This fluffy, delicious healthy french toast casserole with cocoa, raspberries & pecans is full of flavour, crunch and fruity goodness. Great for everyday or special occasion breakfast/brunch.
This healthy french toast casserole comes with refreshing raspberries, crunchy maple pecans and nutritious cocoa. Perfect for your Father’s Day brunch. Because dads love chocolate too!
If you like French toast I am convinced you will love this recipe. There are so many advantages to making French toast in a skillet! First of all, rather than making individual portions, which can be time consuming, the amount of French toast mixture in the skillet will easily be enough for 2 very hungry or 3 moderately hungry mouths.
Preparation takes minutes and the time needed for the bread to absorb the egg mixture depends on how soft/fresh your bread is (I used soft rolls and waited approximately 8 minutes).
Best bread to use in French toast casserole
It’s perfectly ok to use stale bread in this recipe, although you might have to wait a bit longer for the mixture to get absorbed. Soft bread works best in this chocolate French toast recipe, which is why I used rolls. (Use white or whole wheat, or a combination of the two).
I’ve used buns in several other French toast recipes – the ‘eggy’ buns create and really fluffy French toast! Check out this Healthy French Toast Casserole with Bananas. This is a great alternative to banana bread if you’ve got overripe bananas. These gorgeous Strawberry Vanilla French Toast Muffins would make a delicious Valentine’s Day breakfast. My Low Sugar French Toast Casserole with Blueberries is packed full of fibre and fruity goodness. There is no need to add any toppings!
How much sugar should I use
The amount of sugar I used in this recipe is minimal. I added 2 tablespoons of muscovado sugar (for its caramel notes) into the egg mixture and a drizzle of maple syrup over the top (approx. 2 tablespoons). My aim was to tone down the bitterness of the cacao rather than make this dish taste sweet. Use a little more maple syrup for serving if you like.
Cacao vs Cocoa
I used cacao powder in this french toast casserole but cocoa powder is fine too. They are not exactly the same product. The difference lies in the way they are produced. Both are products of the same cacao bean. But while raw cacao powder is produced by cold-pressing raw cacao beans (turns out cold-pressing doesn’t only apply to oil) cocoa powder is raw cacao that’s been roasted at high temperatures. As a result, cocoa powder has a lower nutritional value than raw cacao (at least according to the sources I’ve consulted). This probably explains why it’s cheaper.
My favourite part in making this healthy french toast casserole was putting the skillet under the grill for a few minutes just before serving. (See my Instructions below). This is a crucial step as it ensures the top is crispy (while the middle remains soft and fluffy) and the pecans are lightly browned and delicious. My face was beaming when I saw the end result! I hope yours will be too:)
Healthy Chocolate French Toast with Raspberries & Pecans
- 2 large rolls/buns or 3 slices of toast soft works best
- 4 eggs
- 90 ml semi-skimmed milk
- 2 heaped teaspoons cacao or cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons dark muscovado sugar
- 1/2 cup frozen raspberries
- Handful of pecans
- Knob of butter approx. 1 teaspoon
- Maple syrup and more raspberries if you wish for serving
- In a large bowl combine the eggs, milk, cocoa and sugar and whisk to remove all lumps. Tear the bread into chunks, add to the egg mixture and stir through. Set aside for 8-10 minutes until most of the egg mixture has been absorbed (if you are using stale bread you might have to wait a little longer).
- Add the raspberries and stir carefully. In a medium skillet (20 cm in diameter) heat up the butter (be careful not to burn it), add the French toast mixture, scatter the pecans on top, lower the heat, cover and cook slowly for approximately 12 minutes.
- Remove from the heat, drizzle lightly with maple syrup and stick under the grill for about 3-4 minutes until the pecans have browned a little. Alternatively give it a 5-minute blast in a very hot oven (or even use a blow torch to crisp up the top). Drizzle with more maple syrup, add more raspberries if you wish and serve immediately!
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