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

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.

Did you make this recipe?

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.
Only Eats

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80 comments on “Overnight Gingerbread French Toast Breakfast Bake”

  1. 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!

  2. 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

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

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

  5. 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

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

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

  8. 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.

  9. PERFECT Christmas morning breakfast!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

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

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

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

  14. Perfect. Love. Pinned!!

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

  16. 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! =)

  17. 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!

  18. 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… :)

  19. this look heavenly but i’m concerned the bread will get soggy and start sticking together? how can i prevent that?

  20. My mouth is watering… Also my husband’s and sister’s who I sent this to! I will be making this Christmas morning. My best friend moved half the country away this year, but her and her husband are staying with us while they spend Christmas back home. They are going to be in heaven! Thanks for sharing :)

  21. So here I am with a comment 5 years after this recipe was posted, but I was looking for a overnight French toast recipe for a brunch I was hosting, and found this and couldn’t wait to try it. It does taste wonderful, but making it was a challenge, and I don’t know how this wasn’t addressed in the recipe itself: when you add molasses to milk that isn’t boiling, the milk curdles. I’d let the melted butter cool, then added the eggs and milk, and then added the molasses and WHAM: gooey flakes of a waxy looking substance start floating extremely unattractively in the mixture. I thought something was wrong with the milk so I threw the whole batch out and started again, using a new container of milk this time. Same thing happened, and it’s gross. I was bewildered. But since it didn’t smell bad, I thought I’d try something: I put it in batches into my Nutribullet, and that emulsified everything enough to the point where I could indeed pour it over the bread. And it baked nicely – turned out like a gingerbread cinnamon roll – but I can’t make this again as written – that curdle thing is real. I think you’d have to boil the milk and then add the molasses, and then add melted butter, let it cool, and add eggs?? Does anyone have any experience with this? Did NO ONE experience the molasses/milk curdling thing?!!! It tasted great so I’d give it 5 stars, but the preparation was a nightmare and not something I care to repeat without modifications. Guidance appreciated.

    • I just posted this recipe on Friday and I loved it and there is no chance of anything curdling. https://www.averiecooks.com/overnight-syrup-on-the-bottom-french-toast/

      That said, I did not experience what you are talking about at all so I am not sure what to say. If you read in step 3 I specifically wrote, “Allow the butter to cool momentarily so you don’t scramble the eggs or curdle the milk.” Perhaps you didn’t wait long enough.

      I’m glad the French toast tasted great.

      • Hi Averie. Thank you so much for responding. The problem was not the butter cooling. I let it cool for a long time and then added the milk and eggs – they were fine, and did not curdle. The mixture was nice and smooth and creamy. The problem was with the molasses. They were the next thing I added, and immediately the butter/milk/eggs mixture curdled.

        So as I mentioned earlier, I threw it all out and started again, this time with a new container of milk, just in case there was something wrong with the first container. Same thing happened, but I solved the problem by putting it all in the Nutribullet and giving that a good long spin.

        I started suspecting the problem was the molasses – like maybe I had a bad batch of those. So I did an experiment and melted butter, let it cool, added eggs and milk, and then maple syrup – once again, curdling, but little less severe. So maple syrup causes this issue too.

        I have since done a ton of research looking for the answer to this weird mystery (I’m a pretty decent and experienced cook, and have never experienced anything like this), and found out that molasses has a protein that can indeed make milk curdle, but everyone who mentions this says that the curdling would happen when you’re boiling the milk and adding molasses. That wasn’t the case here, since I added the molasses to a cooled mixture. I am still bewildered, but here’s a link that offers some explanation: http://articles.latimes.com/2001/nov/28/food/fo-9226.

        Honestly the french toast ended up delicious and everyone raved about it, but getting the liquid mixture to actually mix together was quite challenging for me. I’d love to make this again, and I’m trying to figure out a process that would work more easily. Maybe I should mix the molasses with the butter first, and then add the eggs and milk? That will be my next experiment, I think.

        Merry Christmas to you and thank you again for responding.

      • Wow thank you for putting so much time and energy into thinking this through and for researching it and for trying some cooking science type experiments. I originally made this recipe when I was on vacation on a Caribbean island. I did not have any fancy tools, I did not have any fancy ingredients, I simply bought what was available to me at the local supermarket because I wanted to make something nice for my family for a Christmas morning treat. Maybe the ingredients that I used there are different than what we would have in the US, I’m not sure, but I never remember having any major issues with this and no one who’s ever made the recipe and commented on it has ever brought this up. I have no doubt that what you’re saying is true, I just haven’t experienced it.

        At any rate, if you’re looking for a full where I just don’t think you’re going to have this happen, Try the recipe that I linked to previously in the comment, the syrup on the bottom overnight French toast. It’s really really good. If you’re still looking for molasses flavor, you could probably just drizzle a light coating of molasses on the bottom of your pan, or mix it in once you’ve already made the syrup.

        Keep me posted if you try any more variations of things.

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