For a Tuesday treat or upcoming brunch, make this Baked Cinnamon Crunch French Toast. Made with a vanilla egg custard, each piece is stuffed with whipped cream cheese and finished with a cinnamon crunch topping. It’s that cinni “crunch” topping, that gets everyone, it really is delicious. Every piece of toast is soft, buttery, and custardy inside, yet caramelized around the edges…almost like a creme brûlée. Enjoy warm with just a little butter. Beyond delicious!
I haven’t been that into baking lately. Ever since Christmas I’ve been baking a lot less. Which I guess makes sense since we did so much baking in December.
What I have been into, is baking more wholesome sweets. And while it’s a little tricky at times, I love the challenge it brings. It’s something new and fun for me!
All that said, we had lots of snow this past weekend. So just like that, I was left wanting to bake up something sweet for a nice breakfast/brunch. Cozy snow days are always best for baking.
And while I know Easter may not be until late in April, there’s nothing wrong with being prepared and planning ahead!
I’ve said this many times before, but I grew up eating the Panera bread cinnamon crunch bagels. They were always my favorite with a little butter smear on top. So freaking good, right?
I’ve created a few recipes with the cinnamon crunch topping in previous years, but never a french toast. So when the idea came to me, I knew it would be good. A custardy french toast with that delicious cinni-crunch topping might even be better than the bagels.
I had to make it.
Start with the cream cheese. First, I should mention that if you’d prefer, you can skip the cream cheese altogether. But I do think it makes this french toast really delicious, so personally, I wouldn’t.
You’ll want to whip the cream cheese with some whipping cream until it’s light and airy. Then take your thick pieces of challah (or brioche) bread and use a knife to make a small pocket in the middle of each piece. Stick the cream cheese into the pockets.
From here, everything is pretty straightforward. The custard is a simple mix of eggs, milk, and vanilla. Dip each piece of bread into the custard, then arrange in the baking dish. Sprinkle over some cinnamon sugar.
Once the french toast has been assembled, place it in the fridge for thirty minutes, or up to overnight. This is great if you want to have breakfast all prepped and ready for baking in the morning!
Before baking, make the cinnamon crunch topping. It’s just brown sugar, mixed with cinnamon, flour, and butter. It clumps up as it’s mixed, so you can easily sprinkle it over the french toast before baking.
As the french toast bakes, the custard sets, the cream cheese becomes warm and even creamier, and the topping begins to caramelize becoming crunchy.
Everything together is delicious, so DELICIOUS you guys!
This is by far the sweetest treat I’ve baked up since the holidays, but wow, it’s good. And it’s really great for special mornings and holidays.
Obviously serve the french toast warm. It doesn’t need any toppings, but a little sliver of butter is always welcome. And if you have extra whipped cream cheese (you should), add a dollop of that. YUM.
But be sure to keep this recipe in mind to liven up your weekends ahead. Especially Easter weekend, this will be perfect!
Looking for other easy breakfast dishes?? Here are my favorites:
Lastly, if you make this Baked Cinnamon Crunch French Toast, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Baked Cinnamon Crunch French Toast
Calories Per Serving: 321 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
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- 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 loaf challah bread, sliced into 1-inch thick slices
- 8 large eggs, beaten
- 2 1/2 cups whole milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 cup, plus 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons flour
- 2 tablespoon salted butter, melted
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- 1. Grease a 9×13 inch-baking dish with butter. In a bowl, mix 1/4 cup brown sugar and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Sprinkle half the cinnamon sugar over the bottom of the baking dish. 2. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, whip the cream cheese 1 minute. Add the whipped cream and vanilla and gradually increase the speed to high. Whip until fluffy, 1-2 minutes. 3. Grab the bread and make a 1-inch slit at the top, move your knife to create space in the bread, being careful not to poke through to the other side. Spread the inside of the bread with cream cheese, press to enclose (see above photo). You will not need all the cream cheese, save the rest for serving. 4. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, and salt. Submerge each piece of bread into the egg mix, allowing the bread to sit at least a minute to soak up the eggs. Arrange the bread in the baking dish. Pour the remaining egg mix over the bread slices. Then sprinkle over the remaining cinnamon sugar. Cover and place in the fridge 30 minutes or overnight. 5. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 375° F. In a bowl, mix 1/3 cup brown sugar, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon, the flour, and butter. Arrange over the bread slices. 6. Cover and bake 25 minutes, remove the foil and bake another 20-25 minutes or until the French toast is deeply golden.7. Serve the french toast warm, topped with any additional whipped cream. Enjoy!