Goji-Pumpkin Baked French Toast/Bread Pudding
by Ali Seiter
Though these rolls prove superbly moist and light when enjoyed straight out of the oven, I’ve found that they do not keep well and turn rather dry and crumbly after a mere two days of sitting on the countertop.
Faced with half a batch of stale cinnamon rolls but loathe to throw away five baked goodies still harboring delicious breakfast potential and chock-full of high-quality (read: expensive) ingredients, I brainstormed common applications for less-than-fresh bread and recalled the ever-mouthwatering dish of french toast. However, since the rolls’ rather lumpy shape does not lend itself well to the slicing needed for traditionally battered and cooked french toast, I began pursuing the idea of baked french toast, which I had made once before in my pre-vegan days. Inspired by the Pumpkin Baked French Toast featured by Chocolate Covered Katie, I crafted a superfood-infused recipe for moist, creamy, chewy, decadent, and superbly healthy baked french toast, which I’d also consider a less saccharine version of the more dessert-y bread pudding.
I chose not to add any sweeteners to this recipe since the cinnamon rolls already contained a bit of maple syrup, and I prefer not to start off my day with overly-sweet baked goods. You, however, may feel differently and choose to include a couple tablespoons of syrup in this recipe, or to simply drizzle some on top of the finished dish.
Goji-Pumpkin Baked French Toast/Bread Pudding–Can be Soy Free, Oil Free, can be Nut Free, Low Sodium, Low Fat
3 1/2 cups cubed stale GF bread (I used up the Raisin-Almond Butter Cinnamon Rolls, adapted from Jennifer Katzinger’s “Gluten-Free and Vegan Bread,” that I made earlier in the week, but you can use any bread you like–preferably whole grain, gluten-free if needed. Ezekiel is a commonly used brand)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp maca powder
1/2 tsp cloves or nutmeg (whichever you prefer)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 1/4 cups plant-based milk
1 15-oz can pumpkin puree, or 2 cups freshly pureed pumpkin/squash/sweet potato
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp maple extract (can sub more vanilla if unavailable–do try to include it though, for it smells up the house quite nicely)
1/4 cup goji berries
Optional: 1-3 tbsp maple syrup
The night before you’d like to enjoy this healthy breakfast delicacy, oil an 8×8″ baking pan or line it with aluminum foil. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix very well, then transfer the mixture to the baking pan. Cover the baking pan and let sit in the refrigerator overnight.
The next morning, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and bake for 30-35 minutes.
Alongside a tall glass of green juice, this decadent-tasting yet incredibly nutritious baked french toast provided a wonderfully nourishing morning meal.
Comment Provoking Questions: How do you like to use up stale bread?
Until next time, Ali.