Make the French toast: Whisk the egg yolks, milk, vanilla, orange juice and zest, brown sugar, cinnamon, garam masala and a pinch of salt in a large glass baking dish.
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees F. Put a wire rack on a baking sheet and place in the oven.
Set a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tablespoon butter. While the butter melts, prick a few holes on each side of a slice of bread with a fork. Lay it in the egg mixture and, using either a fork or your hands, push the bread into the egg mixture so the bread loosens up a little and soaks up the liquid. Flip and repeat.
Using a slotted spatula or tongs, pick up the bread, allowing the excess egg mixture to drip off, and lay it in the hot pan. As the first side is cooking, 2 to 3 minutes, push chocolate chips and chopped dates into the soft, uncooked side of the bread. Be assertive! Then flip and cook 2 to 3 more minutes. Remove and set on the rack in the oven to stay warm. Repeat with the remaining slices of bread, adding more butter to the pan if needed.
Meanwhile, make the syrup: Combine the maple syrup and bourbon. Warm it in the microwave, if you want. (You can make the syrup the night before; store in a jar in the fridge, then warm before serving.)
Photograph by Kat Teutsch
Recipe courtesy Aarti Sequeira for Food Network Magazine