Apple Cinnamon Pecan French Toast Bake 4

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I can hardly believe Thanksgiving Day is tomorrow. I’m excited to prepare some good food and spend some quality time with my hubby, my family, and all the kiddos. What plans to do you have for the big day?! We’re going to start our morning right by having this incredible Apple Cinnamon Pecan French Toast Bake, so I’ll have to spend some time this evening preparing. I love that I can make it tonight and just wake up and pop it in the oven. Easy and stress-free!

Apple Cinnamon Pecan French Toast Bake l Love.Bake.Read

I made this bake a few weeks ago, so we could “test” it out and make sure it was the perfect dish for Thanksgiving breakfast. Good excuse, right? I discovered a few years ago that the apple pie filling from Annie Eats’ Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie makes a killer bottom layer for french toast bakes. Apples coated in butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon, and simmered to perfection. I mean, come on. The apples are ooey-gooey and tender as can be. I could just eat the apples and be completely happy. Think fried apples from Cracker Barrel—tell me you’ve had them.

Apple Layer l Apple Cinnamon Pecan French Toast Bake l Love.Bake.Read

Okay, so that was just the bottom layer. Next up, top those apples with cubes of challah bread. Challah back, y’all! Sorry, I just had to do that. Anyway, if you’ve never had challah bread, you’re completely missing out on the best.bread.ever. Challah bread is a Jewish bread, and it just so happens that Steve and I first came across this bread while living in a predominately Jewish neighborhood in Brooklyn. Lucky discovery! Now, we’re able to buy it at Safeway in Maryland, which is fabulous. In fact, we had to bring some with us here to Michigan because we’ve yet to find a store that carries it here in our small hometown. I didn’t want to settle for a French or Italian loaf, so I came prepared! Challah bread is just more flavorful, plain and simple.

Challah Bread Loaf l Apple Cinnamon Pecan French Toast Bake l Love.Bake.Read

For the next step, you can really use any milk, or any combination of milks, to make the liquid mixture. I always call it a custard, but I suppose it’s really not. This time around, I used some sweetened and unsweetened almond milk, 1% milk, and some half & half. I just used whatever we had on hand, and this just happened to be it. I sweetened the milk up a bit with some brown sugar for a deeper flavor than just plain white sugar. Then I jazzed it up with some cinnamon and vanilla extract. Nothing extravagant—it’s quite simple, in fact. What I’ve found over the years is that you should use 1 egg for every half cup of milk, so I use 6 eggs for 3 cups of milk. Turns out perfect every time!

Apple Cinnamon Pecan French Toast Bake l Love.Bake.Read

Now for the topping. I used almost the exact same streusel that I used on my Baked Pumpkin French Toastwith Cinnamon-Pecan Streusel because it was AMAZING! This time around I used a ½ cup fewer pecans though, because I wanted the apples and pecans to complement one another, instead of one or the other being the main star. This streusel topping tastes just like those candied almonds you can get at the mall, except its made with pecans instead of almonds. Fabulously delicious for sure!

Apple Cinnamon Pecan French Toast Bake l Love.Bake.Read

We recently bought some maple syrup at Aldi, so we used that instead of my homemade cinnamon syrup. Now, don’t get me wrong, the maple syrup was yummy, but a bit mellow for our liking. Tomorrow, we’ll definitely use my homemade syrup—it’s just thicker, sweeter, and all sorts of cinnamon-y. Basically, it’s perfect.

I should warn you that this french toast bake is not for the faint of heart. It’s sweet, SwEeT, SWEET! But really, you’re going to LOVE it. Ooey gooey brown sugar-cinnamon apples, sweet little challah bread cubes, cinnamon-y “custard” filling, crunchy candied pecans…all topped with the most incredible syrup. Helllloooo! Need I say more?!

Apple Cinnamon Pecan French Toast Bake l Love.Bake.Read

Well yes, maybe a few more things. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours! I hope you have a lovely Thanksgiving with everyone that means the most to you, and I hope you stuff your face with lots of good food. That’s exactly what I’ll be doing!

Also, I encourage you to take a moment to think about what you’re most thankful for this holiday season. Sometimes life can be so busy that we forget to take that moment to just breathe and realize we really do have a lot to be thankful for. So, what am I thankful for? I’m thankful for my sweet hubby, Steve—this will be our first Thanksgiving as a MARRIED couple. Hallelujah! I’m thrilled beyond belief! I’m also thankful that Steve and I have been fortunate enough (and disciplined enough!) to have nearly paid off our student loan debt—just a few more months to go. I’m thankful that I get to visit my hometown so often to spend time with family and friends. There’s nothing quite like the hugs, kisses, and snuggles, from my nieces and nephews.

Have a good one!

Apple Cinnamon Pecan French Toast Bake

Yields 6-8 servings (Depends on how big of a slice you each want!)


For the apples

  • 5 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 7 apples (I used gala)—peeled, cored, and sliced thin

For the liquid mixture

  • non-stick spray
  • 1 loaf challah bread—cut or torn into 1-inch pieces
  • 3 cups of milk (I used 1½ cups sweetened and ½ cup unsweetened almond milk, ½ cup milk, ½ cup half & half)
  • 6 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. salt

For the streusel (make before baking)

  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 1½ tsp. cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 cups pecans—chopped
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter—melted

For the cinnamon syrup (make just before serving)

  • 1/3 cup water
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon


For the apples

Spray a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Set aside.

To a large skillet set over medium heat, add the butter and let it melt. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt, and whisk to combine. Let cook for 1 minute, whisking often. Add the sliced apples and stir to ensure every apple slice is coated. Turn the heat to medium-high, cover the skillet with a lid, and let cook, stirring often, until the liquid has thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for about 5 minutes.

Pour the apples into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly so that the apples cover the entire bottom of the dish. Set aside and let cool completely.

Evenly spread the challah bread cubes in the baking dish overtop of the apples. Set aside.

For the liquid mixture

To a large bowl, add the milk, eggs, vanilla extract, brown sugar, cinnamon, and the salt, and whisk until well combined.

Evenly pour the milk mixture over the challah bread in the baking dish. Note: I use a 1-cup measuring cup to pour the mixture on a little at a time to ensure it is evenly disbursed.

Cover the dish with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

For the cinnamon-pecan streusel (make before baking)

To a medium-sized bowl, add the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and the salt, and whisk to combine. Stir in the chopped pecans. Pour in the melted butter, and using a metal spoon, or your fingers, gently mix until the butter is completely incorporated. The entire mixture should be moistened with the butter (read: no dry spots). Set aside until ready to use.

To bake the french toast

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the french toast from the fridge and let it sit on the counter while the oven heats up.

Bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, evenly distribute the streusel overtop of the entire dish of french toast. Return to oven and bake for 55 minutes, or until baked through. Remove from oven and let cool for 10-15 minutes, or until set. Note: I covered the dish for the last 10 minutes to prevent the streusel from browning too much.

For the cinnamon syrup (make just before serving)

Heat the water in a small pot set over medium heat. Once boiling, add the brown sugar and cinnamon, and quickly whisk until the sugar is dissolved, about 30 seconds (do not stop whisking!). Immediately remove from heat and set aside.

Enjoy a warm slice drizzled with a generous amount of homemade cinnamon syrup!


Apple layer from Annie’s Eats

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