Growing up, we had a family tradition of eating my mother’s fresh baked cinnamon buns after (or during!) present opening under the tree. It has always been one of my favourite traditions on that day.
When I started my own family, I wanted to have a tradition that we could have as well. And I also wanted something that I would not have to spend time cooking on Christmas morning, since being at the tree is the priority!
I decided to create my own healthier twist on a French Toast Bake. Do not get me wrong – this is still NOT particularly healthy (it’s Christmas after all!!), but I did try and trade out a few ingredients to make it just a bit healthier than the traditional Bake. I switched out white bread for delicious and gut-healthy sourdough bread, replaced milk with non-dairy milk, and of course…used coconut sugar instead of the brown sugar. I also added apple for fiber and yumminess!
And the best part? You make it the day before and simply stick it into the oven while opening gifts on Christmas morning. The house smells so good while it bakes, and it is a delicious way to start your special day.
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup coconut sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
12 slices bread (I use sourdough, but you can indulge with Challah instead if you want!)
One apple, peeled & thinly sliced
2/3 cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
1 tsp vanilla
1 pinch salt
Optional: add fresh berries and whipped cream on top
Coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with melted butter. Spread any remaining melted butter over bottom of dish.
Sprinkle brown sugar and cinnamon evenly over melted butter.
Cover bottom of dish with one layer of apple slices.
Arrange bread in two layers over brown sugar mixture.
Beat eggs, milk, and salt in a bowl; pour over bread.
Sprinkle with a tiny bit more cinnamon on top.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Bake in the preheated oven 20 minutes with tin foil, 20 minutes without.
Serve with whipping cream and fresh berries on top!