Banana & Peanut Butter Baked French Toast

Posted by on Monday May 20th, 2013 | Print

Yesterday, in an uncharacteristic move, I served a pair of French toast dishes for brunch. I made two pans of baked blueberry and strawberry French toast, both rich with half and half and butter. Then I made a third pan of dairy-free baked French toast, that one rich with peanut butter and flavorful with bites of brown sugar-crusted banana. Surprisingly, the banana-peanut butter combo was the biggest hit, and friends gobbled it up alongside slices of bacon, roasted potatoes with homemade tomato chutney, and bloody Marys.

Though I’ve long advocated baked French toast as a brunch staple, I rarely serve platters of the rich, carby main. This is because I don’t love sweet breakfasts and brunches, and the host has to eat too.

But yesterday’s gloom and a desire for ease saw me running home from the supermarket two hours before friends were due to arrive with loaves of fluffy Portuguese white bread ready to be turned into French toast. I loved serving the two variations, and though my oven suffered from being overstuffed with pans of potatoes, bacon, and the French toast, brunch came together and we had a blast.

Also, I though I’d mention that I had never made my own bloody Marys before yesterday. But I’m one hundred percent stirring them together for all future brunches. (I followed Ina’s recipe.) Do you have a signature bloody Mary ingredient?

**Recipe**

Banana & Peanut Butter Baked French Toast
Serves 8 to 10 as part of brunch

I made this completely dairy free, using almond milk and safflower oil. If you’re not worried about dairy, it’s fine to make this with milk and butter. This is awesome for brunch parties, since you can assemble the pans before you go out the night before and then pop them in the oven before guests arrive.

Ingredients
3 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk, or whole milk
6 eggs
1/4 cup peanut butter, smooth or chunky, at room temperature
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons light brown sugar
6 tablespoons safflower oil or melted butter
2 teaspoons safflower oil or butter, at room temperature, for the pan
1 loaf challah or good white bread, cut into 10 to 12 slices (about 2 inches thick)
2 ripe bananas, cut into 2-inch slices

In a large bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, peanut butter, salt, 5 tablespoons of the light brown sugar, and the 6 tablespoons melted butter or oil.

With the 2 teaspoons butter or oil, grease a baking pan that is large enough to fit all the bread slices. (You’ll probably need a 9-by-13-inch pan plus possibly a smaller square or round pan.) Arrange the bread in it. Wedge the banana slices in between the bread. Pour the egg mixture over the fruit and bread, pressing down on each piece to make sure it’s submerged. Let rest for 1 hour at room temperature, or longer (even overnight) in the fridge.

About 20 minutes before you are ready to bake, preheat the oven to 400°F. Sprinkle the remaining 1 tablespoon brown sugar over the top. Bake the French toast for 25 minutes, or until the bread is golden and crusty and the slices are cooked through (cut open and peek if you’re not sure). You can serve this immediately, or cool it up to 30 minutes and serve room temperature.

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  • caitlyn

    Great idea for a French toast flavor combination!

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Thanks!

  • http://aweekfromthursday.com/ heidi

    My gosh, you’ve taken challah french toast to a whole new level. I’ve got to make this.

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      I really did. Ha!

  • http://twitter.com/wvanillasugar Warm Vanilla Sugar

    Such a fabulous flavour combo! This looks awesome!

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Glad you like!

  • http://twitter.com/GraceDickinson Grace Dickinson

    I don’t love sweet breakfasts as much as savory ones either, but I do LOVE banana and peanut butter, and eat that combo almost daily. I’m sure I’d love this as a change-up for brunch. Looks amazing.

    -Grace @ FoodFitnessFreshAir.com

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Coming from a savory breakfast gal, I have to say–this wasn’t all that sweet.

  • Jaime @ laviejaime

    this is SO up my alley…thanks!

  • Sami

    Oh wow. This looks amazing! I wonder though, do you think it would turn out as well with wheat bread?

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      With good wheat bread, this should still be delicious (assuming you like the taste of wheat bread).

      • Sami

        Okay awesome! I’m in San Francisco and there’s an amazing bakery called The Mill a block from my apartment. Going to grab a loaf this weekend!

  • Tracy

    Could you use coconut oil instead of safflower oil? We have some challah leftover from Rosh Hashana, that we thought we’d make into french toast this wkend. Thanks!

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      I think so! So long as you love the taste!

  • Rachel

    I’m using sourdough because it’s all I had, and halved the recipe. I’ve been on this website daily for almost two weeks now and have tried at least 10 recipes, even though I had to revise a few. I haven’t been anything less than ecstatic so far. I hope this is delicious in the morning. I’ve wanted French toast for days now. :)

    • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

      Rachel–so glad you’ve been enjoying so much BGSK food! What else have you made? I’d love to know. Hope you enjoyed the French toast! xx

      • Rachel

        That French toast made my day. I’m serious, the whole day was better. I’ve also made the spicy crunchy hummus wraps, grits and an olive oil fried egg (my new favorite), the best brownies were a great crowd pleaser, baked eggs with smoky potatoes, chipotle asparagus quesadillas, enchiladas, black bean dip, the golden zucchini sandwich is my new go to grilled cheese, cooked greek style greens, the spinach quesadilla, chai tea (which I can get enough of, hot or cold), the tuna sandwich with sun dried tomatoes and hot peppers and the everyday salad with zucchini and walnuts.
        I have absolutely adored all of these things in all of their simplicity and goodness.
        Next up, I’m making the grapefruit cookies and lamb burgers. Thank you, for such great ideas in my small kitchen on my college student budget. It makes me truly happy. :)

        • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

          This is such a fabulous assortment – I am over the moon happy that you’re finding cooking inspiration in these pages!