As soon as I saw this recipe printed on a recent Williams Sonoma catalog, I knew that I had to make these. I love having bananas for breakfast; and love them in all of my baked goods. I don’t normally make French Toast at home not because I don’t love them-but because I don’t have access to places that sells breads that would make wonderful French Toast. This was a great excuse for me to make Challah; which I had been putting off for a very long time. While this recipe calls for a specialized panini maker; I think they be as wonderful as well on a regular griddle; you just need to flip them to ensure that both sides get browned. I really loved how the caramelized bananas inside the gorgeous challah slices really added sweetness and interesting contrast of texture to the crispy bread. I think having the right kind of bread is very critical in this recipe. If you are looking for something special to make; this may be one to try. Next time, I would also double the amount of caramelized bananas and used them as topping as well. Happy eating!
In case you’re looking for more breakfast recipes that uses this power fruit; check out the following recipes:
Recipe by Chef Bryan Voltaggio via Williams Sonoma
2 Tbs. unsalted butter
2 Tbs. plus 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbs. water
2 large ripe bananas, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch rounds
1-lb. loaf day-old challah, ends trimmed, bread cut into 6 slices, each 1 1/2 inches thick
2 cups milk
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. granulated honey ( I used 1/4 tsp of regular honey–not sure if this was the correct amount)
Seeds from 1/4 vanilla bean
In large sauté pan over medium heat, melt the butter. When the foam subsides, add the 2 Tbs. granulated sugar and the water, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cook until the mixture is lightly caramelized, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the bananas and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and let cool. Using a small, sharp knife, cut a slit 2 inches long in one side of each bread slice, cutting three-fourths of the way. Stuff the pockets with the banana mixture, dividing evenly.
Preheat an electric panini maker to “panini” mode. Set a wire rack on a baking sheet.
In a large bowl, combine the milk, eggs, cinnamon, granulated honey, the 1/2 cup granulated sugar and the vanilla bean seeds and blend with an immersion blender. Pour into a baking dish. Soak half of the bread slices for 5 minutes, turning occasionally.
Place the bread on the panini maker and cook, adjusting the top plate so it lightly presses the bread, until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Transfer to the rack-lined baking sheet. Soak and cook the remaining bread slices. Serve the French toast with maple syrup and your favorite toppings.