Brunch Ease

I love gorgeous brunch dishes that allow me to lean into my weekend in a way that yogurt or cereal just don't mid-week. But I also love being able to have lazy mornings … so what's a girl to do? Plan ahead and get both of those boxes checked, that's what! My favorite way to do this is by assembling overnight french toast or bread pudding. And when that bread pudding features coconut and granola, I'm particularly happy:

What's even more fun about this particular recipe is how it takes advantage of leftover bread. You know, the heel from the sandwich bread that no one used or a lonely hot dog bun that never found a hot dog at the last picnic. Those bits of bread don't get tossed in my house. They find their way to the freezer and when I've got enough of them, I make a bread pudding. I'm tearing up the bread into pieces anyway, so who cares if some of it used to be a hamburger bun? In the end, I've got this sitting on my plate:

This is a hearty enough dish to be enjoyed on its own with fruit and syrup and a cup or three of coffee. That said, it will also pair nicely with any number of breakfast meat options and can hold its own on a proper brunch buffet. So don't toss those bread leftovers and you'll be looking at a brunch dish that will make your morning sweet in so many ways!

Coconut Breakfast Bread Pudding

  • 5 c. torn bread (I like to use my "leftover bread" — heels no one used for sandwiches, the odd extra hot dog or brat bun, etc.)
  • 1 c. half & half
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ tsp. vanilla extract
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar
  • 1/3 c. granola - choose your favorite variety
  • 1 c. flaked coconut
  • Maple syrup and chopped peaches, for serving

Preheat the oven to 400° F (skip this step if refrigerating overnight). Spray a 9-inch square baking dish with cooking spray and place the torn bread evenly in the dish. Set aside.

In a large resealable jar, combine the half & half, eggs, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and salt. Seal the jar and shake vigorously to create a homogenous, pale yellow mixture. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread in the baking dish.

Sprinkle the top of the bread with the brown sugar, granola, and flaked coconut. Cover in aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes or until the egg is set. I like to remove the foil for the last 10 minutes of baking to give the dish a bit of crunch on top. Serve hot with maple syrup and chopped peaches. (If desired, you can cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake in the morning. If you opt to do that, add 5-10 minutes to the baking time.)

  • Yields: 4 servings
  • Preparation Time: 45 minutes