Slow Cooker French Toast

Well, summer’s over.  Tomorrow is the first day back to school with the kids.  You know what that means – the time of year when this phrase is uttered in our two-teacher household: “I’m too tired to cook dinner tonight, it’s your turn.”  So what is the solution, other than to spend a fortune on take-out?  The slow cooker!

I was perusing Better Home’s and Gardens publication Skinny Slow Cooker, and learned a few new tricks of the slow cooker.  I found a fantastically simple way to make french toast bread pudding .  Wtih a few tweaks, I gave it a try this past weekend, but it would be perfect if made the night before for a week day morning pick-me-up.

I substituted almond milk for the milk and agave syrup for the sugar in this recipe.  I also cut the proportions in half.  
I used a 7-grain bread from a bakery in Durham, NC.  The bread is my favorite with the addition of sesame and poppy seeds.   
Cut or tear bread into cubes about 1 inch.  Place in greased or lined slow cooker.  I used a greased slow cooker, the thought of cooking my food in a plastic bag bothers me.  
Add 1 cup of raisins to the bread cubes. 
In a large bowl whisk together milk, agave syrup, eggs, cinnamon and vanilla. 
Pour the mixture over the bread cubes.  Use a spoon to stir and flatten, ensuring all bread is soaked with the milk mixture. 
Cover and cook on low heat setting for 7 to 8 hours, or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Turn off cooker and cool before serving.  
This meal made me want a programmable slow cooker so I did not have to make this just before going to bed.  The edges of this French toast browned and caramelized just right, giving it a little crunch that I love.  Serve with warm maple syrup.  
French Toast Bread Pudding
Ingredients
5 cups of bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup raisins
2 cups almond milk
1/8 cup agave syrup
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Cut or tear bread into cubes about 1 inch.  Place in greased or lined slow cooker.  Add 1 cup of raisins to the bread cubes. 
2. In a large bowl whisk together milk, agave syrup, eggs, cinnamon and vanilla. 
3. Pour the mixture over the bread cubes.  Use a spoon to stir and flatten, ensuring all bread is soaked with the milk mixture. 
4. Cover and cook on low heat setting for 7 to 8 hours, or until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean.  Turn off cooker and cool before serving.  Serve with warm maple syrup. 

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