LET ME JUST EXPLAIN TO YOU THE CRAZINESS THAT IS GOING ON. (Oh no, starting with the caps again already!)
You see, it all started when that doll Mother Nature decided TO SKIP FALL. Yeah, that happened. I mean, nobody’s in a rush to get to winter unless the holidays are getting close, am I right? I’m right.
But last week here in the good ole Midwest, it snowed. And sleeted. And hailed a little bit I’m told, although I didn’t see it in person. But those other two forms of precipitation? Witnessed with my two very own eyeballs!
There’s just something not right about seeing snow when there are leaves on the trees that haven’t even begun to turn into those fiery colors everyone associates with fall.
Oh my gosh. What if the cold from the snow killed the leaves and now instead of changing colors they’ll just SHRIVEL UP AND DIE?! Does that statement reach the drama quota on this post? I mean, I sorta prepared you for drama with the very first sentence; I had to give ya something.
I’m legitimately concerned, though. So to make myself feel better we’re going to imagine that the air outside is crisp and cool, that we can walk around comfortably in a scarf and sweater, that the leaves on the trees are ablaze with the colors of fall, and that I’m not crazy (which might even be a stretch for the imagination).
And what better way to play pretend with autumn than to eat food that completely captures the essence of fall?
THAT’S RIGHT PEOPLE, WE’RE EATIN’ APPLES. Apples in warm, cinnamony, crusty-on-the-outside-melt-in-your-mouth-on-the-inside french toast form no less!
This french toast bake, ohhh my gosh. It is so good. It’s the perfect Sunday brunch comfort food! I made this recipe (adapted from Minimalist Baker) when I went home to visit my parents. The three of us literally ate the whole entire pan, and let me tell you, I don’t feel one ounce of guilt! Let me also tell you what I changed.
More of Molly’s Magical Modifications: (This alliteration just keeps getting better and better)
1. I used challah bread instead of wheat bread. If you’ve never heard of challah (pronounced like ha-la, not cha-la. If you’re feeling really daring, you can try and get some phlegm on the ‘h’) it’s a sweet, Jewish egg bread that has a marvelously semi-dense texture and makes the most amazing french toast! Seriously people, once you’ve tasted challah bread french toast, NOTHING will ever compare. Except cinnamon roll french toast, that stuff is pretty dang good. But other than that NOTHING!
2. I also halved it. When I say we ate the whole pan it sounds a lot less impressive now, doesn’t it? It’s those little details…
This recipe already uses almond milk so I didn’t have to change that (yay!) but if you feel more comfortable using cow’s milk or another kind, that will work just as well!
So about Minimalist Baker. All of her recipes are super easy to make, absolutely deeeelicious, and a huge portion of them are vegan/allergy-friendly! Plus, as the name implies, all of the recipes use less than 10 ingredients, oftentimes less than seven. I’m actually obsessed. Having only a dorm room in which to store ingredients, minimalist baking has kind of become ma thang.
We ate this two different ways, first we drizzled maple syrup on top, and then on our next piece we generously coated each bite with cinnamon-sugar. Benefits of having second (or fifth) helpings! I’m happy to report that each earned enthusiastic yums, and that if you want to know which way is better, you’ll have to try ’em both.
Here’s the recipe, now go make it and help me feel better about this annoying weather. *sniffle* <—Was that a sniffle? it WAS! Oh, well now you just have to make it.
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Apple Cinnamon French Toast Bake (adapted from Minimalist Baker)
- 3-4 cups challah bread, cubed
- 4 large eggs
- 1 cup milk (I used almond)
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon, divided
- 2 apples, cored, peeled and sliced into wedges (I used one braeburn and one granny smith)
- 1 Tbsp margarine
- 1/4 cup brown sugar, divided
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 8×8 baking pan.
- Add bread cubes to the baking pan – enough to generously cover the bottom and up about 1.5 inches. You don’t want to see any bare spots on the pan, but you also don’t want there to be bread overflowing out of the dish.
- In a mixing bowl whisk the eggs, milk, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon. Pour over the bread and use your hands or the back of a wooden spoon to push the bread down to soak up the liquid. If you end up having too much bread after pouring on the liquid, just pick a few out. Alternatively, if you have too much liquid, add more bread cubes.
- To a large skillet over medium-low heat, add the apples and 1 Tbsp butter. Sprinkle with 1/4 tsp cinnamon, stir and cover to steam for a bit. When they start to get tender – about 4-5 minutes – remove cover and sprinkle with 1-2 Tbsp brown sugar (this will depend on preference and whether you used sweet or tart apples). Continue cooking with cover off until tender and slightly caramelized. You don’t want them to get mushy so be careful not to keep the cover on for too long. Remove from heat to cool slightly.
- Check the bread to make sure all pieces are getting well soaked. If any cubes are dry on top, flip them over with your hands to ensure all pieces are wet. Sprinkle top with remaining brown sugar – about 1/4 cup.
- Next spoon 3/4 of the apples over the top of the bread and push them down into the cracks with your fingers. If a few slices are sitting on top, that’s OK it’s artsy.
- Bake on a center rack for 45 minutes to 1 hour. You’ll know when it’s done because the bread and apples will be golden brown and the egg mixture will no longer be wet. Stick a fork down in the center to check – if it’s still jiggly or wet, bake for another 5-10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and serve immediately. Top each slice with maple syrup or serve with cinnamon-sugar. Store leftovers in a covered container in the fridge for up to a couple days and reheat in the microwave.