As Bed & Breakfast owners, we quite often get asked for the recipes to some of our most popular dishes. Today, we’re proud to present to you one of our fan favorites… our signature Caramel French Toast Casserole. Simple ingredients, combined with some amazing local flavors (that you can substitute based on wherever you’re located and what you’re able to procure) make for a hearty, soul-warming breakfast that has had some guests suggesting we change our name from the Inn at Woodhaven to the Inn at Woodheaven. So grab a spoon and prepare to swoon!
A Recipe Baked in Tradition
Caramel French Toast Casserole has been a staple here at the Inn at Woodhaven for three decades, and as you will soon find out, it’s really no wonder why it has never left the menu. It’s the perfect warm and gooey complement to a brisk autumn or winter day. Paired with a hot cup of freshly brewed coffee and a few slices of crispy, salty bacon, our Caramel French Toast Casserole is sure to help get anyone’s morning started with a smile.
While perfectly suited for a tasty treat at any time of year, the holiday season is our personal favorite time to prepare this indulgent classic. Make it as part of a hearty breakfast on Thanksgiving morning to hold you over until the big feast. Pop a batch in the oven at 9 am after you’ve returned home from 7 exhausting hours of Black Friday shopping for a soul-satisfying reward. Double the quantity for your next holiday brunch with the extended family and find yourself immediately forgiven for any birthdays, anniversaries, or other momentous occasions you may have inadvertently forgotten over the past year. Or make it on a Tuesday because… why the heck not?! Honestly, it’s just delicious and doesn’t require a special occasion to be enjoyed.
Make It Like a Louisville Local
One thing we love to do with all of our recipes is to infuse them with as much local flavor as possible and we are quite fortunate to have some pretty phenomenal local flavors. After all, the majority of our guests (aside from the occasional staycationers) are visiting from elsewhere and want the full Louisville cultural experience. Plus, in a city filled with so many culinary talents, we’d be remiss to NOT include some fantastic Kentucky ingredients.
We start off with our cinnamon bread which comes from the family-owned and operated Wildflour Bakehouse right here in Louisville. It is THE PERFECT bread to use for any
French toast recipe, due largely in part to the glorious combination of both cinnamon spice and cinnamon chips dabbled throughout. Wildflour’s bread also has an ideal balance of heft to support the caramel and egg coating, but with a distinct airiness to keep the dish from becoming too dense. If you’re not in the Louisville or Lexington area, you can order directly from their website at https://www.wildflourbakehouseky.com and have it shipped to you for an extra special treat. Trust us, you won’t regret it.
The other local component that is an absolute MUST in our recipe is Buffalo Trace’s Bourbon Cream. Let’s be honest, is it really a Louisville recipe if it doesn’t include bourbon? We think not. Buffalo Trace prepares this cream using their Kentucky Straight bourbon, and like adding wine to a fine Italian sauce, if you find yourself sipping on some Bourbon Cream on the rocks while your French toast casserole is baking, we won’t judge, in fact, it’s actually an unofficial step in the recipe.
Ready, Set, Bake!
Are you hungry yet? We already started whipping up another batch of this delectable dish as we were writing this blog (to make sure we didn’t skip any important steps and also, because just thinking about it our mouths were watering so much it was making it difficult to type). Friendly warning… this recipe requires PATIENCE! Patience as in it really should be prepped a day in advance and then requires 45 minutes of baking the following day. So sadly, we will keep writing (and wiping our mouths and keyboard) as we wait for this caramelly, bready perfection to take shape. It will be oh so worth it, though.
Caramel French Toast Casserole
1 loaf of Wildflour Bakehouse Cinnamon Bread (or similar)
1 ½ sticks of butter
1 ½ cups light brown sugar
6 TBSP light Karo syrup
9 jumbo eggs
1 ½ cups milk
1 cup Buffalo Trace Bourbon Cream (can substitute additional milk)
2 TBSP vanilla extract
Organic berries and whipped cream for garnish
- Melt the butter, brown sugar, and Karo syrup together in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir it often while bringing it to a boil. Once it reaches the boiling point pour the mixture into a 9×11 casserole dish.
- Layer slices of your chosen bread over the caramel mixture, your bread layer should be about one-inch in depth (if using Wildflour’s bread you will need to put three slices together to get the appropriate depth).
- Mix the eggs, milk, bourbon cream, and vanilla together well and pour it over the bread. Gently lift each slice of bread to make sure that the milk mixture has well coated all the layers.
- Sprinkle the top of your casserole with a dusting of cinnamon and cover the dish with plastic wrap.
- Refrigerate overnight.
- Uncover and bake in a 350-degree oven for about 45 minutes or until slightly puffy and set.
- Serve with a garnish of fresh berries and whipped cream.
- Eat, enjoy, and live happy!
Let Us Do The Baking
If your favorite types of recipes are the ones that someone else prepares for you, then consider booking your next vacation to the Inn at Woodhaven, where we are happy to host you in the comfort of one of our many cozy, themed suites and serve you up a plate (or two) of our delicious Caramel French Toast Casserole. Check availability and book your reservation today.