Healthy French toast with a hidden chocolate layer
Time for a confession. As a child, I never once celebrated Mother’s Day. My parents thought the holiday was nothing more than a cheesy excuse to sell greeting cards, and who was I to argue?
But after I became a mother myself? Oh. My. God.
I’d spent years working 80 hours a week as a restaurant chef, and that was nothing compared to the amount of work required of the mother of a newborn. I buckled down and got the job done, but not without help. And not before establishing that in our house we’d most certainly be celebrating Mother’s Day. And not just once a year, but once a week. Every Sunday.
Once Ruthie — my dear daughter — began to grow up, she and I started baking together. Our first project was pizza. Nothing if not kid-friendly, pizza is just as much fun to knead and shape as Play-Doh. (And, unlike Play-Doh, it’s delicious.) Meanwhile, I was doing my best to keep sugar from entering Miss Ruth’s ecosystem. Sure enough, somehow someone at some point introduced her to sweets, and to ice cream and chocolate in particular. (Let’s blame her young baby sitter.)
With the genie out of the bottle, I added some sweet items to our mother-daughter repertoire. Then, when Ruthie was about 5, I invented a special recipe just for her. It incorporated two of her favorite things, French toast and chocolate. And I added one of mine, raspberries. Not only did my little chocoholic love the taste of our French toast, she also loved to make it.
The inspiration to pair up bread and chocolate had its origins in a trip I took to France with my family when I was 13. I was more than intrigued when I noticed French school children digging into a most unusual after-school snack: a healthy hunk of baguette, sliced in half and stuffed with a big piece of dark chocolate. (I had a sweet tooth of my own once upon a time.)
The following recipe — perfect for breakfast-in-bed for Mom on Mother’s Day — is a little healthier than the original. We start with whole-wheat bread, replace some of the whole eggs with egg whites, and swap in raspberry sauce for maple syrup. Complement the finished French toast with some freshly-squeezed orange juice and a pot of freshly brewed coffee, and you’re off to the races.