Story and photo by Lisa Crockett
May is the month we honor our mothers. Handmade cards, jewelry, or perhaps a trip to the spa are a great way to tell your mom – or any mom, really, that you love her. One of the greatest and simplest gifts you can give most moms is a day off from her regular routine, and that includes kitchen chores. Even the most die-hard cooks will usually enjoy a reprieve, especially if it means they can still eat something delicious.
Breakfast is a great way to show mom you love her for several reasons. First, it allows you to serve the traditional breakfast in bed. Second, most breakfast dishes are pretty foolproof and even the very youngest cooks can lend a hand in buttering toast or pouring juice. If you’re making brunch for a crowd, breakfast dishes like the one I’ve included here taste great warm from the oven, or at room temperature. As an added bonus, this dish is made in the evening and stored in the refrigerator overnight and then simply baked in the morning so you can have it ready quickly.
When you’re serving breakfast, think about balance in the meal. This cinnamon toast casserole is rich and sweet, so plan to serve lighter items along with it, like a simple fruit salad or a softboiled egg. If you’re serving it as part of a brunch buffet, include a salad that incorporates some fruits and some veggies like spinach and strawberries.
And don’t forget – when the meal is finished and everyone’s full, gather your crew and clean the kitchen to a sparkle. Cooking for her without leaving a mess behind may very well be the best gift your mother gets all year.
Cinnamon Toast Breakfast Casserole
12 slices of cinnamon bread (with or without raisins), crusts removed
1 teaspoon of vanilla
½ cup sugar
1 cup milk
1 cup cream, divided
2 tablespoons maple syrup
Grease and flour an 8”x 8” baking pan. Cut bread into one inch cubes and place in a large mixing bowl. In a smaller bowl, beat the eggs and add the vanilla, sugar, milk and ½ cup of the cream. Pour mixture into the prepared pan. Cover pan with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
When you’re ready to bake the casserole, heat the oven to 350 degrees, remove the plastic wrap from the pan, and bake for 35 - 45 minutes or until golden brown around the edges. In the meantime, beat the remaining ½ cup of cream, adding the maple syrup when soft peaks form. Continue to beat until stiff peaks form.
Remove the casserole from the oven and allow to cool for five minutes. Serve while still warm with the maple whipped cream.