Overnight Gingerbread French Toast Breakfast Bake

I love a good make-ahead breakfast.

Especially when it’s buttery soft French toast that tastes a lot like soft gingerbread and molasses cookies.

Overnight Gingerbread French Toast Breakfast Bake - Easy, make-ahead French toast that's perfect for winter weekends or Christmas morning! Easy, no-flipping-required recipe at averiecooks.com

This is my last holiday-related recipe. While I don’t usually miss certain foods and flavors because as a blogger all I need to do is blink and it’s back to pink pastel things for Easter or an abundance of apple and pumpkin recipes in the fall, I will miss being able to blog at will about molasses and ginger.

However, that won’t stop me from making things with those flavors for personal consumption, but you don’t want to hear about them in July.

Overnight Gingerbread French Toast Breakfast Bake - Easy, make-ahead French toast that's perfect for winter weekends or Christmas morning! Easy, no-flipping-required recipe at averiecooks.com

This year I’ve made Soft Molasses Coconut Oil Crinkle CookiesSoft and Chewy Gingerbread Molasses Chocolate Chip BarsGingerbread Pancakes with Ginger Molasses Maple Syrup, and even Gingerbread Cookie Dough Peanut Butter (GF).

I thought I’d sneak in one last molasses and ginger-themed recipe. It just happens to be perfect for cold winter mornings, lazy weekend mornings, or as an easy, make-ahead Christmas morning breakfast.

Overnight Gingerbread French Toast Breakfast Bake - Easy, make-ahead French toast that's perfect for winter weekends or Christmas morning! Easy, no-flipping-required recipe at averiecooks.com

You can assemble it and keep it in the fridge for up to 24 hours in advance, which is so nice if you have a gathering or company coming. One less thing to worry about the day-of is a nice gift to yourself.

Plus anything that I can bake, and not have to flip one at a time on the stovetop like pancakes, is a big bonus.

Overnight Gingerbread French Toast Breakfast Bake - Easy, make-ahead French toast that's perfect for winter weekends or Christmas morning! Easy, no-flipping-required recipe at averiecooks.com

To make it, slice your bread and arrange it in the pan in three rows, overlapping some. It was a tight squeeze to get it all into the pan when dry, but after marinating, it softens and you can reposition it easily if necessary.

I used most of one long cylinder of fresh French bread because I didn’t plan ahead enough to use day old. Plus, I have mixed feelings about day old bread. It’s just too hard and crusty for me, but use what you like.

Overnight Gingerbread French Toast Breakfast Bake - Easy, make-ahead French toast that's perfect for winter weekends or Christmas morning! Easy, no-flipping-required recipe at averiecooks.com

Make the marinade by whisking together melted butter, eggs, milk, sugars, maple syrup, molasses, and a ton of spices.

I love boldly flavored recipes, full of spice and shazam, and it’s mandatory for me when working with things in the pumpkin, carrot cake, ginger, or molasses families. Without using ample spices, foods in those categories taste blah and lackluster, but if you’re more sensitive to cinnamon, ginger, allspice, nutmeg, and cloves, you may consider reducing, or even halving, the given amount.

Pour the marinade over the bread slowly and evenly, separating the overlapping parts with your fingers so as much of the bread is coated as possible. It looks like a lot of liquid, and it is, but the bread is thirsty and drinks up quite nicely overnight.

Overnight Gingerbread French Toast Breakfast Bake - Easy, make-ahead French toast that's perfect for winter weekends or Christmas morning! Easy, no-flipping-required recipe at averiecooks.com

The next morning, carefully spoon any pooled liquid at the bottom of the pan over the top of the bread, redistributing it and re-drenching any white patches or dry looking places.

Baking times will vary greatly because bread dryness levels vary greatly. Because I used fresh bread, I had a fair amount of unabsorbed and pooled liquid, and things were pretty juicy going into the oven.

Overnight Gingerbread French Toast Breakfast Bake - Easy, make-ahead French toast that's perfect for winter weekends or Christmas morning! Easy, no-flipping-required recipe at averiecooks.com

The maple syrup, sugars, and butter caramelize in the oven, providing flavor and chewiness. Because of the sugars and syrup, watch your toast closely so it doesn’t burn.

The French toast is firm and chewy on the outside, with a soft, tender, and squishy interior. It doesn’t get as crispy as pan-fried French toast, and stays softer all the way around.

Overnight Gingerbread French Toast Breakfast Bake - Easy, make-ahead French toast that's perfect for winter weekends or Christmas morning! Easy, no-flipping-required recipe at averiecooks.com

The warming spices provide so much rich, wintery, cozy flavors, and in conjunction with the dark molasses, this is some seriously flavorful French toast.

And then I flooded it with Ginger Molasses Maple Syrup, adding even more robust gingery-molasses intensity.

Overnight Gingerbread French Toast Breakfast Bake - Easy, make-ahead French toast that's perfect for winter weekends or Christmas morning! Easy, no-flipping-required recipe at averiecooks.com

Sniff. I’m going to miss blogging about molasses and ginger recipes.

Overnight Gingerbread French Toast Breakfast Bake - Easy, make-ahead French toast that's perfect for winter weekends or Christmas morning! Easy, no-flipping-required recipe at averiecooks.com

Overnight Gingerbread French Toast Breakfast Bake - Easy, make-ahead French toast that's perfect for winter weekends or Christmas morning! Easy, no-flipping-required recipe at averiecooks.com

Print Recipe

Overnight Gingerbread French Toast Breakfast Bake

This make-ahead French toast is so easy and perfect for brunches, holidays, special events, or just because. Arrange the bread in the pan, make the easy whisk-together marinade, pour it over, and refrigerate until you're ready to bake. Recipe can be assembled up to 24 hours in advance before baking. Because bread dryness levels vary, baking times will vary widely based on how much or little of the marinade your bread soaked up. The French toast is firm and chewy on the outside, with a soft, tender, and squishy interior. It stays softer overall than pan-fried French toast. The warming spices provide so much rich, wintery, cozy flavors, and in conjunction with the dark molasses, it's some seriously flavorful French toast.

Yield: one 8-by-8-inch pan, about 6 very hearty portions

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: about 30 minutes

Total Time: 6 to 24 hours, for marinating

Ingredients:

1 long loaf French bread, sliced about 3/4-inch thick, about 24 slices (I used fresh, but 1 or 2-day old is fine)
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted (half of 1 stick)
3 large eggs
1/2 cup milk (optionally use 3/4 cup if your bread is old or very crusty/hard)
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup light, medium, or dark molasses (not blackstrap, too bitter)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon allspice
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg, or to taste
1/2 to 1 teaspoon ground cloves, or to taste
pinch salt, optional and to taste
confectioners' sugar for dusting, optional
Ginger Molasses Maple Syrup or regular maple syrup , for serving

Directions:

  1. Line an 8-by-9-inch pan with aluminum foil, spray with cooking spray.
  2. Add the sliced bread in 3 rows of about 8 slices per row, slightly overlapping. It will be a tight fit to get 3 rows in when bread is dry, but softens as it marinates and you can rearrange it with ease, if necessary, after time has passed; set pan aside.
  3. In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 1 minute (or use browned butter). Allow the butter to cool momentarily so you don't scramble the eggs or curdle the milk.
  4. Add the next 10 ingredients, through optional salt, and whisk to combine. I used the full amount of spices listed, but if you're more sensitive to spices, reduce them to taste, possibly halving all amounts.
  5. Slowly and evenly pour mixture over the bread, gently separating the slices with your fingers, and pour marinade between the slices. It will seem like a lot and it is, but most soaks in overnight.
  6. Cover pan with foil to prevent fridge smells, and place in fridge for at least 4 hours, but overnight (or up to 24 hours) is better.
  7. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350F and remove pan from fridge while oven preheats.
  8. The next morning, carefully spoon any pooled liquid at the bottom of the pan over the top of the bread, redistributing it and re-drenching any white patches or dry looking places.
  9. Bake for about 20 to 35 minutes, or until done. Baking times will vary greatly based on how much liquid did or didn't soak into your bread, how firm or soft bread was to begin with, personal preference for doneness, oven and climate variances, etc. I baked for 28 minutes in my very hot-running oven; my bread was very soft and fresh, and it was very juicy before baking. I didn't need to, but if you feel like your bread is crisping up or browning a bit too quickly, tent with a sheet of foil laid over the top.
  10. Optionally, dust with confectioners' sugar, and serve with butter and syrup, or your favorite French toast toppings, i.e. fruit or jam. French toast is best fresh, but extra will keep airtight for up to 4 days in the fridge. Reheat gently in the micro before serving.

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What’s the best gingerbread or molasses thing you’ve eaten this winter?

73 comments

  1. Wow Averie, it looks luxurious! It would be such a treat for Christmas morning and being able to pre-make it the night before is such a bonus!

    • If you have an event or for Xmas morning when you don’t want to fuss with something, this is the type of thing you want to make. You can prep it, pull the pan out of the fridge and put it in the oven with zero thought! The opposite of making something like omelets or pancakes!

  2. This is perfect for Christmas morning! So easy in the midst of the present opening fun.

  3. I love your marinade for this!! I have made overnight French toast before, but I don’t remember spicing it up any, so yours looks so much more interesting. Such a time saver too–it would be easy to make this for a crowd….and my carnivorous husband would like this with Canadian bacon!

    • I loved how easy this was Paula – no babysitting, flipping, etc. If you have an event, this is the type of thing you want to make. You can prep it, pull the pan out of the fridge and put it in the oven with zero thought! The opposite of making something like omelets or pancakes!

  4. wow the french toast looks soooooo delicious! It’s Saturday morning and I have not had breakfast right now, wishing I saw this recipe last night! :(

  5. You can post gingerbready recipes year round as far as I’m concerned–love it! Your gingerbread pancake recipe came in very handy for me yesterday–school was cancelled due to weather (you grew up in the midwest–you remember how it is!) and I had very disappointed kids (missing a field trip and a class party). Since I’m a believer in food fixing problems, I printed off your recipe and it was a fun treat on a disappointing morning (it works well with white whole wheat flour in case you’ve ever wondered). We’ll be making that again! :)

    • Oh thanks for letting me know white WW works well with the pancakes. And so sorry about the class cancellation…gah! My daughter has a weekly park day at her school in San Diego and sometimes it rains or is just icky out and they can’t go (rare but it happens) but there’s lots of tears and drama when that happens. Sorry for your kids but sounds like you made it up to them :)

  6. Ahhhh, this french toast is just over the top decadent. Gorgeous pictures!
    Pinned

  7. Oh my goodness, Averie, this looks absolutely diviiiiine. I was just telling my mom how we needed some sort of french toast bake on Christmas morning and I think this is a winner with a capital “W.” Delicious! Hope you’re enjoying the lovely sunshine in Aruba!

  8. You always have such fun french toast recipes! This one looks killer!

  9. I am so going to miss molasses. Although, if I have to make my gingerbread book recipe ONE MORE TIME (so many fails) I might revolt against the good stuff. :)

    LOVE this overnight french toast. Who wants to cook in the morning??? Not me!

    • Oh girl book re-makes are the WORST. You can’t even blog about the hell you went through in getting there :) Thanks for pinning! And just last nite I was staring at your GB Fudge and totally craving it!

  10. Lovvve this! I have yet to try a french toast bake but french toast is one of my all-time favourite breakfasts and I bet my family would love this. Those birds-eye shots – awesome!

  11. omg looks amazing! Happy holidays! xoxoxooxox

  12. Your french toast is so beautiful, and just perfect for Christmas morning breakfast since it can be prepared in advance!

  13. I love french toast bakes, Averie! My mom makes a fantastic apple/cranberry one this time of year. I need to swipe her recipe, that’s for sure. Gingerbread – one of my favorite flavors, no matter what time of year. I’m right there with you. Nothing would stop me from eating this in July with a huge smile on my face. And that syrup? Swoon. I want it on everything I bake.

    • I love that you love gingerbread/molasses/ginger stuff as much as I do. Seriously I do crave molasses cookies in the summer. Best summer treat ever was when I was writing PB Comfort and I put a PB molasses cookie recipe in it, and I got to eat molasses cookies in June :)

      Your mom’s apple/cran recipe sounds delish!

  14. My mom makes french toast bakes anytime the family gets together. I never partake, but this one….I may have de-glutenize it and try it out on Christmas!

    Beautiful photos, as usual!

    • I was so worried about the photos b/c down here, I just have no idea what’s going to work or not – so thank you! And yes, easy to make this one GF if you have any sort of GF bread that would stand up to it. Or just drink the marinade and skip the bread :) It was that good!

  15. I’m so sad that gingerbread season is just about over :( But I am just in love with this french toast! Perfect weekend breakfast :D

  16. I absolutely love to serve french toast for special occasions. The fact that this can go in the oven while we are brewing coffee and hanging out in front of the fire in our pajamas waiting to open presents is what sells it for me! I love the way this looks and I can just imagine how it is going to smell. This is fantastic – I can make it the night before Christmas morning and stick it in the oven first thing. YES! Can’t wait to try this out. Thanks, Averie!!

  17. Oh my gosh, this looks heavenly! I want pretty much every piece for myself. :) I usually stuff my face with candy on Christmas morning, but this would be so much more of a treat. It would be great all through the winter too!

  18. Ohhh Averie, your overnight french toast looks out of this world! Like you I like to make a breakfast like this at night and in the morning just bake away!! The flavors in your french toast is just perfect! I would just love to wake up to the smell of gingerbread baking in the oven. This is just a beautiful recipe and your pictures are gorgeous!

  19. I love making baked french toast for Christmas morning. This looks so good; I’m going to have to try it :) Beautiful pictures.

  20. Make-ahead breakfasts are the best! I make an eggnog version of this but your gingerbread one is a million times better!

  21. I love make-ahead breakfast dishes, especially for a holiday when we have overnight guests wedged into our tiny bungalow – perfect for Christmas morning! Enjoy sunny Aruba…

  22. I’m so behind, I haven’t made anything with pumpkin OR gingerbread yet. Yikes! I try to convince myself to make more ‘ambitious’ dishes when the whole family is together, but this is such a great (and beautiful!) solution. Thanks for never failing to disappoint :)

  23. Oh how I wish I had seen this recipe before just now, Averie! I would have made this for breakfast this morning. We’ll be out of town Christmas morning but I may just have to make this for breakfast next weekend. It looks so good that I don’t mind making it after the holiday is over. Thanks for the recipe. Have a wonderful day!

  24. Dayyyyum!! Gurrrl, this is gorgeous! I loooove all your holiday recipes… I think you should keep ’em coming! :-D
    Happy Holidays & Merry Christmas to you and to yours!! xo

  25. My mouth is watering, Averie. This is one amazing breakfast. Pinned.

  26. I never knew you could make French toast that far in advance. Love the idea! And these flavors sound sooooo good.

  27. Oh Averie, this looks so, so delicious! I adore French toast but I can never be bothered when I wake up in the morning. This overnight version is perfect to just pop in the oven before beginning prep for the Christmas day feast! Definitely going to try this. Thanks for the beautiful inspiration… hope that you and your family have a blessed and beautiful Christmas Averie!!! xx

  28. Good grief lady, this looks amazing!! I’m looking for a make ahead for Christmas morning and this might be it :)

  29. This French toast bake looks amazing and so flavorful!

  30. Do you think there could be a sub for the molasses? Or it could be left out and still have good flavor?

    • Hi Justine! Great to hear from you. Honestly, it will be hard to get that ‘gingerbread’ flavor without the molasses. You can leave it out and the bread will still have a nice flavor, just not gingerbread-ish.

  31. PERFECT Christmas morning breakfast!!!!!!!!!!!!

  32. WooHoo! Another Fab. Recipe from you. This is going to be for breakfast tomorrow morning. Can hardly wait! Merry Christmas!

  33. I love all the warming spices in this bake, such a treat to wake up to!

  34. This french toast is mouth watering! I am dying to get a few slices on my plate :)

  35. Oh my!! YUM!!! This looks like the perfect Christmas breakfast recipe!! (OR anytime recipe!) Thanks!

  36. Perfect. Love. Pinned!!

  37. Can this marinate for 48hrs or would that be too risky?

  38. I wanted to let you know that I included your recipe in a blog post today. Check it out here: http://sweetsugarblossoms.blogspot.com/2014/11/french-toast-round-up.html
    Thanks for sharing! =)

  39. I made this today for a special birthday breakfast and it turned out fantastic. Your comments were so helpful- I like mine a little bit dryer, so I bought day-old bread. Soaked it in all those delicious spices all night and then mid-way through cooking, I just sort of lazily flipped the slices over so that both sides would be a little dry by the end. Perfection. It’s so delicious and warm. I also made the syrup, so I’m trying not to lick the plate clean. (I probably won’t be able to resist). Thank you!

    • So glad you loved this and are trying not to lick the plate clean between the French toast and syrup! And great job on getting the day-old and then flipping as best you could to get the results you were going for!

  40. This looks amazing!~ Wanting to make it for more people, though…how could I adjust the recipe for a 9×13 pan? I’m pretty much the worst when it comes to fractions… :)

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