I marvel at the people who have loaves of bread just sitting around to use in those wonderful recipes that call for “12 cups of French bread cubes.” Who has this? Certainly not me! Why is it assumed that people would just happen to have this much bread just waiting to be used up?
When I decide to make a recipe that calls for “leftover bread” or let’s face it here, “bread,” it has to go on the shopping list. Bread doesn’t just magically appear out of nowhere in our house. Each loaf is carefully chosen for a specific purpose and if for some unforeseen reason there ends up being leftovers, there is never enough to do much more than make bread crumbs and throw them in the freezer.
This is one reason I typically end up at some form of grocery-type market/store at least three or four times a week. Yes there was a wonderful year or so in my life-time where I actually planned out my menus weeks, even a month in advance, got all the shopping done, and just leisurely prepared my meals without incident, but that was when I lived in Oz. Back here in Michigan (or Kansas if you prefer), planning a menu for a week, let alone a month, is a tremendous amount of work and honestly far more stressful than winging it on occasion. Plus, where’s your sense of adventure when everything’s all written in stone and all.
I do my best planning a day or two in advance at most. I might pull out enough meat from the freezer for four meals at the beginning of the week, but when I do this I feel pressured unless I actually have a meal in mind. Sure hamburger can be used in countless dishes, but the minute I take it out of the freezer without a plan, it becomes the sword of Damocles hanging perilously over my head.
Knowing all this, I try to not take for granted that any ingredient is actually perched on a shelf in the pantry just waiting to be used. Obviously this is the case with many ingredients, but when I take on a recipe, that recipe goes with me to the pantry and every ingredient is checked off or put on the shopping list right then and there. There is nothing worse than getting it in my head that I am going to make something and not have everything I need.
When I decided to shake up the French Toast scene in our house and make muffins instead of the traditional slices, you can be sure French bread was at the top of my shopping list. Again, it’s not like I just have it sitting in the pantry or want to whip up a loaf. Yeah, mornings aren’t stressful enough without having to put “Make French bread” at the top of my list of things to get done before 6 a.m.
What I like about making this particular twist on French Toast is that it doesn’t necessarily have to sit overnight. So many of the “French Toast Casseroles” require you to prepare the casserole the night before and let it sit in the fridge until morning. Come 6:30 p.m. when typically the dishes are done and I’ve closed the kitchen for the day, I am in no mood to make another mess and start cooking all over again. Being that I am usually up at least a couple of hours before Hubby on any given day, and at least that many hours before the kids on the weekends, the two-hour refrigeration period is perfect.
Don’t let any preconceived notions of soggy, sandwich bread French toast, sway you from trying this recipe. The cinnamon streusel topping makes this definitely “company-worthy” and add-on to that the cream cheese glaze and you’ve got a muffin in the bakery-style category.
The only trouble I have with this recipe is where to classify it. Should I file it under French Toast, where I have at least six different types I make to keep the family from getting bored, or should I consider this a muffin and lump it in somewhere between Concord Grape Muffins and Mandarin Orange Muffins?
Decisions, decisions. Well, at this point I haven’t quite decided, I’m just glad I have yet another great recipe for breakfast, and for this I am — Simply Grateful.
French Toast Muffins w/Cream Cheese Icing
- 1 Loaf French Bread, cut into 1/2″ cubes (12 cups)
- 2 Cups Milk
- 1/2 Cup Heavy Cream
- 6 Large Eggs
- 1/2 Cup Sugar
- 1 Tbsp. Vanilla Extract
- 1 tsp. Cinnamon
Cinnamon Streusel Topping:
- 1/4 Cup Cold Butter, Shredded
- 1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
- 1/4 Cup Flour
- 1/8 tsp. Cinnamon
- Pinch of Salt
Cream Cheese Icing:
- 6 oz. Cream Cheese, softened
- 1 Cup Powdered Sugar, sifted
- 1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
- 2 Tbsp. Milk, or more for desired consistency
- Whisk milks, eggs, sugar, vanilla and cinnamon together.
- Grease 12 muffin tins.
- Place 1 cup of bread cubes in each muffin cup.
- Pour egg and milk mixture evenly over each muffin tin, pressing down on bread cubes until they start to absorb the liquid.
- Cover the muffin tin with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator for 2 hours or overnight.
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350.
- Make streusel topping: Combine all ingredients with hands or pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly.
- Remove muffins from refrigerator and sprinkle evenly with streusel topping.
- Bake 25 minutes or until tops are golden brown.
- Make cream cheese glaze: Beat cream cheese until light and fluffy. Add powdered sugar and vanilla and mix until smooth. Whisk in milk until desired consistency.
- When muffins are done, allow to cool 5 minutes before removing from pan.
- Top with cream cheese glaze.
- Serve as is or with maple syrup.
If you don’t want to prepare the muffin tins before refrigerating, the egg/milk mixture and bread cubes can be combined in a large bowl, covered with plastic wrap and then put in the refrigerator. Before baking, separate the soaked bread cubes into the muffin tins and continue as directed.
Recipe by: Tilly Frueh, Simply Grateful Cooking at https://simplygratefulcooking.wordpress.com/ – 2017