There is a recipe that I’ve known for years as “your mom’s French toast.” Popular at any brunch gathering, but especially on New Year’s Day, this casserole is delicious and easy. Especially on a holiday when you are likely to be very tired and perhaps slightly, um, “dehydrated” in the morning, the beauty of this breakfast is that you make it the night before. In fact, if your New Year’s Eve celebration starts early, you can even put it together the afternoon before with no ill effects. And on New Year’s Day, if you’ve got 45 minutes and a working oven, my mom’s French toast can be yours too!
Somewhere, my mom is pretty angry with me for posting this picture from Christmas 1988. And she likely wouldn’t be too pleased that I’m about to tell the secret of “her” French toast… that it is actually from a cookbook! Page 67 of The Bed & Breakfast Cookbook: Great American B&Bs and Their Recipes from All Fifty States (which, through that link, you can get on Amazon for as low as $.25!), to be exact. Each recipe in the book includes a blurb about the B&B where it originated, as well as a photo and address. Unfortunately, my research on Google indicates that the Pentwater Inn B&B in Pentwater, Michigan, the originator of this Skiers French toast, is no longer in business. However, the recipe lives on in the stained page of my mom’s original 1991 copy of the cookbook, and on New Year’s Day (and plenty of others) in my house every year.
This recipe is infinitely forgiving and flexible. It is easily halved (use an 8×8 square pan instead of a 9×13 & reduce cook time slightly), you can substitute different breads and milks (whole, skim, half & half, almond), and add cinnamon, orange zest, or any other flavor you desire. This Christmas, I discovered that I really like making homemade panettone, and I have leftovers galore, which I am using for my Skiers French toast. My mom usually used a baguette, but just about any bread will suffice. I am copying the original recipe exactly below, but feel free to get creative! Any version of this will make your house smell amazing on New Year’s (or any other) Day!
[Not into breakfast, but still need something to make for Sunday night? Check out Grandma’s 1-2-3 Hors D’Ouevres, a family NYE classic!]
Skiers French Toast
from the Pentwater Inn Bed & Breakfast
excerpted from The Bed & Breakfast Cookbook by Martha W. Murphy
serves 6 to 8
This makes a delicious French toast casserole, particularly suitable for winter as its name implies. Busy cooks will like the fact that the recipe must be assembled and refrigerated overnight, to be baked in the morning. As with all French toast recipes, use a good bakery or home-baked loaf of white bread.
- 2 Tablespoons corn syrup (light or dark)*
- ½ cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar, packed
- 1 loaf white bread, thickly sliced
- 5 eggs
- 1-1/2 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ tsp salt
- In a small saucepan combine the syrup, butter, and brown sugar; simmer until syrupy. Pour this mixture into a 9 x 13″ baking pan. Set aside.
- Slice the loaf into thick slices, remove the crusts, and place on the syrup in the baking pan. You will have 2 even layers.
- In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, milk, vanilla, and salt. Pour evenly over the bread. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- In the morning leave the casserole at room temperature while the oven preheats. Bake at 350 degrees, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Cut into squares and serve immediately. Serve with butter and a selection of syrups.
Whether or not you enjoy this Monday morning, we wish all readers of Grandma’s Icebox a healthy, happy and peaceful new year!
Our goal for 2018 is to bring more recipes and stories to this site, so please stay tuned!