Grandma’s Homemade Baked Applesauce French Toast

What can you do with slightly stale bread aside from pulsing it into bread crumbs, making a strata, or feeding it to the birds? Visit any diner or brunch establishment and you’ll see the two-word answer right there on the menu: French toast. This crisp-on-the-outside, custardy-on-the-inside breakfast treat can be customized in so many ways, it’s hard not to like. Beyond the classic version that’s lightly dusted with powdered sugar or drizzled with maple syrup, there are countless others that are stuffed and topped with nearly everything imaginable.


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The process of making French toast is straightforward: dipping sliced bread into a milk-egg mixture and pan-frying on both sides in butter until golden. But, as with cooking anything battered, things can get messy, fast.

The French toast recipe that follows was born out of the desire to streamline the process, and inspired in part by the French dessert bostock. Instead of soaking bread in a custard mixture, bostock revives day-old sliced brioche by brushing it with a flavored sugar syrup, spreading on an almond cream, and sprinkling sliced almonds on top before baking it to a lightly golden finish. 

Easy and Resourceful

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In this senior friendly recipe for Baked Applesauce French Toast, the best features of French toast and bostock are represented, but the process to make it is much simpler than either of those originals. It’s a great dish to make when you want something more special (but still easy) for breakfast, when the grandkids are coming over to visit, or when you literally just need a way to use up those last few pieces of dried out bread.

While enriched breads (those with egg, butter and sugar added) like the brioche or challah called for in this recipe aren’t known for their health-giving properties, they do make for a more indulgent—and delicious—French toast. Everything in moderation!

Here, the bread is laid side-by-side in a buttered pan and soaked overnight in a spiced mixture of milk, eggs and applesauce. There’s no need to flip or transfer any wet bread, eliminating the fear of under-soaking (dry French toast) or over-soaking (fall-apart bread that doesn’t even make it to the pan). The applesauce provides ready-made complementary fruit flavor that seeps right into the toast itself, enhanced with just a small amount of brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and vanilla. 

The next morning, the only remaining step left to do before baking is scattering a layer of sliced almonds on top. In just under half an hour—enough time to take a shower, read some of the paper, or walk the dog—all four pieces are done at once, ready for their last bit of gilding in the form of a light dusting of confectioners’ sugar. 


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If you only have fresh bread on hand, lightly toast the bread slices and let them dry out at room temperature before preparing the recipe.  

4 slices day-old brioche or challah, each about 3/4 inch thick

2 eggs

2/3 cup milk

2/3 cup applesauce

1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 Tbs. light brown sugar

1/4 cup sliced almonds

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

Cooking Instructions

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1. Spray a 9-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place the bread in a single layer in the pan.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, applesauce, cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and brown sugar until combined. Pour evenly over the bread slices. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

3. Preheat an oven to 375°F. Using a spoon, scoop up any applesauce that did not get absorbed and spread it evenly back on top of the bread. Sprinkle the almonds evenly on top.

 4. Bake, uncovered, until the top of the French toasts are golden brown, 25 to 28 minutes. Transfer to individual plates and dust lightly with confectioners’ sugar before serving. 

Serves 4.