All you do is place this a bread pudding like dish. into the oven in the morning ... straight from the fridge. The fluffy French toast gets toasty during baking, then the perfect smothering of maple syrup when serving takes this dish to a sweet place while still keeping calories in check. The combination of extracts plus the sweet-spice of cinnamon make it almost desserty. The pecans provide a praline-like finish.
- Nonstick cooking spray, for coating baking dish
- One 8-ounce whole wheat baguette, cut into twenty-four 1/4-inch slices
- One 12-ounce can evaporated fat-free milk
- 1 cup reduced-fat (2-percent) milk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon almond extract
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Pinch kosher salt
- 4 large eggs
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
For the French toast: Coat a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Arrange the bread slices on the diagonal in 3 rows in the dish, slightly overlapping the slices.
Whisk together the evaporated milk, milk, vanilla and almond extracts, cinnamon, salt and eggs until well combined. Pour the egg mixture over the bread slices, taking care to evenly coat the bread. Cover with aluminum foil and refrigerate for at least 8 hours, or overnight.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Remove the foil from the baking dish and spoon any remaining egg mixture over the top of the bread pieces to assure they are evenly moistened.
For the topping: Sprinkle the pecans evenly over the bread. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the maple syrup and the cinnamon. Bake until golden, about 40 minutes.
Drizzle with the remaining 1/4 cup maple syrup and serve.