Saturday, November 24, 2018

Bake Up a National French Toast Day Treat

Dark Chocolate Walnut French Toast Bake
Wednesday, November 28, 2018, will be a lovely Fun Food Holiday called "National French Toast Day." You may still be full after Thanksgiving but if you are the type of person who likes to have a nice site down brunch on the weekends but you don't have a lot of time with prepping for December's multitude of holidays, I've got a recipe for you! The original recipe that inspired my chocolatey variety comes from a cookbook we've looked at in a few other posts this year. I received free this book, Sunday Suppers: Simple, Delicious Menus for Family Gatherings, as well as some of the ingredients I used from their brands or via the Amazon Vine program where I am a reviewer. No other form of compensation was received for this extra post or the originals talking about these products. Ingredients sent to me for free are marked with an * in the recipe below.

Original Cookbook Recipe Pages
The original recipe in Cynthia Graubart's book is on pages 272-273. It is called Maple Ham and French Toast Casserole and I've made it a few times for my family. I've made it with sugar free syrup (not as good but a lot less calories) and I've made it with organic real maple syrup (tasty!) I learned some tricks while I experimented that were not in the recipe for example gentle pressing down on the bread after you add the milk and egg mixture will help it soak up more of the moisture and make the dish more coherent after baking. I also tried different breads and discovered the drier the bread, the better the results but be careful, overdried and it has difficulty soaking up the milk and bread mixture. My family isn't into extra cream or fruit or even extra syrup so our plates never looked like the one in the book which you can see in the photo to the left.

The original recipe was good but one forthcoming weekend my hubby was going to be gone and I have guests coming over to color and share a brunch. I had lots of FISHER Chef's Naturals Chopped Walnuts, No Preservatives, Non-GMO, 10 OunceI got through Amazon Vine and so I had an idea: Instead of ham, why not nuts and chocolate?

Half of it was eaten quickly!
Dark Chocolate Walnut French Toast Bake
By TammyJo Eckhart, PhD


8 ounces stale snowflake rolls
Non-Stick Cooking Spray
4 ounces Enjoy Life Dark Chocolate Chips*
4 ounces Fisher Chopped Walnuts*
1.25 cups liquid egg whites
2 cups skim milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
3 T margarine
1/2 cup organic maple syrup

1. Tear up your rolls into bite sized pieces.

2. Spray a 9 X 13 inch baking pan with your non-stick spray making sure you get the sides, too.

3. Put the bread into the baking pan and try to spread it out evenly. Do NOT press the bread down.

4. Measure out 4 ounces each of the dark chocolate chips and the walnuts. Sprinkle these over the top of the bread.

5. Whisk together the egg white, milk, cinnamon, and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. I recommend using a bowl with a spout because of the next step.

6. Try to evenly pour the liquid over the bread, chips, and nuts in your pan making sure you get all of the bread tops while doing so. Don't worry if the milk mixture is a bit frothy.

7. Cover and place in your refrigerator for at least 8 hours or overnight.

8. Once the 8 hours or the next morning comes, take the pan out of the refrigerator. Gently press down on the bread to help it absorb more of the liquid. Let it set while you pre-heat your oven to 400°F and do step 9.

9. In a small saucepan, melt your butter in the maple syrup over low heat until the butter is completely melted. Remove the saucepan from heat and turn off your stovetop.

10. Try to evenly pour this syrup mixture over the top of your bread, chips, and walnuts.

11. Once your oven is pre-heated, place the baking pan on a middle rack position and bake for 40-45 minutes depending on your oven. Check it at 40 minutes. The food needs to be pulling away from the sides and no milk/egg liquid needs to be moving around when you tilt the pan. Do not overbake or it can burn.

12. Remove from oven and turn oven off. Let the dish set for 10 minutes then serve it. You can add cream or more syrup but honestly this is sweet enough as it is!

If my variation of the original recipe makes you curious about the cookbook, please do check it out. Remember if you order it or the walnuts via these links, I'll get a tiny bit of money for bringing it to your attention and I can use that money to help bring more chocolate and chocolate related events, products, and recipes to your screen so you can learn about them, too.

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