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This decadent chocolate babka French toast with caramelized banana creme anglaise is so decadent that it's barely brunch and more like dessert. Inspired by the Bongo Room in Chicago, IL. #chocolate #frenchtoast #bananas #brunch

Chocolate Babka French Toast with Caramelized Banana Creme Anglaise

This chocolate babka french toast with caramelized banana creme anglaise will satisfy all of your chocolate and banana cravings (and probably more).

Course Breakfast, Brunch, Dessert
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 8 people
Calories 372 kcal

Ingredients

Chocolate Babka French Toast

  • 1 cup whole or 2% milk room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 large eggs room temperature
  • 2 large egg whites room temperature (use the whites from the creme anglaise)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • eight 1/4” thick slices chocolate babka

Caramelized Banana Creme Anglaise

  • 1 medium banana thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks room temperature

Instructions

Chocolate Babka French Toast

  1. Warm about a third of the milk until it starts to bubble (microwave or stovetop both work). Stir in the cocoa until dissolved. Cool slightly.
  2. Combine the cocoa milk and the rest of the milk. Mix in the eggs, vanilla and salt until completely combined, and the eggs have broken down.
  3. Dip the bread in the custard; let it soak for 1 minute on each side, then cook with butter in a skillet over medium heat on the first side until it looks set- a little matte, and no longer liquidy. Flip. Cook the bottom side until that side is set as well. If you're not sure if the French toast is done, taste some; if it's too gooey, just plop it back on your griddle or skillet and cook it until it reaches your desired doneness.

Caramelized Banana Creme Anglaise

  1. Caramelize the banana in a large saucepan until it’s a medium shade of brown. Add the brown sugar and cook just until it coats the banana and caramelizes a bit. Transfer to a bowl and mash well. (puree if necessary)
  2. Set a large strainer over a medium bowl and set the bowl in a shallow pan of cold water.
  3. In the same pan, combine the dairy and vanilla; cook over moderately low heat just until small bubbles appear around the rim, about 5 minutes.
  4. In another medium bowl, whisk the sugar and yolks until combined. Whisk in half of the hot milk in a thin stream. Pour the mixture into the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until the sauce has thickened slightly, 4 to 5 minutes. Mix in the bananas. Immediately strain into a bowl set in a cold water bath. Serve right away or press plastic wrap onto the surface and refrigerate until chilled.

Assembly

  1. Create a generous moat/pond/lake/ocean of sauce on your plate, depending on how much you love it and how strong your willpower is. Artfully display/stack French toast on top. Garnish as desired, with freshly sliced bananas (freshly sliced so they don’t oxidize), strawberries, chocolate, toasted nuts (there's chopped almonds used for the photographed batch, but walnuts and macadamia nuts sound fab, too).

Recipe Notes

Inspired by The Bongo Room, Chicago. French toast adapted from Sara Moulton. Creme anglaise adapted from Grace Parsi via Food & Wine.

I've only had the Trader Joe's chocolate babka (found near all their tarts and baked goods), and can't comment on how other ones would taste in this. The TJ's version is pretty chocolatey and sweet, so you may need to adjust the amount of cocoa/sugar in the French toast custard/dip to account for variances between your babka and the TJ's one.

If you're having trouble tracking down chocolate babka, try Trader Joe's and Albertson's. However, you don't need to use chocolate babka. Challah works fine, though it won't be as rich. If you use a bread that doesn't have chocolate baked into it, I'd suggest adding 3-4 T granulated sugar and increasing the cocoa by 1-2 T (for 3-4 T total) for the custard, depending on taste. You may need more custard/dip for the bread, depending on how thick your slices are, how long you let them soak, etc. I'd also recommend adding chopped dark chocolate on top of the hot French toast so that you still get the melty/gooey chocolate factor.

If you're lazy and reallllyyyy don't care about your caloric intake, stir the caramelized banana puree into some melted vanilla ice cream and forgo making the custard. It's hardcore dessert and not breakfast at this point.