This post has been sponsored by Kraft Heinz Canada ULC. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
The lead-up to Christmas is one of my favourite times of year. You, too?! My husband usually tries to make me hold out on holiday decorating and listening to carols until December 1, but I never last 😉 (This year, I sneakily hung one wreath on November 14! Better to beg for forgiveness than ask for permission, am I right?!)
If you love to entertain over the holidays like I do, here are my tips: Start meal planning early! Test out new recipes now, and choose dishes that can be made ahead!
This Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast Bake, made with PHILADELPHIA Original Cream Cheese 250g, is a perfect make-ahead brunch or Christmas morning breakfast. You can either make and bake it in the morning or prep it the night before and fire it into the oven when your guests arrive (I highly recommend this second option!)
Less time in the kitchen means more time around the tree and cheers-ing family and friends with that secretly spiked coffee…
(Psst, for other holiday recipes, check out more inspiration HERE!)
To make this Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast Bake, using good quality ingredients is key. Although you can use any type of sandwich loaf, I like to use a high-quality sourdough loaf from the bakery down the street. I’ve also used a hearty whole grain loaf with great success, if you’re looking for a little healthier option.
Splurge on fresh, ripe blueberries, even though they’re not in season at Christmas. You can use frozen blueberries, but your bread will absorb a purplish hue… which bothers me, but maybe it won’t matter to you!
And use premium cream cheese, like PHILADELPHIA Original Cream Cheese 250g. It’s the original cream cheese made with no artificial colours or flavours and is crucial for the creamiest, smoothest cream cheese pockets in this recipe!
Now that you’ve assembled your ingredients, Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast Bake can be prepped in about 20 minutes – easy peasy!
First of all, throw your brick of cream cheese into your freezer – this will make it easier to cut later. While it’s chilling, cube a loaf of bread and scatter the pieces into a greased baking dish. Then you’ll whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla, and cinnamon and pour it over top of the bread, making sure the bread soaks up the liquid. Sprinkle the casserole with blueberries.
Meanwhile, the cream cheese brick will be nice and chilled; remove it from the freezer and cube it into small pieces. Then you’ll nestle those creamy little nuggets among the bread and blueberries and bake!
When you remove it from the oven, the Blueberry Cream Cheese French Toast Bake will be slightly toasted on top and soft in the middle—each bite bursting with a pocket of fluffy cream cheese and warm exploding blueberries. Told you this recipe was a winner 😉
Now that you’ve chosen your holiday brunch recipe, you’ve got more time to curate the perfect holiday playlist…
Slightly toasted on top, soft in the middle and each bite bursting with fluffy cream cheese and warm exploding blueberries - this french toast bake is perfect for the holidays because you can make it overnight!
- 1 loaf white French bread or sandwich bread (approximately 1 pound, cut into cubes)
- 1 250g (8oz) brick of PHILADELPHIA Original Cream Cheese (frozen for 15 minutes, then cut into small cubes)
- 1 cup fresh blueberries
- 6 large eggs
- 3 cups 2% milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- butter, to grease your dish
Lightly grease a 9x13" (or other 3-quart casserole) dish with butter, and arrange bread cubes in an even layer in the dish.
Tuck PHILADELPHIA Original Cream Cheese cubes amongst the bread cubes, then scatter blueberries over top. Set aside.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Pour egg mixture into the casserole dish and over top of the bread, making sure to soak all bread cubes.
Let the french toast bake soak for at least 15 minutes at room temperature or cover with saran wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
When you're ready to bake, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted into the centre of the casserole causes no liquid to spill into the crack. The casserole should be moist, but no longer liquidy.
Serve warm with a drizzle of maple syrup.
Once assembled, the french toast bake can either be soaked for at least 15 minutes at room temperature, or covered with saran wrap and placed in your fridge overnight to soak. In the morning, simply preheat your oven, remove saran wrap, and bake!