Cinnamon Raisin Baked French Toast

I hope you listened to me when I told you to save the hollowed out bread from the egg boats (Shh..! I know it might be too late... but next time!). Anyways, even if you didn't, not to worry. Either go out and grab a loaf of airy, yet crusty bread - one that you would want to soak up in an eggy custard mixture and bake until it is full of gorgeous, aromatic deliciousness. 

The best thing is that it can be (needs to be!) prepped the night before, so all that needs to be done in the morning is to tuck the prepared dish into the oven... and wait. If you can.

This is like a decadent bread butter pudding for breakfast, yet its not guilt-inducing because the ingredients are all relatively "normal" and there's not a ton of sugar or butter in here.

Another reason you should definitely make this (soon) would be the fact that this is my mom's FAVORITE brunch dish, breakfast dish, bread butter pudding dish, french toast dish. Basically, she loovvveeeesssss it. And let me assure you, that's saying a lot! 

Cinnamon Raisin Baked French Toast
A loaf of crusty bread, cut into 1" cubes
7 eggs
1 cup of milk (skim, low-fat or whole - whatever rocks your boat)
8 tbsp brown sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon (I adore cinnamon, so cut back to 1 tbsp if you don't!)
1/3 cup of raisins (feel free to increase if you like raisins)
3 tbsp butter, melted

In a 9 x 13 baking dish, spread the melted butter on the bottom and sides of the dish, making sure to coat every bit. Sprinkle 4 tbsp of brown sugar on top. Layer half the bread cubes, followed by half of  the raisins. Repeat once again.
In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla and remaining sugar. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread cubes and tilt it around a bit to make sure that each piece has sponged up some of the custard-y mixture. Cover with cling wrap and place in the refrigerator overnight. 
Next morning: Preheat oven to 175 C. Bake uncovered for around 45 minutes, or until egg looks almost set and the bread has caramelized on top.

Serve hot with a dusting of powdered sugar and some maple syrup :)

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