“Overnight” Baked French Toast

Love when I can take something on the verge of being tossed, and transform it into something delicious! Maybe a month ago, I had to cut off half of a loaf of bread that had grown mold. Taking a cue from a friend, I cut the remainder of the loaf into cubes to make croutons for salad or soup, and stuck them into the freezer until I had the chance to use them. Then, searching for creative breakfast options, I cam across an intriguing recipe for an easy baked variation on French Toast. (I believe it was this one, from Sweet Peas and Saffron, which I’d still like to try sometime, though I ended up referring to a simpler recipe from Taste of Home when I finally got around to making it.)

Was a bit of a scramble to get it baked in time for breakfast, but it was worth getting up a bit earlier for a special treat! I turned up the heat up to 375°F to speed up the process a little, which seemed to shave off 5 or 10 minutes. Definitely a hit, topped with sliced banana and a light drizzle of maple syrup.

“Overnight” Baked French Toast
1 loaf of bread, cut into cubes
8 eggs
3 cups of milk
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Spread bread cubes in a greased 9×11″ glass baking dish. Whisk together remaining ingredients, pour over bread, cover, and refrigerate for several hours or overnight. Bring back out about half an hour before baking, and dot with a tablespoon or so of butter. Preheat oven to 350F (or 375 if you are crunched for time), cover and bake for 35-45 minutes, or until knife comes out clean. Cut into slices and enjoy, topped with fresh fruit, syrup, yogurt, or whatever you fancy. Simple as that!

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Tin-Baked Eggs

One of my housemates recently began declining breakfast, leaving his bowl of oatmeal untouched on the table, muttering only that he was tired. It wasn’t until one such morning, when he then scarfed down two slices of banana bread, that we realized that he meant he was tired of oatmeal. After fifty years living in Camphill, with its devotion to a hearty bowl of porridge, who can blame him? We all benefited from his hunger fast… I know I’ve certainly appreciated the opportunity to explore new ways to start the day and quickly feed a crowd, and enjoyed baking together in the evenings.

These tin-baked eggs are an easy, tasty, low-stress alternative to pan-frying. I grease the tin the night before, then crack in egg into each cup first thing in the morning while I preheat the oven and start the kettle for tea. They are ready just in time to pop them onto each plate, next to a slice of buttered toast and a mug of tea. The trick is to bake them just until set, but not dry. Covering the tin with parchment paper and placing it in a pan of hot water helps with this.

Tin-Baked Eggs
Preheat oven to 350F, with a baking pan half full of water large that the muffin tin can fit into. Crack eggs, one at a time, into a small ramekin or bowl, then pour carefully into greased muffin cups. (You can also crack them directly into the muffin tin, if you don’t mind the risk of fishing out egg-shell, etc.) Sprinkle each with a little salt and pepper, then place muffin tin in pan of water, cover with a sheet of parchment paper, and bake for 15-20 minutes, until yolk is set to your liking.

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Pumpkin Spice Muffins

There was one last lonely New York Cheese pumpkin beginning to rot in the vegetable shed, so of course I had to take it home. (Balanced on my head, because that turns out to be the best way to carry a pumpkin of such girth.) I admit, this isn’t the first variation on the familiar fall-spiced squash muffin on this site, but these turned out so wonderfully delicious and beautifully peaked that I can’t resist sharing them.

Pumpkin Spice Muffins
3 1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 teaspoons ginger
4 eggs
3 cups pumpkin or squash puree
1/2 cup melted butter or oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375F. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl. Beat eggs in a small bowl, then mix with the remaining wet ingredients and stir into the dry, just until combined. Spoon into greased muffin tins and bake for 22-25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool in tin at least 5 minutes before removing onto a rack.

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