So what does my family eat for breakfast on Christmas morning you ask? Well, we start off with a spinach smoothie, add to that some delicious egg white omelets and nitrate free turkey bacon. Delish, right? Just kidding! I usually make some variation of a french toast casserole and good old fashioned, thick cut Tuscan bacon from my favorite butcher shop ever, The Pork Shop in Queen Creek, Arizona. While I advocate eating healthy all year long, it doesn't do any harm to indulge a bit for special occasions and my Blackberry Cream Cheese French Toast Casserole is just the way to do it! The best part is that it can be made ahead and refrigerated the night before to bake off in the morning while all of Santa's treasures are being discovered. So if you are ready to indulge your family's taste buds with sweet juicy blackberries, creamy cheese, rich vanilla and refreshingly bright essence of orange...take a peak at my recipe below. Merry Christmas!
1 day old baguette cut into 1" chunks
6 large eggs*
1 1/2 cups milk(do not use skim, use 2% or whole)*
3 TBS. melted unsalted butter
1/4 C. sugar +1 tsp.
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. vanilla
Zest of one orange(or not if you don't like it)
1 pint blackberries
6 oz. cream cheese
*occasionally, the baguette will seem a little more dry than usual. You can add an additional egg and 1/2 cup of milk if necessary.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray an 8X11 baking dish with non-stick cooking spray and fill with bread cubes. In a bowl, whisk together milk, eggs, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon and orange zest. Pour over top of the bread and lightly press down to make sure it soaks into all of the pieces. Top with berries and chunks of cream cheese. Pour melted butter over the top and sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Bake uncovered for about an hour or until set. Let rest 10-15 minutes before serving(unless you really don't like who you are eating with!) Serve with warm real maple syrup and enjoy!