Any apple will work for this recipe, so pick a favorite!
- 1 loaf country-style bread (1 pound loaf)
- 5 large eggs
- 2 cups whole or 2% milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 to 2 apples, cored and cut into 1/4-inch dice (1 1/2 cups diced)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 5 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon turbinado sugar or sugar in the raw, divided
- Maple syrup, to serve (optional)
1 Slice the bread into cubes: Use a serrated bread knife to cut the bread into small 1/2-inch bread cubes. You can leave the crusts on or remove them, as you prefer. Measure out 9 cups of bread cubes; you may not need the entire loaf.
2 Make the French toast batter: In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon together until well blended. Add the 9 cups of bread cubes. With a large spoon, stir well to coat the bread with the batter.
3 Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours, or overnight. Stir from time to time to help the bread absorb the custard.
4 When ready to bake the muffins, heat the oven to 350F.
5 Stir the diced apples into the bread and custard mixture.
6 Line and fill the muffin cups: Line 16 of the muffin cups with a double layer of muffin papers, splitting the batch between two muffin pans. Spray the muffin papers with a little cooking spray. Fill each muffin cup with about 1/2 cup of the filling, mounding slightly to form a peak.
7 Top with sugar just before baking: With a pastry brush, dab the melted butter over the tops of the muffins and sprinkle each muffin with 1 teaspoon of the turbinado sugar.
8 Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden. Let the muffins cool for 10 minutes in the muffin tin, and serve warm with maple syrup to drizzle over top, if desired. (Refrigerate leftovers for several days, or freeze them for up to one month, and reheat in the oven or microwave.)