If you find yourself with a stray loaf of chocolate bread in your kitchen, you can get into all sorts of devilishly decadent trouble with it.
You could toast it and slather it with loads of creamy peanut butter. You could use it for a sandwich that evokes some of the flavors of a classic mexican mole with chicken breast that you’ve sauteed with onion, garlic, and poblano chilis.
You could make French toast for breakfast—or dessert.
This french toast borders on chocolate bread pudding. It gets an extra jolt of creaminess from soaking overnight in a custard-y mixture of eggs, chocolate milk, and heavy cream. I add a tiny bit of Frangelico for a hazelnut accent. If you don’t have it on hand, you could substitute any kind of chocolate liquor, or good, old-fashioned vanilla extract.
To serve, top it with a little butter or whipped cream, drizzle it with chocolate sauce, or crown it with a scoop or two of good vanilla ice cream—or all of the above. (Um, hello…Chocolate French Toast Sundae!)
Assemble it the night before
Assemble your French toast the night before you want to serve it. It takes all of 10 minutes to throw together. This is a fantastic thing to serve a crowd for brunch. Because it’s baked—not fried—you can spend more time chilling out with your guests over coffee or a mimosa, and less time lording over the stove.
A note on the bread
If you don’t have the time or inclination to bake the chocolate bread yourself, you should be able to track some down at a local baker or Whole Foods. You could also try the chocolate sourdough from Zingerman’s. If your bread is a wee bit stale or dry, that’s OK. The custard mixture will take care of that.
Chocolate French Toast
6 thick slices of chocolate bread
4 Tbls. butter
1 1/2 cups whole chocolate milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 Tbls. Frangelico
pinch of salt
white sugar for sprinkling before baking
The night before
Cut your chocolate bread into slices that are about three-quarters of inch thick.
Lay them out in a 13″ x 9″ baking dish. Depending on the size and shape of your bread, you might need to use a different size pan. The goal is to fit the bread in snugly, even if you have to smoosh it a little. You don’t want too much room between slices.
Melt the butter. I do this in the microwave, to keep prep as easy and fast as I can. (Mine isn’t super powerful, and takes maybe 45 seconds on high power.) You could also melt it on top of the stove.
Drizzle the butter over the bread. Don’t agonize over spreading it precisely. Just get some butter on each piece.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the eggs til they’re light and frothy.
Add the chocolate milk to the eggs.
Pour in the heavy cream.
Add the salt and Frangelico (or other liquor). Whisk together til well combined.
Pour this custard mixture over the buttered chocolate bread.
Pick each piece of bread up and roll it around in the custard mixture to coat all sides.
Smoosh the slices down a little to get them to soak up more of the mixture.
Wrap it up well with plastic wrap and stick it in the fridge overnight.
The next day
The Chocolate French Toast takes about 25 minutes to bake. Take the bread mixture out of the fridge and toss the plastic wrap. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Pick each piece of bread up and flip it around to coat all sides again.
Roll the slices around to get the edges, too.
When they’re all coated, line the slices up on your prepared sheet pan.
Sprinkle the tops and edges of the bread generously with white sugar.
Pop the pan in the oven and bake at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes.
They’re done when the tops are crisp and the edges start to brown.
Serve immediately with any combination of butter, whipped cream, chocolate sauce, or vanilla ice cream.