8 ounces mascarpone cheese, softened at room temperature
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 tsp. instant espresso powder
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Challah bread, about 12-14 ounces
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting
Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9 X 5-inch loaf pan with non-stick coating spray and set aside.
In a microwave safe bowl, heat the dark chocolate in 20-30 second intervals, stirring between each interval, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Add the mascarpone cheese and stir until the two are well combined. If it’s difficult to combine, microwave the mixture an additional 20-30 seconds to further soften it. Set aside.
In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, whole milk, espresso powder and vanilla extra. Pour the mixture into a shallow pan. Set aside.
Slice the challah bread into 1-inch thick slices. Then cut the slices in half. Spread about a tablespoon of the chocolate-mascarpone mixture on half of the slices, then place the other slices on top (like you are making a sandwich). Working with a couple pieces at a time, add the sandwiches to the egg-milk mixture and let them soak for about a minute. Then flip them and let them soak on the second side for another 30-60 seconds. Remove the pieces from the egg-milk mixture and fit them into your prepared baking pan. Continue until your baking pan is full, tucking the pieces in so they fit snuggly. Pour about 1/4 cup of the remaining egg-milk mixture over top of the slices. Discard the remaining egg-milk mixture.
Transfer the baking pan to your pre-heated oven and bake for 28-30 minutes. The top should be browned in some places and the edges should be bubbling. Remove from the oven and set aside to rest for about 5 minutes. Dust with cocoa powder and confectioner’s sugar before serving. This French toast is also great served with a side of fresh berries, whipped cream or maple syrup.
Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.