Thursday, January 14, 2010

Divine Strawberry Nutella Stuffed French Toast

This stuffed French toast is the ultimate chocolate lover's French toast. And if you have never had Nutella, oh are you in for a treat! It is this wonderful import from Italy that is a creamy chocolate and hazelnut spread. Paired with strawberries, it becomes the ultimate stuffing for French toast.
I was introduced to Nutella about 5 years ago. What a wonderful introduction that was. Now, I find different ways to incorporate it to desserts and treats. This stuffed French toast came about when my daughter Grace asked for chocolate for breakfast.

So I take some frozen strawberries from the freezer, of course, and get them defrosted. The best is fresh, but in the middle of Winter that's a bit difficult.  I like to keep a couple bags of frozen fruit in the freezer since there are always times that my girls want some on the fly.

I then slice them into 1/4" thick slices. Keeping them uniform will allow everything to sit nicely in the center of the French toast.

These little lovelies were stolen from Charming's hazelnut stash. They will be joining the party later on.

Then I grab my whole wheat bread...I just really like the flavor of French toast so much better when wheat bread is used. It gives it a kind of nuttiness. Next the Nutella gets opened and I take out a nice knife full of it on over to the bread slices. I lather it onto one slice to begin with.

The Nutella gets topped it with as many sliced strawberries as I can in one layer, without going over the sides. As much as I love this pairing, I don't want it all to end up in the skillet instead of my plate.

Now the second slice gets it's slathering of Nutella on the opposite side. (that way they line-up perfectly, just like making a sandwich)

Join the two slices together. Now you could just take a bite now, and it would be absolute heaven for your taste buds, but hold off and wait for the payoff.

Notice that my sunny pal, Pooh Bear, has joined the the morning, I just need him filled with flavored coffee to get me ready for the day. Anyway, four eggs get cracked and added to a pie tin.

Each yolk gets pierced before getting to the beating. Then beat them until they are well mixed.

Just to kick things up a notch, I take an orange and start zesting. Oh yeah, orange zest is going to be gracing this dish.

Then I add a little bit of orange juice to give our toast even more "umph". Plus orange & chocolate and orange & strawberry are such beautiful combinations, I just had to add some.

Next a little bit of vanilla extract. I always add vanilla extract to my batter for my French toast. If it's not there, then something is missing.

Every French toast has to have here it is. Carefully beat it into the mix and we're ready to start dipping our Nutella & strawberry sandwiches.

Move everything over to my range. Turn the heat up to medium-high and add a couple pats of butter to the pan. (or you could do this on a griddle and get them all done at the same time)

First one into the egg bath. I let it soak for about 10-15 seconds on one side...

then I flip it over and let the other side have a quick soak.

The pan is nice and hot, the butter is melted and it's time to get this sandwich turned into French toast.

After about 3 minutes I like to lift up the toast and check to see if the center of it is golden brown. It may take up to 5 minutes, may not. Then flip it over and let the other side have it's turn.

While I'm waiting, I grab those hazelnuts and start chopping them up. Tiny, small, medium & large chunks...they all get used!

Back to the pan. Pull off the finished French it on a pretty plate, slice it in half, top it with a dusting of powdered sugar and cinnamon, then a fluffy mound of whipped cream, strawberries (and you could stop here)...

or you could take it a step further and add the chopped hazelnuts. Then hold onto my fork and go in for the first bite! HEAVEN!


Chocolate Hazelnut & Strawberry Stuffed French Toast 

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8-10 minutes each
Servings: 4

 8 Tbsp. Nutella Spread
10-12 whole Strawberries, frozen (thawed) or fresh
4 Eggs
1 Orange, zested
1 Tbsp. Orange Juice
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1 Tbsp. Cinnamon, ground
8 pieces Whole Wheat Bread
1/8 cup Hazelnuts, chopped (garnish)
2 tsp. Powdered Sugar (garnish)

Take strawberries and thaw in microwave for 1-1 1/2 minutes on "Defrost" setting. Slice each strawberry into 1/4" slices length-wise.

Take two slices of bread and spread the Nutella onto the inner part of each slice. On one slice, line the Nutella with the slices strawberries. Then combine the two slices of bread to form a sandwich.

In a pie tin or baking dish, crack the eggs and pierce each yolk. Beat until well incorporated.

Zest one orange into the eggs, making sure not to zest the pith. Add orange juice, vanilla and cinnamon to eggs. Mix until incorporated.

Over medium high heat, melt a pat of butter in a skillet or griddle. Take one sandwich and place it in the egg mixture for approximately 10-15 seconds. Flip and allow the opposite side to soak for 10-15 seconds. 

Place the battered sandwich onto the skillet or griddle. Allow it to cook for 3-5 minutes, checking for a golden brown center before flipping. Allow the opposite side to cook for 3-5 minutes.

Chop hazelnuts into bits that are as small or large as you like for topping. 

Remove French toast from heat. Plate garnished with a sprinkling of powdered sugar, sliced strawberries, hazelnuts and whipped cream.

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