It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s cherry season and this Dark Chocolate Cherry French Toast Bake is the perfect way to celebrate the season! We’re talking thin slices of bread, dipped in a cocoa-y egg mixture, baked with fresh cherries, and topped with melted dark chocolate! Umm, maybe this should be dessert, not breakfast?!
Happy summer friends! How did you spend your first official weekend of summer? While June in Newfoundland has been less than summery, we had a bit of a turnaround this past weekend. We had some warm temps and sunshine (at least for one day) and, while it was windy, it was lovely enough for coffee on our back deck and a hike on some nearby trails. I am now officially pumped for summer!
Of course, the weather isn’t the only reason I’m pumped. All the seasonal fruit has me pretty excited too! This past weekend, I picked up my first container of peaches, and blueberries are finally a decent size. And most importantly, I picked up some more cherries. This is my third container already, and I’m pretty sure I will need to re-stock by the end of the week! I mean, is there anything better than these juicy red gems!?
While these beauties are great for snacking or adding to smoothie bowls, they really shine when paired with dark chocolate. And since breakfast is my favourite meal of the day, this Dark Chocolate Cherry French Toast Bake wasn’t a stretch to come up with. It’s chocolatey, easy to make, and feeds a crowd! Pretty much summer brunch perfection!
What type of bread should you use for this Dark Chocolate Cherry French Toast Bake?
- While any kind of bread will work in this bake, I like to you President’s Choice Protein Bread. This isn’t a sponsored post, it’s just one of my favourite breads to use in recipes. It’s thinly sliced and made with grains, seeds and chickpeas. The shape also works perfectly for layering in this dish.
- If you can’t find this protein bread or something similarly, you can use sourdough, Italian or French bread, whatever you prefer. You just want to make sure the shape of the bread conforms to the shape of the baking dish you’re using. I used a 8″ x 10″ oval baking dish, so an oval loaf worked well. As each slice of bread is placed upright in the dish, you also want to make sure the bread is thinly sliced so it shapes around the dish easily. See photo above.
Additional tips for making this Dark Chocolate Cherry French Toast Bake
- The egg mixture for this bake is really simple. Eggs, almond milk, cocoa and cinnamon. You can whisk all the ingredients together, but I like to use my handheld blender to ensure the cocoa and cinnamon are well blended with the eggs.
- It might seem like you have too much egg mixture, but don’t worry, you don’t. Dip each piece of bread in the mixture before placing into the baking dish. Then pour the remaining mixture over the bread assembled in the dish. The bottom of the bread will be swimming in egg, but this will bake around the bread and help keep the french toast bake together.
- While you need to bake this dish for 40-45 minutes, be careful not to over-bake as you don’t want the top of the bread (not in the egg mixture) to burn.
- I didn’t make this recipe overly sweet as it’s topped with melted dark chocolate, and if you’re anything like me, you will also add maple syrup. But if you prefer your french toast sweeter, you can always add a little bit of coconut sugar to the egg mixture.
That’s it! Scoop onto plates and serve with your desired toppings! I love adding chocolate coconut cream and a little drizzle of maple syrup! And a sprinkle of sea salt is delish too!
How do you enjoy your french toast? Let me know in the comments below. And if you make this one, be sure to share a photo on Instagram and tag @crumbtopbaking so I’ll be sure to see it.
And if you’re looking for other cherry inspired recipes, be sure to check out the following:Print
Dark Chocolate Cherry French Toast Bake
Dark Chocolate Cherry French Toast Bake is the perfect brunch bake for cherry season! It’s loaded with fresh cherries and melted dark chocolate, and it’s super easy to make. Whip this one up to serve for breakfast, brunch or even dessert!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 45 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
- Category: Breakfast
- 12 slices of bread, thinly sliced and stale (see note)
- 8 large eggs
- 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (or milk of your choice)
- 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 cups fresh cherries, pitted and chopped
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
- 1 tbsp coconut oil, virgin and cold-pressed
- Optional toppings:
- Chocolate coconut cream
- Whipped cream
- Maple syrup
- Sea salt
- Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and grease an oval baking dish (I used a 8″ x 10″ dish).
- In a medium-sized bowl, use a whisk or handheld blender to mix together eggs, almond milk, cocoa and cinnamon.
- Dip each piece of bread into the egg mixture, coating on each side, and place in the prepared baking dish. Ensure each piece is layered into the dish upright and horizontal. Depending on the shape of your dish, you may wish to curve the pieces of bread on the ends and overlap them in the middle. Pour the remaining egg mixture over the bread that’s arranged in the dish.
- Sprinkle the cherries on top of the bread, tucking some in between slices to ensure they are baked in throughout the french toast.
- Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the french toast bake is firm and the top is browned. Remove from oven.
- Add the chocolate and coconut oil to a microwave safe bowl and microwave for two 30 second intervals, or until chocolate chips are melted. Be sure to stir in between intervals.
- Drizzle half of the chocolate over the french toast bake, reserving the remainder to drizzle on individual servings.
- Scoop onto plates and serve with desired toppings.
- Store any leftovers in the fridge and enjoy within 2-3 days.
- I used President’s Choice Protein Bread in this recipe but you could also use sourdough, Italian or French bread, whatever you prefer. You just want to make sure the shape of the bread conforms to the shape of the baking dish you’re using. I used an oval dish, so an oval loaf of bread worked well.
- Thin slices of bread also work better for shaping around the baking dish. And make sure the bread is stale. If it’s too fresh, the french toast may turn out mushy.