Decadent Chocolate French Toast with Strawberry Syrup
Happy Valentine’s Day! Surprisingly this Chocolate French Toast isn’t terribly sweet. We started serving it each year for Valentine’s Day, but it is just too good to save for one day a year. You don’t need a holiday or an excuse to enjoy this dish.
[Adapted from an Emeril recipe, with permission]
Serves 4, with three triangles or two hearts per person
Strawberry Syrup Ingredients
¼ cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
1 cup fresh or frozen strawberries
The French Toast Ingredients
½ cup vanilla sugar (or ½ cup sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
½ cup milk
6 slices of challah (egg bread), cut into 1-inch slices and then cut on the diagonal to make 12 triangles or 8 slices of challah, using a large heart cookie cutter, just a bit smaller than a slice of bread, and press into each whole slice of bread. A slice of bread will yield 1 heart.
2 tablespoons butter
4 Chocolate-dipped strawberries
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and poured or spooned into a plastic squeeze bottle
In a small saucepan combine the sugar, spices, zest, and strawberries. Cook over medium, stirring often. When the mixture is close to a boil but not boiling, lower the heat to simmering and cook until the syrup is thick and is the consistency of syrup.You don’t want to overcook the fresh strawberries. Keep warm or make the syrup the night before and reheat gently in the morning in the microwave.
In a blender, blend the eggs. In a small bowl combine the vanilla sugar (or sugar plus vanilla extract) and cocoa until well-blended. Add the sugar-cocoa mixture to the eggs and blend. Blend in the milk.
In a frying pan or on a griddle, melt the butter over medium heat. Dip the triangles or hearts in the egg mixture until moistened but not soggy. Place the triangles/hearts in the pan or on the griddle and cook until golden, 2-3 minutes per side, turning once.Note: Keep an eye on the soaked bread as it burns easily.
Dust 4 plates with cocoa. Heat the squeeze bottle with the chocolate in it in the microwave and then drizzle the chocolate in a zig-zag pattern on the plate. Layer the slices so that they are all leaning on each other. If using the hearts, place them size-by-side on an angle so that the bottoms are touching. Spoon the strawberry syrup over the French Toast. Add a dollop of whipped cream on top and top with a chocolate-dipped strawberry. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar and serve.
Ellen Gutman Chenaux, Bed and Breakfast Foodie