Double Chocolate Croissant French Toast Casserole

published Dec 22, 2021
christmas
Double Chocolate Croissant French Toast Casserole Recipe

Soak stale croissants in a chocolate milk custard and shower the whole thing with chocolate chips for the most decadent breakfast imaginable.

Serves8

Prep10 minutes

Cook50 minutes

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chocolate french toast challah
Credit: Photo: Christopher Testani; Food Styling: Jesse Szewczyk

French toast has always been one of my favorite breakfast/brunch dishes. I blame my childhood best friend. When I was younger, I used to sleep over at her house every other weekend. Her household always had a ton of snacks that were contraband in my own, so during our sleepovers I would feast on all the soda, Pop-Tarts, and candy they had in their pantry.

In the morning, my friend’s mom would make me, my friend, and her two little sisters French toast from scratch. We’d wait impatiently as she griddled slices of brioche one by one. When she finally handed us each of our plates, we’d yell excitedly and promptly douse our servings with maple syrup and whipped cream.

In an attempt to recreate this fond childhood memory in my adult years, I invited a handful of friends over for brunch with the promise of fresh French toast. It was only then that I realized what an ABSOLUTE chore it was to make French toast for a group! I was stuck at the stovetop, griddling individual servings, missing out on all the mimosas and fun conversations at the dining table. I thought to myself that there had to be a better way.

And there is! This recipe lets you to make several servings all at once by baking multiple servings of French toast as a casserole. This particular recipe is adapted from my cookbook, Weeknight Baking, but with a decadent, holiday-worthy twist. 

To make it extra special, I subbed in croissants (in place of stale bread) and added lots of chocolate by way of chocolate milk and chocolate chips. The best part about this recipe is that it’s easily customizable — feel free to throw in other mix-ins, like chopped nuts and dried fruit, and use whatever kind of bread and milk you have on hand. 

Note that it’s normal for the croissants to absorb about 80% of the custard. There will likely be some custard still in the bottom of the pan when you place the casserole in the oven. Once baked, the casserole is like bread pudding with a breakfasty twist!

Double Chocolate Croissant French Toast Casserole Recipe

Soak stale croissants in a chocolate milk custard and shower the whole thing with chocolate chips for the most decadent breakfast imaginable.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 50 minutes

Serves 8

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

  • Cooking spray

  • 4 to 6

    stale large croissants (10 to 12 ounces total)

  • 1 (10-ounce) bag

    mini chocolate chips (about 1 1/2 cups), divided

  • 6

    large eggs

  • 2 cups

    chocolate milk

  • 1 cup

    heavy cream

  • 3 tablespoons

    packed light or dark brown sugar (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon

    vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon

    ground cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon

    kosher salt

  • Whipped cream and maple syrup, for serving

Instructions

  1. Lightly coat a 9x13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

  2. Halve 4 to 6 stale large croissants lengthwise and place them in the prepared pan, overlapping them as needed but as little as possible to fill the pan completely. Sprinkle 1 cup of the mini chocolate chips in between the slices.

  3. Place 6 large eggs in a large bowl and whisk until light and foamy. Add 2 cups chocolate milk, 1 cup heavy cream, 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar if desired, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and whisk until combined.

  4. Slowly pour the mixture over the croissants, giving each individual slice a few seconds to absorb as much of the liquid as it can. Use the back of a spoon to press gently on the croissants to help them absorb the liquid. Cover the baking dish and refrigerate at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.

  5. Arrange a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F.

  6. Uncover the baking dish. Sprinkle the remaining mini chocolate chips (about 1/2 cup) evenly over the croissants. Bake until crispy and golden-brown, puffed around the edges, and a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before serving with whipped cream and maple syrup.

Recipe Notes

Chocolate chips: 10 ounces regular chocolate chips can be used in place of the mini chocolate chips.

Stale croissants: It’s important to use croissants that are slightly stale and past their prime, as they will crisp up in the oven better. If you have time, I recommend slicing them a few days before making the recipe and letting them sit out at room temperature uncovered to ensure that the croissants properly dry out.

Nuts: You can add 1/2 to 1 cup chopped nuts like almonds, hazelnuts, and/or pecans if desired. Sprinkle between the layers of croissant along with the 1 cup chocolate chips.

Storage: The baked casserole can be refrigerated, loosely covered in plastic wrap, for up to 3 days. Reheat in a 350ºF oven until warmed through, 10 to 15 minutes. For an extra-crispy top, I also recommend broiling until the top of the casserole is crispy and browned, 1 to 2 minutes.

The baked casserole can also be frozen for up to 3 months. Cut into individual portions and wrap the portions in 2 layers of plastic wrap. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat in the microwave, oven, or pan-fry until crispy and browned.