There’s no meal better than Sunday morning breakfast. Recently, I’ve made my Sunday mornings into a bit of a ritual, practicing a tried-and-true routine to help me embrace good vibes for the week ahead. I’ve made sure to schedule in all my faves: a morning catch-up call with long-distance friends, a leisurely neighborhood coffee run, a little journaling, and tidying up the areas of my apartment that the week left neglected. Of course, nothing completes a slow morning quite like a cozy—and elaborate—breakfast. (‘Tis the season to romanticize your life, right?) Pancakes, waffles, a savory quiche… everything’s fair game. But my latest obsession? This oven-baked Chai Challah French Toast.
When it comes to morning carbs, I’m a ride-or-die pancake/waffle girl. But now that I’ve joined the French toast club, I get it. But I also understand the hesitancy—I said an “elaborate” breakfast, not involved to the point of insanity. Luckily, this overnight and oven-baked preparation means you can make this chai-spiced challah French toast in advance. That way, it’ll be ready to go while your coffee’s still hot.
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How to Make French Toast in the Oven
While I love skillet-top French toast, the last thing I want to do is stand over my stove and individually fry off each piece of toast. Enter: the oven method. To make this challah French toast in the oven, you’ll need a large baking dish of your choice. A few tips:
- Grease your baking dish to keep your French toast from sticking.
- Make the custard the night before. To maximize the chai spice flavor in this French toast, I make the milk mixture without the eggs the night before. This will rest overnight in the fridge. In the morning, simply whisk in the eggs and dunk each piece of toast in the custard and add to the dish. Let the toast sit in the dish for at least 30 minutes—or overnight—then pop it into the oven. Voila!
- Oven-baked French toast gets extra crispy on top while remaining soft underneath. Of course, you’re welcome to make this French toast on the stove, but if you want a more hands-off version, baking in the oven is the way to go.
Tips for Infusing This French Toast With Flavor
The real star of this French toast is the chai spice. It’s warm and slightly sweet, making this dish extra cozy. And because I’m all about maximizing flavor, we’re incorporating the chai spice in a few different ways.
First, the custard. To get as much chai flavor, steep a chai bag in the milk overnight or heat the milk and brew the chai, cooling before assembling. This helps the bread take on all of those warming flavors when it’s dunked in the custard. Then, we’re also adding whole and fresh ground spices to the milk as it steeps to emphasize the warming, cozy chai flavor.
Next, the topping. A brown sugar streusel topping spiced with cinnamon and cardamom adds a little sweet crunch.
Finally, the whipped cream. Add some fresh ground spices to the whipped cream to top everything off with extra flavor. Serve with a cup of chai to really take things over the top. This is my go-to recipe.
How to Serve Challah French Toast
As with any breakfast treat, I like to serve this challah French toast topped with fruit. I used pine berries because that’s what I had on hand, but regular strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, cherries, or even pears will add a sweet and tart bite, keeping things from getting too sweet. I like to top my toast off with whipped cream and a little syrup, but this would also be delicious with granola for extra crunch, some sliced almonds, or even a dollop of jam. It goes without saying, but be sure to serve your French toast warm.
Scroll on for the recipe. If you make this challah French toast, be sure to rate and review below and show us your cozy weekend breakfast on Instagram!
- 3 1/2 cups milk of choice
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 5 pods of cardamom, crushed
- 4 cloves, crushed
- 1 teaspoon ginger powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch of nutmeg
- 2 tea bags of chai
- 4 eggs
- 2 loaves of challah bread, sliced
- 3 tablespoons of butter
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 4-5 tablespoons flour
- pinch of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- Make the custard. Add the milk, spices, and tea bags to a large container. Stir to combine. Let sit overnight to steep the tea bags. When ready to assemble, squeeze any liquid from the tea bags and toss. Add the eggs and whisk to combine.
- Grease a large baking dish. Dunk each slice of challah into the custard to coat and soak, then place into the baking dish. Drizzle any leftover custard over the top.
- Make the crumble. Melt the butter in a microwave safe bowl. Add the brown sugar, four, salt, cinnamon, and cardamom and combine until crumbly. Crumble over the top of the challah. Let bread soak in dish for at least an hour.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake, uncovered, for about 30-35 minutes until bread is golden on top.
- Remove from oven, serve warm with syrup and whipped cream. Enjoy!
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