Cranberry Walnut French Toast Bake

There are those certain recipes you throw together on a whim and hope for the best. This is one of those times. I love french toast bakes because they are easy to whip up and you can make them the night before. I wanted to feature some healthier, cleaner versions of french toast bakes and just decided to wing it with what I had in my house. I used my original higher sugar/fat recipe for my basis to help with ratios on liquids to bread. I wanted to add some texture and flavor to it for the upcoming holiday. We always have a nice breakfast Christmas morning and I usually will make a french toast bake. In the spirit of Christmas I used cranberries and walnuts to add that additional flair I wanted. It turned out way better than I thought it would. It was hearty yet delicate with the sweetness of honey/maple, the sweet tartness of cranberries and the walnuts adding a nice bite. You can easily omit the nuts if it isn’t something you or your family would like.  You can also substitute the walnuts and cranberries for dried blueberries and almonds. Blueberries and almonds remind me of spring/summer, so I am sure I will try that also! Yum!!

Cranberry Walnut French Toast Bake

12 slices of organic wheat bread (I typically use Eureka organic whole wheat)
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup of walnut pieces (if you chop the nuts fine, you may want to use 1/8 cup)
5 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup organic honey
1/4 cup organic maple syrup
1 Tablespoon of cinnamon
2 cups of unsweetened vanilla almond milk

Spray a 9×9 baking dish with nonstick spray.  Tear the 12 pieces of bread up into pieces and place evenly in dish. Sprinkle cranberries and walnuts over bread.  In a large bowl whisk together remaining ingredients of eggs, honey, syrup, cinnamon and almond milk. You may want to heat the honey/syrup in the microwave for a few seconds to make it easier to whisk with other ingredients. Pour mixture evenly over bread, cranberries and nuts. I took a fork at this point and kind of stirred and poked the bread around to allow it to be evenly coated to be absorbed. Refrigerate over night or for 4-6 hours before baking. Preheat oven oven to 350 degrees and bake 35- 40 minutes. Let the bake sit for about 10-15 minutes before cutting and serving. Cut pieces and drizzle with maple syrup or honey when serving (optional).

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