A few weeks ago, as I was looking through my old recipe notes, I came across a recipe that I haven’t made for some time. Lately, my bread machine has been working double time to provide lots of loaves for school lunches. In the last two weeks, I’ve probably made this recipe 3 or 4 times. It makes a sweet, light, loaf that slices easily for peanut butter and jelly sandwiches or for a hearty slice of toast. By the end of the week, when the loaf is nearly finished, I cube the end of the bread up to be used in a Saturday morning cinnamon toast casserole so that nothing is wasted.
Bread Machine Cinnamon Raisin Bread
1 cup water
2 tablespoons Butter or Margarine, softened
3 cups Bread Flour
3 tablespoons Sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons Salt
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2 1/2 teaspoons Bread Machine Yeast
1/2 cup Raisins
Place all ingredients, except raisins, in bread machine pan in the order recommended by the manufacturer. For best results, raisins can be added during the first kneading cycle so that the become well incorporated in the dough. This should be about half-way through the cycle.
Select Basic/Light cycle on the bread machine. When finished baking, remove from pan and cool on wire rack.
Not far from our home, there is a Pepperidge Farm Outlet that we often visit when going to a nearby mall. One of the items I usually stock up on is the cinnamon raisin bread that is always marked down to a reasonable price. I bring the loaves home and tuck them in the freezer for lots of different recipes.
This is a tasty casserole that takes minutes to put together. It’s such a treat to put a big pan of French toast in the oven rather than standing in front of the stovetop making slices in small batches. This makes for more time to enjoy early morning conversation with the family while savoring the awesome combination of cinnamon, raisin, pecans and maple syrup with a piping hot cup of coffee. I often make this the night before serving so that when I wake up there is no prep time and the casserole is ready when the rest of the crew wakes up.
Cinnamon Raisin Baked French Toast Casserole
5 cups cinnamon raisin bread, cubed
3 cups milk
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 tablespoons softened butter, cut into cubes
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray with cooking spray a 13×9″ baking pan. Pour bread cubes into the prepared pan. Beat milk, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla and almond extract together in a bowl until evenly mixed; pour mixture over bread cubes. Set aside for bread to absorb liquid, about 10-15 minutes. Sprinkle with cinnamon and pecans. Evenly arrange butter cubes on top of casserole. Bake until golden, about 50 to 55 minutes.