.
- The morning of, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Make the streusel topping: Whisk together the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Using a pastry blender or two forks, blend in the cubed butter until evenly distributed and the butter pieces are the size of small peas.
- Alternatively, use a food processor to pulse together the flour mixture and butter, until combined. Pinch the streusel mixture together between two fingers to be sure that it sticks into a clump. Crumble small clumps of streusel over the top of the bagel custard.
- Bake for 40-50 minutes, rotating once, until the top is golden brown and the egg custard is cooked through. Cover with aluminum foil as needed if the bagels begin to brown too quickly (at about the 20-minute mark). The custard may puff up gently while cooking (similar to a soufflé), but will relax as it cools. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes, then serve warm with a dusting of powdered sugar, a drizzle of maple syrup and more fresh berries.
Compensation for this post was provided by Cobblestone Bread Co. via AOL Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Cobblestone Bread Co. or AOL. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Fork Knife Swoon!