Hazelnut mascarpone French toast sandwiches

For chef, author and travel expert, Aida Mollenkamp, brunch means fun times with friends, a relaxing start to the day, and good food. We’ve asked her for her favourite weekend recipe, and being a sweet tooth, she shared this delicious hazelnut mascarpone French toast recipe from her book Keys to the Kitchen with us. 

Preparation time: 10 min, Total time: 30 min, Serves 3 – 6 (6 sandwiches) 

Ingredients

The filling
115g mascarpone or cream cheese (1/4 cup or 115g)
100g cup hazelnut spread ( 100g)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract (5mL)
1/4 tsp kosher salt (2.5mL)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (1.75mL)

12 (1/2-inch thick) slices French bread

The custard
6 large eggs 
350ml half cream
50g granulated sugar
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

The garnish
Toasted hazelnuts, for garnish
Maple syrup, for garnish
Whipped cream, for garnish

Method

Heat oven to the lowest setting and place a baking sheet on the middle rack.

Stir the mascarpone or cream cheese with a spatula until soft, then stir in the remaining ingredients until thoroughly combined. Spread the mixture evenly among six slices of bread, then top with remaining six slices and lay ‘sandwiches’ in a pan or dish large enough to fit them all snugly. (French toast ‘sandwiches’ can be assembled up to four hours ahead of time.)

Whisk the custard ingredients together until eggs are broken up and evenly blended. Pour over sandwiches and set aside until the majority of the custard has been soaked up, which takes about five minutes. Rotate or flip sandwiches as needed to evenly coat.

Melt the butter in a large non-stick pan over medium-high heat. When foaming subsides, add two sandwiches to the pan. Fry until golden brown on one side, flip carefully then fry on the other side.

When sandwiches are finished, move them to the oven and repeat to cook the remaining French toast. When ready to serve, remove the baking sheet from the oven and transfer the French toast to a plate. Serve topped with hazelnuts, maple syrup and whipped cream as desired.

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