Ever wonder what would happen if french toast merged with bread pudding to make the most rich, decadent and fluffy concoction that could ever be called breakfast? If you haven't tried this yet we would like to introduce you to our indulgent Baked French Toast Casserole. This mash-up has the lightness of the french bread plus the creaminess of the custard with the richness of cream cheese. Round this dish out with some salty Traeger'ed sausages and you've got a show-worthy brunch on your hands.
PREP TIME: 10 minutes, plus let sit overnight
COOK TIME: 55 to 60 minutes
RECOMMENDED PELLETS: Apple or Cherry
Nonstick cooking spray or softened butter
8 large eggs
2-1/4 cups half and half or whole milk
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar (or more white sugar)
1 tablespoon vanilla
1-1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 12-ounce to 16-ounce loaf French or Italian bread, cubed
1 8-oz. package cream cheese, cut into small pieces (cut it up when it's cold)
Powdered sugar, for serving
Butter, for serving
Warm maple or pancake syrup, for serving
Coat a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray or softened butter and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, thoroughly whisk together the eggs, half and half, white and brown sugars, vanilla, and cinnamon. Arrange half the bread cubes in the prepared baking dish and spread out to cover the bottom. Pour half the egg mixture evenly over the bread and distribute the cream cheese bits randomly over the bread.
Top with the remaining bread cubes and egg mixture. Add an extra sprinkle of cinnamon on top, if you like.
Cover tightly with foil and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to cook, start the Traeger grill on Smoke with the lid open until the fire is established (4 to 5 minutes). Set the temperature to 350 degrees F and preheat, lid closed, for 10 to 15 minutes.
Remove the foil from the casserole and bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or the top is slightly crusty and golden brown.
Put a couple of tablespoons of powdered sugar in a small kitchen sieve and dust the top of the casserole with it. Cut the casserole into portions and serve warm with butter and syrup and maybe a few berries.