Sweet make-ahead breakfast recipe from 'Unwind' by Aarti Sequeira

Check out her rock cake and chai recipes below.

September 22, 2023, 7:51 AM

Indian American cook, food personality and author Aarti Sequeira has a new cookbook hitting shelves later this month that focuses on heartfelt recipes and devotions to give readers more inspiration for their nourishment.

Sequeira joined "Good Morning America" on Friday with a taste of the new collection of recipes to show how to create a great make-ahead meal and big batch breakfast that can be prepped the night before.

PHOTO: Unwind: A Devotional Cookbook for the Harried and Hungry Hardcover."
Unwind: A Devotional Cookbook for the Harried and Hungry Hardcover."

Check out her recipes from "Unwind: A Devotional Cookbook for the Harried and Hungry" below.

Banoffee French Toast Casserole

PHOTO: A platter of banoffee French toast casserole topped with dulce de leche.
A platter of banoffee French toast casserole topped with dulce de leche.
ABC News

Makes: 6 to 8 servings
Total time: 9 hours
Active time: 25 minutes

2 cups whole milk, cold
1/2 cup canned dulce de leche, plus extra 1/4 cup for drizzling
1 tablespoon instant coffee or espresso
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
10 cups French bread or ciabatta, cut or torn into 1-inch cubes, crust on
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, plus extra softened butter for greasing
Pinch kosher salt
4 to 5 graham crackers, crumbled finely
1 pint whipping cream
Flaky salt
4 bananas, sliced into 1/2-inch rounds


1. Whisk 1/2 cup dulce de leche and 1/2 cup of milk together in a medium saucepan set over medium heat, just until well combined. Do not allow to simmer. Remove from heat. Whisk in remaining milk and instant coffee.

2. In a very large bowl, whisk together eggs, vanilla and salt. Slowly add milk mixture, a little at a time, whisking constantly. Fold in the bread cubes, making sure to coat every piece.

3. Grease 8-by-11-inch baking dish with softened butter. Pour bread mixture into the dish. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

4. The next day, preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

5. Set a small stainless steel skillet over medium heat. Cut 8 tablespoons of butter into 4 parts and add to the pan. Keep an eye on it, swirling often, and allow butter to melt, then bubble, then brown. As soon as it smells nutty, remove from heat. Drizzle 4 tablespoons of the browned butter over the top of the casserole. Bake, uncovered for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is crispy.

6. Meanwhile, add graham cracker crumbs to remaining brown butter and set over a medium flame. Cook, stirring frequently, until crumbs crisp up. Season with a good pinch of salt and set aside.

7. Whip the cream to soft speaks. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

8. In the last 10 minutes of the baking, warm the dulce de leche in the microwave or in a small saucepan over medium-low heat, until it's pouring consistency. Set aside. Slice bananas on the diagonal.

9. When casserole is ready, pull it out of the oven, and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes. Drizzle with extra dulce de leche and sprinkle with a handful of toasted graham cracker crumbs. Sprinkle with flaky salt.

10. Adorn servings of the casserole with dollops of whipped cream and a few slices of banana. Enjoy and shine!

Rock Cakes and Masala Chai

PHOTO: A tray of cakes and chai tea from "Unwind: A Devotional Cookbook for the Harried and Hungry Hardcover."
A tray of cakes and chai tea from "Unwind: A Devotional Cookbook for the Harried and Hungry Hardcover."
Courtesy Aarti Sequeira

Makes: About 30
Total time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Active time: 30 minutes

2 cups (320 grams) golden raisins/ sultanas
1 cup brandy or orange juice
4 cups (600 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup (200 grams) granulated cane or white sugar, plus extra for sprinkling
2 tablespoons (24 grams) baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cup whole milk, plus more as needed
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
16 tablespoons (226 grams) cold, unsalted butter, chopped
2 teaspoons fresh orange zest (from about 2 large oranges)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line 3 sheet pans with parchment paper.

Mix golden raisins and brandy together in a small bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute, then stir, and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, cardamom and salt into a large bowl. Separately, whisk eggs, milk, and vanilla extract together in a measuring cup.

Add cold butter cubes. Now, using your fingertips, rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Make well in the center, then pour in the egg mixture. Use a wooden spoon to stir until the mixture just comes together as a thick, lumpy dough. If it's not coming together, add a teaspoon or two more milk. Stir in raisins, making sure they are well distributed.

Using either a 1.67-ounce ice cream scoop or your eyes, place 10 golf ball-sized dollops of rock cake mixture on each prepared baking sheet, being sure to leave room between them to grow. You should get about 30 rock cakes. Sprinkle each cake with a little extra sugar.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes (in batches if necessary), until golden brown on the bottom and a little on top too; their internal temperature should register 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Cool rock cakes on sheet pans for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool. These are at their best when served warm. Now make some chai!

Masala Chai
4 to 5 green cardamom pods
4 whole black peppercorns
1/2-inch piece cinnamon
3 whole cloves
3/4-inch piece peeled, fresh ginger, sliced
Pinch of salt
3 teaspoons loose leaf black tea, or 3 tea bags, preferably Assam tea
3/4 cup milk of choice (recommended: whole milk or full-fat oat milk)
Sweetener of choice (recommended: honey)


1. Place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add cardamom pods, black peppercorns, cinnamon stick and cloves in the saucepan and toast, stirring and shaking the saucepan until fragrant, about 1 minute. Shake the spices into a mortar and pestle; add ginger, and bash them all up until the cardamom pods are open and the ginger releases its fragrance. It doesn't need to be a paste, just a coarse mash.

2. Scoop the mixture back into the saucepan and cover with 2 cups of water. Cover and bring to a boil.

3. Now add black tea. Turn heat off, cover and allow to steep for 3 to 5 minutes, depending on how strong you like your tea.

4. Add milk, and bring to a boil, uncovered. Once it boils, let it boil a few seconds longer -- the contents should start to climb up the sides of the saucepan. Cut the heat before it bubbles over!

5. Add your sweetener of choice and then strain into mugs. Allow to cool before taking your first sip!