Drunken French Toast Clouds

On a whim, my brother bought some challah bread while we were at the store and foolishly said aloud, "maybe I'll make french toast." Friday night I asked about the french toast. Saturday morning I asked about the french toast. Sunday morning I offered to make eggs and bacon- if he made french toast.

Monday night, I find half a loaf of challah bread in my house. It was not in the form of french toast. He had dropped it off because there was no way he could consume an entire loaf on his own. My mom said she would make me french toast-- if I went into work late to come get it. Thanks mom.

I took it upon myself to do something with the challah bread. Smitten had this super easy recipe that fit the bill perfectly- it could be prepped in 10 minutes, sit over night, and cook in the morning. After dance practice, I don't want to think. I just want to shower and get to bed. Anything this yummy and easy is a God send. Roll out of bed, shove it in the oven while I get ready for work.

This is not your typical french toast. It has a consistency like bread pudding. When it's done baking, you cut it into squares- they don't flip off the griddle. Make sure you pack your layers nice and cozy. The baileys adds a little gentle, 'good morning sunshine!' Plus, the challah is so cute! It looks like clouds. I didn't have a ton of bread to work with so I cut it back to 2 eggs and 2 cups of milk. It's pretty flexible!

Alternative: so you're determined to make traditional french toast, huh? Cut back to one cup of milk. Keep everything else the same. Whisk together the milk, eggs, baileys, sugar, and salt. Pour mixture into a pan and set aside. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Dip bread into mixture, allow to soak for 30 seconds on each side, and then remove to a cooling rack and allow to sit for minute or two. Over medium-low heat, melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a nonstick flat pan. Cook the bread until golden brown, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove from pan and place on rack in oven for 5 minutes.

1 loaf Challah bread in 1-inch slices (preferably a day old stale- it absorbs better)
3 cups milk (whole milk, skim, half and half- whatever)
3 eggs
3 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
Flavorings-- one tablespoon per cup of milk (so I used 2 tablespoons Bailey’s since I used 2 cups of milk; plus a teaspoon of almond extract). You can use complimentary booze or extract, even a little citrus zest or chopped nuts!

Generously grease a 9×13-inch baking dish with butter. It doesn't have to be 9x13, just make sure your two layers fit.

Arrange bread in two tightly-packed layers in the pan. Cut one slice into smaller pieces to fill in gaps, especially when using braided Challah.

Whisk milk, eggs, sugar, salt and booze or flavorings and pour over the bread.

Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

Wrap tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. The bread will absorb the milk custard. It there is too much custard left in the morning, drain a little.

Bake at 425 for 30 minutes, or until puffed and golden. Cover with aluminium foil to avoid burn. If you find it's still too spongy for your taste, a quick flip on the griddle can calm your nerves.

Cut into generous squares and serve.