Calling all sweet tooths! This decadent French toast recipe features caramelized bananas, Frangelico liqueur, fluffy cream cheese and over the top divine homemade Hazelnut chocolate glaze. There are no words other than “simply divine.”
Courtesy of Monki Bistro in Calgary, Alberta.
Egg Wash and Assembly
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and roast for 12 to 15 minutes, until fragrant. Put hot hazelnuts in a mason jar with the lid on and shake, the papery skins will fall off. Remove the nuts that are now skinless and put them in the blender, then re-shake the jar until the rest of the skins come off.
Grind the hazelnuts for about 5 minutes and until they turn into a creamy hazelnut butter. Add the sugar, cocoa powder, canola oil, vanilla, and salt. Blend for 1 minute until all the ingredients are combined and smooth.
Add milk and sugar into a small, heavy bottomed saucepan. Heat it on a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mix to a simmer over medium low heat. Important, do not stir until the mix starts to simmer otherwise it can crack and crystalize.
Gently simmer for roughly 35-40 minutes, or until the milk has darkened to an almost grey colour, has reduced by half and thickened slightly. Skim the foam on the top with a spoon.
When ready, remove from the heat and pour into a container to cool.
Sprinkle the yeast over the water in a small bowl and add a pinch of sugar. Stir to dissolve the yeast and let stand until you see a thin, frothy layer across the top.
Combine dry ingredients and whisk 4 cups of the flour, sugar, and salt. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the eggs, egg yolk, and oil. Whisk to form a slurry.
For the dough preparation, pour the yeast mixture over the egg slurry. Beat until the dough is difficult to mix. Remove dough mixture from bowl and place on counter. Knead dough by hand for about 10 minutes. If it seems sticky, add a teaspoon (5 mL) of flour at a time until it feels tacky.
The dough has finished kneading when it is soft, smooth, and holds a ball-shape.
To rise the dough, place batter in an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap. Set somewhere warm. Let dough rise until doubled in bulk, roughly 1 ½ to 2 hours.
To make the ropes, separate dough into three equal pieces. Roll each piece of dough into 3 individual ropes, roughly 1 inch (3 cm) thick by 16 inches (40 cm) long. To braid the dough, gather 3 ropes and squeeze them together at the top. Braid the ropes together like braiding hair or yarn and squeeze the ends together when complete.
Let the challah rise. Line a baking sheet with parchment and lift the loaf on top. Sprinkle the loaf with a dusting of flour and drape it with a clean dishcloth.
Place the pan somewhere warm and away from drafts and let it rise until puffed and pillowy, about an hour.
About 20 minutes before baking, heat the oven to 350°F and brush the challah with reserved egg white mixed with 1 tablespoon (15 mL) of water. Slide the challah onto a baking sheet & place in oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through cooking.
The challah is done when it is deeply browned and registers 190°F in the very middle with an instant-read thermometer.
Let the challah cool for 5 min before cutting.
Cut bananas in half. Sauté bananas and butter in frying pan and let cool. Add cinnamon sticks.
In a separate bowl, add cream cheese, then once cooled, add banana mixture.
Add wet spice blend and Frangelico to banana mixture. Set aside.
Mix all ingredients together.
Cut 2 x 1-inch (3 cm) slices of the challah bread.
Stuff challah bread with 3 tablespoons (45 mL) of reserved stuffing mix.
Dip challah bread with stuffing in egg wash mix for 2 minutes.
Place egg wash dipped challah bread on non-stick pan, grill and sear each side.
Place pan seared challah bread, or now French toast, in the oven at 450ºF for 2 minutes.
To plate, add French toast to mini skillet or dish.
Top with 3 oz (85 grams) of reserved hazelnut chocolate.
Top with 1 tablespoon (15 mL) reserved condensed milk, making angular lines. Enjoy!