Having people over for brunch always sounds like such fun. I imagine waking up when the sun is just rising and doing a bit of yoga while the coffee brews. I’ll then start to whip up a meal: fluffy quiche and popovers, fruit salad of course, and maybe a quick bread or two. I’ll be sticking fresh dahlias in a vase when the doorbell rings at 11 a.m. on the dot and greet my friends with a glass of fizzy punch. OK, not so much in reality. After snoozing through four alarms and realizing I forgot to buy an extra dozen eggs, by 10:15 I have some serious decision making to do. Do I spend a small fortune and order bagels? Do I just call everyone and pull a Mean Girls-level “I’m sick.”? No. I cube the blueberry muffins going stale on my counter and make a sweet casserole that tastes like bread pudding and coffeecake and freshly baked muffins all at once. I win brunch.
The stale muffin situation going on in this recipe isn’t just for those who forget to shop—blueberry muffin casserole actually tastes better if your muffins have begun to go stale, as the casserole is baked with a custardy liquid. Some bakeries and grocery stores offer discounts on day-old baked goods, so if you’re lucky you may be able to spend less than buying fresh ones for the sole purpose of letting them go stale.
Grab 12 large muffins. If the muffins are on the smaller side, use 13 or 14. Cube the muffins into rough 1-inch chunks.
Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a sheet tray with parchment paper. Spread the muffin chunks on the sheet tray and bake for 15-20 minutes to draw out excess moisture in the muffins. Leave the crisped muffins out to cool. If your muffins weren’t already stale, bake at 300ºF for 30-60 minutes, checking every ten minutes or so after 30. All fresh muffins are different degrees of moist, so some may take longer than others.
Meanwhile, whisk together 2 eggs, ½ cup cream, 1 ⅓ cup whole milk, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon in a medium bowl.
Transfer the muffin chunks to a greased 9x13-inch baking dish and pour the egg mixture over the muffins. Cover the dish with foil or plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
Uncover the dish and transfer the it to the oven. Bake the bread pudding for 40-50 minutes, or until it’s firm enough that the casserole won’t jiggle when nudged. Let it cool for at least 10 minutes, then scoop into bowls with fresh blueberries and chopped toasted almonds.