The only thing better than Valentine’s Day is GALentine’s Day. If you’re not familiar with the term, it’s the day you celebrate your lovely little lady friends instead of celebrating whatever significant other you have to force yourself to get along with for a whole day. This year, my special gals and I held a very special brunch on Valentine’s Day and we all contributed a little something. I decided to be in charge of this pecan crunch french toast casserole (which is decidedly not a part of #MarinatedResolutions) for a little extra sweetness in the morning. You really won’t believe how easy it is, and it can be prepared the day before so you can just pop it into the oven in the morning and have it ready by the time your coffee’s finished brewing. 

Pecan Crunch French Toast Casserole

Yield 6-8 servings

Prep time 25 minutes

Ingredients:

Half a loaf of challah bread 

6 eggs 

1/2 cup whole milk 

1/2 tsp vanilla extract 

1 tsp cinnamon

Topping

3/4 cup rolled oats

1/4 cup brown sugar 

1 tsp cinnamon 

1/4 cup toasted pecans 

2 Tbs butter

Instructions:

Grab a 9x9 baking dish and coat with butter. The most fun part is the first part. Take your loaf of challah and rip it up into tiny pieces, stuffing the tiny pieces into the baking dish. Be careful not to over stuff. Keep the pieces loosely packed so the egg mixture can spread through it evenly. 

For the egg mixture, crack all the eggs in a medium-sized bowl. Add the milk, vanilla, and cinnamon and whisk together. Pour over the bread directly into the baking dish. Cover and let it set in the fridge overnight. 

So it’s the next day, good morning! Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. as you wait for it to heat up, let’s make the topping!

In a microwave safe bowl, melt the butter. Add the oats, brown sugar, cinnamon, and toasted pecans. Combine so that everything is covered in butter. Take the chilled casserole out of the fridge and sprinkle the oat topping evenly right on top. Cover again with foil and put in the oven for 20 minutes. 

After 20 minutes, take the foil off the top and let cook for another 5-7 minutes, until the topping is golden brown and crispy. Take out of the oven and serve immediately with your favorite maple syrup. But honestly, this casserole does not even need maple syrup. To each his own. 

Happy Brunching!