As a mom, I'm always thinking about creating wonderful experiences and traditions for my kids to remember. Food is linked to so many of my best childhood memories and the connections are endless — food aromas and tastes can remind us of a season, a time of day, an occasion, an emotion, a person, etc.
When I was growing up, my friend Tanja always brought jars of Nutella home from her summer visits to family in Germany. She introduced me to this creamy, chocolate-hazelnut combination. Nutella always brings my mind to summertime in Tanja's kitchen, and digging right into the jar with a spoon!
While honestly, I find Nutella excellent on its own, I continue to think of new ways to incorporate it into recipes. In the summer, with a less structured schedule and lazy mornings, why not hang out in pajamas and create an amazing breakfast with it? I love baking, rather than sauteing French Toast, as it becomes nicely browned on the surface and incredibly airy inside — like a souffle with a thin crust and the whole family will delight to find a bit of Nutella in each bite. And these lazy, Nutella filled, summer mornings will become lovely childhood memories for your own little ones!
- 1 loaf Brioche or other rich egg bread
- 6 eggs
- 1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided into two bowls
- 1/2 cup Nutella
Serves 6 to 8
Heat the oven to 400 degrees and, using a serrated knife, cut the bread into 6 thick, even slices. Then cut each slice in half diagonally. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs until they are slightly frothy. Whisk in the milk, vanilla, sugar and cinnamon until well blended. Gently dredge each piece of bread in the milk mixture and place them in a large baking dish. Pour the remaining milk mixture over the bread and let stand for at least 30 minutes – and up to four hours – in the refrigerator, turning them halfway through to ensure they will be evenly moistened.
Put two tablespoons of the butter on two separate baking sheets and place in the oven until the butter melts and the pans are hot. Tilt the pans so the butter is evenly spread over them. Place the soaked bread slices on the hot pans, spacing them evenly. Bake for approximately 15 minutes. Flip each slice with a spatula and bake for another 10 minutes, until the bread is golden brown and has puffed up a bit. Using a paring knife, gently make a slit horizontally into each slice of baked bread. Using a small spreading knife, carefully spread about two teaspoons of Nutella into the slits in each slice of French toast. Place in the oven for another five minutes to heat.