You need to treat yourself this weekend. Because let’s face it, you’ve had a long week.
It’s been busy at work, with deadlines creeping up and tons of emails to respond to.
Perhaps the kids have been driving you up the wall every day, and you are ready to lock yourself in the bathroom just to get some peace.
Maybe school has been particularly stressful over last few days, and you are dreading the fact that you have so much reading to do.
Regardless of what is making you a little bonkers this week, it’s high time that you made something just for yourself – something like this decadent, indulgent, delicious breakfast casserole.
The combination of chocolate and raspberry is one that I will never get sick of. In fact, one of my favorite chocolate bars in the whole world has freeze-dried raspberries mixed into it.
Rich chocolate with tart, tangy berries is a flavor sensation that my taste buds will always love. I find myself including this pairing in a variety of recipes, and this is one my most successful achievements in that area.
Making an overnight French toast casserole is an easy way to treat yourself on a Saturday or Sunday morning. The recipe itself is very simple to pull together, and all you have to do in the morning is top the casserole and bake it.
One of my favorite things to do is to get up, throw the casserole in the oven with its gorgeous crumble topping, and go back to bed for an hour. Even if I’m not going back to sleep, I can take that time to snuggle under the covers, cuddled up with my husband and our dogs.
It forces me to take a break, and gives me a way to spend time with my family before the day actually gets started.
It’s funny how our weekends can fill up so quickly with social engagements, chores, errands, and other obligations. There seems to be a never-ending list of to-do’s beyond our workday responsibilities that creep in and swallow up our free time.
I make sure to take that extra time to chill and recharge when I can, and relaxing for a few extra minutes in bed before enjoying a plateful of overnight French toast is one of the best ways to do it.
The chocolate and fresh raspberries come together with the bread pudding-like texture of the French toast bites in the most unique and tasty way. The crumble on top brings added buttery sweetness and a bit of texture, and honestly, I will never eat another French toast casserole without it again.
Treat yourself by making this special breakfast at the end of a busy week, or bring it out for the family to share. It’s a fantastic recipe to surprise your boo with on Valentine’s Day, it will make a beautiful centerpiece for your next brunch get-together. And because you made this as a large casserole with multiple servings, leftovers are just as tasty the next day.
Sharing is not necessary, though. Just so you know…Print
Breakfast is a wonderful time to treat yourself, and there’s no better way to do it than with our Overnight Raspberry and Chocolate French Toast Casserole.
For the Casserole:
- Cooking oil spray
- 1 loaf French bread, torn into 1-inch pieces (about 16 oz or 4 cups)
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 6 large eggs
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
For the Topping:
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces (1/2 cup)
- 2/3 cup fresh raspberries
- Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with cooking oil spray. Add the bread to the pan in an even layer. Sprinkle with chocolate chips.
- Whisk together eggs, milk, cream, vanilla, and sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Pour evenly over the bread. Press the bread down into the pan, making sure it soaks up all the liquid so there are no dry spots on top. Cover with plastic wrap.
- Stir together flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Add butter pieces to the dry ingredients and cut it in with two knives or a pastry blender, until all pieces are pea-sized or smaller. Cover with plastic wrap. Place baking pan and bowl in the refrigerator overnight.
- The next morning, preheat oven to 350˚F.
- Sprinkle raspberries on casserole, and sprinkle crumble topping evenly on top. Bake for 50-60 minutes until top is golden brown and mixture is set.
- Serve with butter and raspberry or maple syrup.
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 1 hour
- Category: Casserole
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Breakfast
Keywords: breakfast casserole, French toast, French toast casserole, chocolate, raspberry
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Prep and Measure Ingredients
Using a serrated bread knife or your hands, slice or ear up the loaf of French bread into 1-inch pieces. For something a little different, you could also make this recipe with challah, brioche, or your favorite breakfast loaf. Set aside.
Cut a stick of unsalted butter up into 1-inch pieces. Set aside in the refrigerator.
Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as listed on the ingredients list.
Step 2 – Fill Pan
Prepare a 9-by-13-inch baking pan metal, glass, or ceramic baking pan by coating it with a thin layer of cooking oil spray. Spread the bread pieces in the pan, and top with the chocolate chips.
I prefer the combination of dark chocolate and fresh raspberries for this recipe, but you can use whatever type of chocolate you wish – bittersweet, milk, white, take your pick!
Chocolate bars or chunks will also work, just be sure to chop to roughly the size of chips for even distribution throughout the casserole.
Step 3 – Make Custard Base
Add the eggs, cream, milk, vanilla extract, and sugar to a medium bowl.
Whisk together until combined. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread.
Make sure you press the bread down into the pan so that it soaks up the liquid. You don’t want any dry spots on top.
Cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
Step 4 – Make Topping
Add the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon, and salt to a separate medium mixing bowl.
Stir to combine.
Cut in the butter pieces using two knives or a pastry blender, until they’re the size of peas or smaller. Cover with plastic wrap.
Step 5 – Refrigerate
Transfer the baking pan and bowl to the refrigerator. Refrigerate overnight.
Step 6 – Bake
When you’re ready to bake the next morning, preheat your oven to 350˚F.
Remove the plastic wrap, and distribute the raspberries evenly over the top of the casserole.
Sprinkle the crumble on top in an even layer, and place the baking dish in the oven. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour.
Note that the shorter recommended cooking time will yield a more bread pudding-like texture. The top will be golden brown and the mixture should be set when it is done.
Serve with butter and maple syrup, or your choice of flavored fruit syrup. For a different take on this dish, change things up with your favorite type of seasonal berries.
Simple Serving Suggestions
Many French toast casseroles are served with a dusting of powdered sugar, but I prefer to skip this option because you have that gorgeous crumble on top. There’s no need to hide the beauty of the crumble, raspberries, and chocolate chips.
Butter and maple syrup are my go-to’s, and the maple flavor is just the icing on the cake, in my humble opinion. It really highlights the bright, rich, and slightly bitter notes of raspberry and dark chocolate with a touch of earthy natural sweetness.
Are you looking for new ways to treat yourself to a quality breakfast? Here are some more recipes that you’re sure to enjoy:
- Strawberry Mascarpone Stuffed French Toast
- Chocolate Cinnamon Brioche Babka
- Overnight Vegan Pecan Sticky Buns
- Red Velvet Pancakes with Cream Cheese Glaze
When will you serve this dish? Tell us in the comments below, and come back to rate the recipe once you try it.
Photos by Megan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on February 23, 2011. Last updated: October 5, 2021 at 18:43 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.