Who doesn’t want to wakeup holiday morning to the smell and taste of hot chocolate and roasting hazelnuts?
1 loaf Brioche or and Egg enriched bread, cut into 1 inch thick slices
3 cups heavy cream
6 ounces milk chocolate, coarsely chopped
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
9 large eggs, beaten
2 cups nut milk
1 cup of sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 cup hazelnuts, coarsely chopped
Cinnamon spiked whipped cream
Generously butter a 13×9 baking dish. Arrange the bread slices in overlapping rows inside the baking dish.
Over low heat, slowing warm the cream, milk chocolate, semisweet chocolate, and vanilla in a medium saucepan. Whisk until chocolate is melted, about 5-8 minutes. Once the chocolate is completely melted, remove 1 cup mixture to an airtight container, set aside to cool. Cover and chill until ready to serve.
In the bowl of your standing mixer, whisk eggs, milk, sugar, and salt in on high speed until frothy, about 1 minute. Slowing begin tempering the egg mixture by introducing the hot chocolate and cream mixture in a slow, steady stream; this will help to avoid the eggs heating too quickly and scrambling.
Once combine, pour evenly over and between each layer of bread. Push down with your hands to soak the top — cover the dish tightly with foil and chill at least 2 hours.
Chef’s Note: If eggs do scramble, don’t worry, strain through a fine-mesh sieve.
When ready, remove from the refrigerator and allow it to sit about 20 minutes to bring a little closer to room temperature — Preheat oven to 350°F Degrees.
Bake foil-covered casserole until warmed through, and a knife inserted into the center feels warm to the touch, about 35 minutes. Remove foil and continue baking until the bread is browned, 35–40 minutes longer.
Remove and allow to cool about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, toast hazelnuts in a small skillet over medium heat, occasionally tossing, until golden-brown and fragrant, 3–5 minutes.
Heat the reserved chocolate mixture until warm.
Serve French toast with chocolate sauce, top with toasted hazelnuts and add optional cinnamon-spiked whipped cream.
Assemble one day ahead before baking; cover tightly with foil and chill.
Makes approximately 6-8 servings