This comforting, fragrant French toast bake is the best way to wake up on Christmas morning. It can be prepared the night before and baked fresh the next day. Just a little bit easier than standing over a griddle and individually frying each slice of French toast! The egg mixture features traditional gingerbread spices (which scents the whole house as it bakes) and the cranberry adds a hint of tartness. For best results, use a day old loaf of bread as it soaks up the liquid better.
Grease a 9×12 baking dish. Arrange the slices of bread in two rows, overlapping each other.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, cardamom, black pepper and salt.
Pour mixture evenly over the bread, gently pressing the slices down to soak up the liquid. Sprinkle with pecans and cranberries. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to bake.
When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. If bread begins to brown too quickly, cover the top with foil and continue baking.
Serve warm with a dusting of powdered sugar and a drizzle of maple syrup.