Maple, Apple, Cheddar Croissant Bake
September 26, 2017 by Nicole Collins
Today's recipe was almost a PB&J Croissant Bake.
Then, for a second, it was going to be a Reese's Croissant Bake.
Next, it took a left turn and became a Caramel Apple Croissant Bake.
But somehow, it ended up being a Maple, Apple, Cheddar Croissant Bake. TOTALLY not anywhere near what I originally had planned.
I love it when a recipe evolves in to something totally different from how it started.
Though, I must note, none of those first 3 ideas are off the table. In fact, they are DEFINITELY still on the table. Just not today...
Regardless, we were having a croissant bake today. And, that's mostly because I had some mini croissants that I refused to waste and let go bad.
So, here's one of my infamous guilty secrets for you. I've been known to push the boundaries when it comes to expiration dates and inedible food. For example, it's possible that I've opened a loaf of bread that had been sitting in my pantry for months, saw a little spot of mold, ripped the mold away, and continued to use said bread for a sammie. It's also possible that I've done that same trick with cheese.
It's possible. Not confirming or denying anything.
I will say that when you're cooking for one, sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do to make sure you're not wasting food or money. And, that's all I've got to say about that.
Cue the “hands up in the air” emoji...
Thankfully, I've gotten MUCH better about minimizing waste and using ingredients in a timely (and safe to eat) manner.
Which is why you were getting croissants today whether you liked it or not. I know. I'm so mean. Making you eat flaky, buttery French pastry. How rude...
I really don't know how my idea shifted from sweet to savory on this breakfast bake. The idea came to me in the shower actually...like most of my best work does. And we've got the best of both worlds, because we have sweet maple and apple, but we have salty sausage and cheddar. You guys know how I roll by now...
We start by tossing some cubed (couple day old in a good way) croissants, cooked maple breakfast sausage, diced apples, and cheddar cheese all together. We toss it in a casserole dish, and let it hang out while it waits for it's custard bath.
That's right. Custard bath.
This Croissant Bake has a very french toast feel to it thanks to the custard bath. Eggs, cream, milk, and maple syrup get whisked together and poured all over the bread mix. We even use our best kitchen tool, our hands, to push down the bread and make sure every last piece gets to soak up some of that beautiful custard mix.
And then, we wait.
Like I said, the custard needs to soak in the croissants so that we're not eating a dry mess, so we need to let this do it's thing for a couple hours. This is a great make ahead meal, because you can let it sit as long as overnight. Whoop whoop! It's totally worth the wait, I promise.
Then we bake it off, and dig in!
The croissants get crispy on the top and fluffy on the bottom. The apples soften a little bit, but not to mush. So, they add this really great sweet pop of texture to our bake. The sausage and the cheddar add the salty factor to compete with the sweet apples and maple syrup. OMG...so amazing once this all comes together!
As excited as I am to try out all of those sweet croissant bakes, I am SOOOOO happy that this is the one that came out of my brain first. And it's definitely fall appropriate with the maple and the apples. Those are classic fall ingredients. Since I have to get out of denial and accept that it actually is fall now, I might as well join 'em. I certainly can't beat 'em.
So, please go buy and ignore (but not for too long) some croissants now, so you can be all ready to make this for brunch this weekend!
Enjoy, and let's eat!
Maple, Apple, Cheddar Croissant Bake
Serves: 4 Print
10 mini croissants, cubed (about 4 cups)
8 oz maple breakfast sausage, cooked and crumbled
1 apple, peeled and diced (I used a Gala apple)
½ cup shredded cheddar
½ cup milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
½ cup heavy cream
1 tbsp maple syrup
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
In a mixing bowl, add croissant cubes, sausage, apple, and cheddar. Gently toss to combine. Spray an 8x8 casserole dish with cooking spray. Pour the croissant mix in to the casserole dish.
Wipe down the mixing bowl used for the croissant mix. Add eggs, milk, cream, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine. Pour the custard evenly over the bread mix, making sure the custard touches every piece of bread. Press the bread mix with your hands down in to the custard to help the croissants absorb the custard mix. Cover the dish with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or up to overnight.
Remove the casserole from the fridge. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bake casserole for 40-45 mins, laying a piece of aluminum foil over the casserole after 30 minutes to prevent the top from getting too dark. Cut, and serve.
*I had mini croissants left over that I needed to use, but regular croissants would work fine too. The goal is to have roughly 4 cups of bread cubes. It's best if the croissants are a few days old.
*Covering the casserole with foil after 30 minutes helps prevent the croissant pieces sticking up at the top from getting too dark. You don't want to tent the casserole, just lay a piece right on top as a shield.
*This recipe can be easily doubled and baked in a 9x13 casserole dish. Just add about another 10 minutes to the cooking time. You'll know it's done when a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
*You can use whatever type of milk you have or prefer. Just make sure not to sub out the heavy cream.
*You can use whatever type of apple you prefer too. I'd recommend sticking with a sweeter variety instead of a tart one.