How to make the best French toast ever? Just swap out white bread and use chocolate babka instead. By way of Eastern Europe, babka is a bready cake or cakey bread—yeast-raised, sweet, and layered with lots of good stuff, like gooey chocolate or sugary cinnamon. Here, we’re using the chocolate kind. It’s an all-too-easy way to take a breakfast classic and make it weekend-decadent. A few favorite ways to top it off: confectioners’ sugar, salted butter and maple syrup, or sour cream and jam.
A note about sourcing: I usually buy chocolate babka at Jewish delis, but some supermarkets sell it as well. If you can’t find it wherever you live, feel free to substitute another sweet, swirly bread (think cinnamon-raisin). It’ll be different, but still delicious. —Emma Laperruque
In a wide, shallow bowl or rimmed plate (I actually like a pie pan best), combine the milk, eggs, and salt. Whisk with a fork until smooth.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the butter to melt completely.
Dip the babka slices in the milk-egg mixture, flipping once, until totally soaked through. Add to the hot, buttered pan. Cook until deeply golden brown on both sides. (Depending on the size of your pan, you may have to fry the French toast in two batches.)
Serve on the immediate, with whatever toppings strike your fancy. (Ideas in the headnote!)
Emma is a writer and recipe developer at Food52. Before this, she worked a lot of odd jobs, all at the same time. Think: stir-frying noodles "on the fly," baking dozens of pastries at 3 a.m., reviewing restaurants, and writing articles about everything from how to use leftover mashed potatoes to the history of pies in North Carolina. Now she lives in Maplewood, New Jersey with her husband and their cat, Butter. Stay tuned every Tuesday for Emma's cooking column, Big Little Recipes, all about big flavor and little ingredient lists. And see what she's up to on Instagram and Twitter at @emmalaperruque.