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Easy overnight French toast with cream cheese chunks and studded with juicy blueberries.
Welcome my last installment of #SpringSweetsWeek! The third and final recipe among a group of 27 other bloggers who have been bringing some amaaaazing recipes to the internet all week.
I’m hoping today’s overnight blueberry French toast breakfast casserole (that’s a mouthful) will pique your interest and give you something to grace entertaining breakfasts to come, say, at Easter brunch, on Thanksgiving morning, on Christmas morning, or really, any time you need to have breakfast ready so you don’t have to think about putting it together.
Have you seen the overnight French toast casserole I posted a couple years ago? That recipe is a reader favorite, and it’s pretty simple. Just bread, an egg and milk custard, and some sweetness.
Today’s baked French toast is like that but also all about the extras.
We’ve got blueberries AND cream cheese going on, so it’s a little more involved than that original recipe, but it’s truly very simple. Frozen blueberries (or fresh!) and a block of cream cheese cut into chunks give this French toast bake some dimension without adding a ton of extra work.
That’s the beauty of overnight and make ahead meals. Simple work ahead of time that make popping the dish into the oven in the morning a total breeze. From then on it’s just waiting for the oven to tell you it’s ready!
So let’s chat components of this baked blueberry French toast.
START WITH STALE BREAD
You’ll start with about 10-12 ounces of stale bread.
You want to start with stale bread so that the custard and all the other goodies have somewhere to go and don’t just wind up making a soggy mess.
I like to cut up my bread and leave it out overnight on a baking sheet the night before I want to use it. A good 12 hours on the counter with nothing covering it is an easy way to get your bread to go stale!
You’ll add your blueberries and cream cheese chunks in a couple layers. Add about half of the bread, blueberries, and cream cheese to the baking dish and then layer the remaining halves of each of those ingredients on top. That way, you have blueberries and cream cheese in all the nooks and crannies, and not just on the top.
The custard is a simple combo of melted butter, brown sugar, eggs, milk, and some vanilla extract. Mix it all up in one bowl (with a spout!) and pour it onto the bread/blueberries/cream cheese mixture.
You’ll let this sit overnight, or at least 3 hours, and when you’re ready to bake it, all you need to do is preheat the oven. A little over an hour later, and you’ve got a delicious blueberry French toast bake waiting for you and whomever it is you’re feeding. And lots of it!
We LOVED this French toast casserole. It was just like having a stack of blueberry French toast, but in an easier form. No prepping the custard, dipping each slice, cooking it, and then doing something extra fancy with the blueberries like making a compote to drizzle on top.
Just simple, flavorful, juicy bites of blueberry with creamy notes from the cream cheese. It’s kind of like having cream cheese stuffed French toast casserole, but again, wayyyyy less work.
And even better? This was totally toddler approved! The older one said “this is the best crunch toast ever!” And I think that’s testament enough that you need this recipe in your back pocket for your next breakfast or brunch entertainment.
Baked Blueberry French Toast
- 10-12 ounces (283-340g) stale1 French bread (or other crusty bread) cut into large cubes (about 8-9 cups of bread)
- 8 ounces (224g) cream cheese cut into small chunks
- 10 ounces (283g) blueberries (fresh or frozen2) about 2 cups
- ¼ cup (58g) unsalted butter melted
- 1 cup (200g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 8 large eggs
- 1 and ½ cups (360mL) milk any, but I prefer whole cow
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- Spray a 2 quart casserole or 9" x 13" baking dish with non-stick spray. Place half of the bread cubes in the prepared baking dish. Scatter half of the cream cheese and half of the blueberries. Repeat with remaining halves of each of the ingredients.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the melted butter and brown sugar. Add the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and salt, and whisk again until everything is completely combined.
- Pour the egg mixture over the bread, cover with a lid or foil, and allow to rest in the refrigerator for at least 3 hours or overnight.
- When you are ready to bake the casserole, preheat the oven to 350ºF (177ºC). Bake the casserole for 60 to 70 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the egg mixture looks set.
- Stale bread: the reason for stale bread is because you want the bread to soak up all of the liquid ingredients. Stale bread has far less moisture in it, allowing for intake of the custard. I usually cut up my bread and let it sit out during the day or even overnight an extra night, if I have that much advance planning.
- Frozen blueberries: if using frozen, no need to thaw.