We have this problem in my house… no one likes to eat the bread heels / ends / crusts. Whatever you call them, no one here wants them.
But I hate to waste them, so I collect them in a bag in the freezer. I can’t make enough bread crumbs to use them all, so when the collection bursts out of its bag, I start playing with ways to use them up. This recipe was inspired by one I had clipped from the Tufts University Healthletter way back in August 2004.
I use sprouted or whole grain bread, chia seeds, and walnuts, so it’s actually a pretty good source of heart-healthy fibre and omega-3 fat. But it still tastes like a dessert. You’re welcome. 😉
A word about sugar
I tried this without added sugar, but it wasn’t so good. The recipe below is the lowest amount I could do and still really like it.
If you have sweeter fruit (say plump blueberries), you may not need this much. If you have raspberries, which are more tart, you might want to add a tablespoon or two more.
As is, the recipe works out to about 2 teaspoons of free/added sugar per serving, which is actually quite low for a dessert! A snack-sized yogurt or a typical breakfast cereal has about that much. (Guidelines suggest about 6-12 teaspoons a day for a typical adult, even for people with diabetes.)
You could swap out the sugar in the fruit layer for stevia or another sweetener but I don’t think you need to. It’s not that much. And don’t skip the sugar in the topping! It gives that crisp mouth-watering deliciousness.
Excessive sugar, especially in beverages, has been tied to health problems. A little paired with cardioprotective foods like berries, these omega-3 rich nuts and seeds, and whole grains, not so much. And if you add plain Greek yogurt, you can boost the protein and calcium and call it breakfast.
Heart-healthy French toast berry cobbler
- 4 cups frozen berries of choice
- 1 medium apple diced (skin on)
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/3 cup 1% milk or milk of choice
- 2 tsp butter or non-hydrogenated margarine melted
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 5 slices whole grain bread crusts (or inside slices if that's what you have)
- 1/2 cup walnuts
- 2 tbsp sugar
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- Take the bread out of the freezer if it's frozen. Preheat the oven to 400F.
- Add berries, apple, sugar, and chia seeds to a large bowl and toss well.
- Transfer to an 8x8 baking dish. Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, whisk eggs, milk, butter, and vanilla in the same bowl. (No need to wash it first.)
- Tear (or cut) the bread heels into bite-sized pieces and add to the bowl. Toss well, ensuring that the bread is thoroughly soaked. Put it aside.
- Roughly chop walnuts and mix together with sugar and cinnamon in a small bowl. Put that aside too.
- When timer goes off, pull the dish out and turn the heat down to 350F.
- Remove the foil and stir the fruit well.
- Spread the egg-soaked bread evenly over top of the fruit.
- Sprinkle evenly with the walnuts and sugar/cinnamon mixture.
- Bake uncovered for 20-25 minutes, or until the fruit is bubbling and the topping is golden and crisp.
Bonus! Chia seeds are actually a heart-health bargain. They’re one of the lower priced nuts and seeds, in terms of unit cost. See my price survey for other lower-cost heart-healthy options.