I love breakfast for dinner, so on Monday night I tried a little experiment, and mixed the Barefoot Contessa's recipe for French Toast Bread Pudding, with the High Life's Cafe Mocha French toast. The result: YUMMY. Here's how I did it.....
BAKED MOCHA FRENCH TOAST
- 1 loaf of bread (or enough to fill up your baking dish 3/4 of the way to the top, I used whatever sandwich bread I had on hand)
- 8 extra-large eggs
- 5 cups half-and-half
- 2 tablespoons espresso powder
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 5 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup hazelnut syrup (I used the kind found in the coffee isle at the grocery store)
- powered sugar and extra butter for serving
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Arrange the bread in layers 3/4 of the way to the top of your 9 by 13 by 2-inch baking dish, cutting the bread to fit the dish. ***I actually split this recipe into two batches, a regular and gluten free version, so I used two smaller Pyrex dishes that both fit inside my roasting pan.
In a large bowl, first whisk the eggs, then add the half-and-half, cocoa powder, vanilla, salt, and hazelnut syrup. Set aside.
In a microwave safe container, melt the butter in the microwave, then add the espresso powder, stirring well. Add this mixture to the other liquid mixture until well combined. (It's a lot so you'll need a big bowl.)
Pour the finished mixture over the bread and press the bread down. Allow to soak for 10 minutes. Note: this was perfect for regular bread, but not enough soak time for gluten free bread. I soaked the gluten free for 15 minutes with a weight on top of the bread (I just used another heavy dish) to submerge it in the mixture and it still wasn't quite long enough. Next time I'll try 20 or 30 minutes.
Place the baking dish(s) in a large roasting pan and add enough very hot tap water to the roasting pan to come an inch up the side of the baking dish(s).
Cover the roasting pan tightly with aluminum foil, tenting it so the foil doesn't touch the pudding. Make two slashes in the foil to allow steam to escape.
Bake for 45 minutes, remove the aluminum foil, and bake for another 40 to 45 minutes, until the pudding puffs up and the custard is set. Remove from the oven and cool slightly. Lightly dust with powdered sugar and serve hot in squares with butter.
*Additional Notes: The regular bread version turned out perfectly. Ryan said he wanted me to make it again. The gluten free version had a thick layer of custard underneath the layers of bread since I didn't soak the bread long enough. I still really enjoyed the bread part, but the custard alone was just okay. Next time I'll soak it longer and probably pour out more of the excess custard mixture after the soaking process.
*Also, since this recipe takes almost 2 hours to complete from start to finish, make sure to plan ahead. Serves 6 to 8 : )
***The great thing about this recipe is that you can really add any ingredients to the base custard (eggs and half and half) so you can flavor it however you want.....and bonus, your not standing over a hot stove, just pop it in the oven, go about with your morning, and enjoy when done! XO