Yields about 8 servings
2-8oz packages cream cheese, room temperature
¾ tsp salt
2.5 tsps vanilla
1 loaf challah or brioche, cut into 2-inch thick slices
6 large eggs
2 cups full fat eggnog (or our Chocolate Eggnog – click here for the recipe!)
1/3 cup sugar
¼ tsp nutmeg
¼ tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp brown sugar
1. In a small microwave safe bowl, melt chocolate in microwave, 30 seconds at a time, until no solid pieces are left (about 1 minute). Set aside to cool but not solidify. Pro-tip: If you want to get crazy, Toffee or Almond & Sea Salt Amaze Bars will give your filling a satisfying crunch! In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese, ¼ tsp salt, and 1 tsp vanilla until mixture is smooth. Add cooled chocolate and continue to beat until chocolate well incorporated. Transfer cream cheese mixture to a piping bag or a large Ziploc bag with a corner cut off. Set aside.
2. Cut bread into 2-inch thick slices and cut each slice in half. Using the tip of the knife, make a cut into one of the sides, making sure not to pierce through any of the other sides. Repeat with all pieces. Fill each bread pocket with the cream cheese mixture by inserting the open tip of your piping bag or ziplock bag into the cut and squeezing. If you over fill them, nobody will be angry—we promise.
3. Grease a 9” round baking dish (or a 9” x 13” baking dish) with butter. Line pieces of filled bread inside—dish should be packed. In a large bowl, combine eggs, eggnog, sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, remaining salt and remaining vanilla. Pour mixture over bread pieces until mixture comes halfway up the side of the dish. Gently press bread pieces down to ensure all of the egg mixture gets absorbed. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight (8 hours at the very least!)
4. When ready to bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Uncover French toast and sprinkle an even layer of brown sugar. Bake French toast for 45 minutes or until the center no longer wobbles. Serve immediately.