Breakfast Bread Pudding: French Toast Baked in the Oven

I am not a French toast fan...I've always had issues with eggs and egg-y foods; they tend to make me a little nauseated unless I'm craving them. So, French toast is just not where it's at for me. Beyond being able to taste the "custard" too well, I just don't like the texture of the bread! Of course, always a polite guest, I eat what's been made for me...thank goodness...because if I had refused to try this French toast casserole, I would surely, surely be missing out. 

My best friend's parents own a cottage up in the thumb of Michigan where we absolutely love to spend hot summer weekends relaxing, barbecuing, drinking on the boat, and sitting by the bonfire. Short, up north vacations are a staple in Michigan, at least for those of us in the suburban, metro area. If we could spend every weekend at the cottage, we'd do nothing else. What's great about these trips with my particular friends is that we don't just allow ourselves to become completely lazy; there's a full kitchen to utilize and, no doubt, you'll find us making anything from a huge breakfast feast to homemade, from-scratch calzones. And, while I love to take charge of cooking, it's absolutely wonderful to have Megan's parents along, allowing us to wake up to the sweet aroma of her mother's French toast casserole and the savory goodness of her father's omelettes. 

As Mom C said, "Place the pan on the counter top and magically people begin to descend from the upper level of the cottage and start to devour!" I mean, why even bother waking up unless we can immediately feast ourselves upon her casserole!? Dense, moist, and sweet with bites of crisp caramelized brown sugar, this bread pudding is undoubtedly addictive. I ate so much more than I could handle, I had to lay on my side for half an hour to settle my stomach! And when I felt okay again...I finished the few pieces I'd left on my plate ;)

I've wanted this recipe for years now, but, of course, never remember to ask. I even tried to get my mom to help recreate it, but because I hadn't realized, at the time, that it's truly a bread pudding, my description kept getting lost in translation and all we could do is sadly fail. I just couldn't have my baby shower brunch without it, though, so I finally remembered to get the recipe from Mom C! Two days later, here it is in my kitchen...doubled in size not only as a sure-fire test for the shower, but to give Billy and I plenty of leftovers for freezing :) It's so simple, though, you could make this every weekend without feeling as if you've done any work. It will surely look like you made more effort, though!

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