I wanted to combine the flavor of my own recipe for bittersweet chocolate stuffed French toast and another favorite of mine, Black Bottom Cupcakes, chocolate cupcakes stuffed with cream cheese and chocolate chips. The first trial was good, but needed something extra, so I chopped some candied orange peel. If you abstain from perfectionism and avoid overblending you get a different mouthful with each bite: tangy cream cheese, melty rich chocolate, and candied orange peel. —creamtea
3 and can easily be scaled up or down, by using a little more of this or less of that
cream cheese, softened
best-quality bittersweet (or semi-sweet) chocolate such as Sharffen-Berger, or more or less to taste
milk, whole or 2%
cream or half-and-half
slices challah or brioche
good-quality candied orange peel, about 3 strips, diced, or 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange peel
Break the eggs directly into a rectangular Pyrex dish that will fit all the bread slices in a single layer. Don't add the bread yet, just whisk the eggs until well-combined.
Place the cream cheese in a small bowl, and cream it with a wooden spoon until soft. Add a teaspoon or two of the eggs, then add the sugar and whisk until combined. If using grated orange peel, add it to the creamed mixture at this point. Chop the chocolate coarsely and set it aside.
To the eggs, add the cream and milk and vanilla and whisk to combine well. Put the bread slices into the Pyrex pan, flipping them so both sides absorb the egg mixture.
Heat a large non-stick skillet on medium-low heat and add the butter. Melt until foamy. Tilt the pan to distribute the butter evenly.
Divide the cream cheese among 3 of the bread slices. I like the cream cheese in several separate small dollops, but you may prefer to spread it evenly on the slices. Distribute the chocolate evenly among the 3 slices alternating with, or over, the cream cheese. Sprinkle this assemblage with the candied orange peel, if using. Top each slice with remaining soaked bread slice to form a sandwich, then carefully lift each portion with a large pancake turner and place in the skillet. Fry for several minutes until brown on the undersides, then flip and brown the second side of each portion. Remove to warmed plates. Serve. Maple syrup is optional.