Overnight Vanilla Chai French Toast Bake is a make-ahead breakfast casserole that give you a delicious start to your holidays.
Oh, Christmas morning breakfast…you trouble me so. I love the idea of having breakfast after all the gifts are unwrapped, but the reality is that I’m so tired (after staying up late the night before wrapping said gifts), that the last thing I want to do is go into the kitchen and make breakfast. Because of this, many years we don’t have anything special for Christmas morning. Sometimes we’ve had something fun like cinnamon rolls, but usually it’s YOYO (You On Your Own)…which means cereal, leftovers from Christmas Eve, or who knows? Probably some Christmas cookies.
I know….not your Pinterest-perfect Christmas morning, right?
Of course, with just a bit of planning, I can pull off a Christmas breakfast. Actually, the key is planning AND an easy idea. To the rescue is overnight breakfast casseroles, or in this case, Overnight Vanilla Chai French Toast Bake. A recipe that you make the night before (with minimal steps), put in the fridge, and pop in the oven the next morning. And, it will take you no more than 15 minutes to prepare…awesome, right?
Say hello to the tea that gives this french toast bake awesome flavor: Bigelow Vanilla Chai Tea.
You all know I’ve been working with Bigelow for a while now. They are my top favorite tea company for so many reasons: high quality tea that smells and tastes amazing, individual foil packets for each tea bag (easy to take on-the-go), plus they are a family owned company that I have personally met and fallen in love with.
Bigelow’s Vanilla Chai is one of my top favorite flavors and it’s so good in this Overnight Vanilla Chai French Toast Bake. To get enough of the Vanilla Chai flavor into this recipe, you’ll steep 6 Bigelow Vanilla Chai tea bags in 1 cup of hot water for 5 minutes.
This creates a highly concentrated Vanilla Chai that (once cooled) is stirred into an beaten egg mixture.
Cut a 1 pound loaf of French Bread into cubes and the pieces are placed into a well-buttered 9×13″ baking dish. I buy a cheap loaf that costs about $1 – $1.50 at the grocery store — I’ll even use day-old French Bread that might be marked down because it works just as well.
The Vanilla Chai and egg mixture is poured directly over the bread cubes. Do this as evenly as possible — I make sure all the pieces get egg mixture on them, so if any are dry, I’ll push them down a bit so they get moistened too. After doing this, you will cover it and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.
After your French Toast Bake is in the fridge, make up the oat streusel topping and store it in the refrigerator until you need it. The next morning, pull your French Toast Bake out of the oven and sprinkle with the topping.
Bake in the oven until browned and beautiful. Let cool a bit and serve by the spoonfuls.
In our house, we have a couple different ways to top the Overnight Vanilla Chai French Toast Bake: syrup, powdered sugar, whipped cream and fresh fruit. Each person makes their serving however they like. It’s a sweet breakfast, so not something we have everyday, but it’s a wonderful treat during the holidays or even as an occasional Sunday morning breakfast. It can even be served as a dessert — it’s great with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Here’s the complete recipe — feel free to print it out or save it to your ZipList:
- 1 cup water
- 6 Bigelow Vanilla Chai Tea Bags
- Butter, enough to generously coat bottom and side of pan
- 1 pound French bread loaf, cut into cubes
- 8 eggs
- ½ cup sugar
- 1½ cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup pecan halves, chopped
- 1 cup oats
- ½ cup all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- In a small saucepan, bring water to a boil. Turn off heat and add tea bags, making sure each one comes in contact with the water. Steep for 5 minutes. Remove tea bags from water, allowing excess to drip off back into the pan, but do not squeeze the tea bags. Allow to cool completely.
- Generously butter the bottom and sides of an 8½ x 11" baking dish. Place bread cubes into baking dish.
- In a large bowl, beat together the eggs, sugar, milk, vanilla extract, salt, and the cooled tea until well blended. Pour mixture over bread evenly. If any bread does not come in contact with the egg mixture, press the bread into the mixture slightly so all pieces are moistened.
- Cover baking dish with foil or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight.
- In a small bowl, combine all of the oat streusel ingredients with a pastry blender or folk until all ingredients are combine and forming a course topping. Refrigerate until ready for use.
- To bake the Overnight Vanilla Chai French Toast Bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Remove it from the refrigerator and remove foil or plastic wrap. Sprinkle evenly with the oat streusel topping. Bake for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and puffy. Serve spoonfuls with maple syrup, powdered sugar, or whipped cream. Also great with fresh fruit or even as a dessert with a scoop of ice cream.
If you would like to make this recipe, you can find Bigelow Tea in a large variety of grocery stores, but I bought mine at Walmart, which always has a great selection and prices. You can also use this same recipe and substitute other flavors of Bigelow Tea, if you wish.
Are you on Pinterest? Here’s even more Bigelow Tea ideas — check them out and pin a few to your own boards!