By Jennifer Provenza at Good Food From The Heart 12/01/2020
Whole Foods Plant Based, Oil free, nut free, soy free, gluten free (if you use gluten free bread), refined sugar free
This caramelized banana French toast has a sweet, caramelized, pan crisp exterior, and a soft, melty, vanilla and cinnamon center.
Bring on the Caramelized Banana French Toast
We are starting to get in the holiday mood over here, which is definitely making me crave yummy comfort foods like French toast. At the same time, I’m really focused on trying to eat healthy amidst all the holiday cookies and things that I’m planning on baking with my girls. C has plans to open her own bakery when she grows up. She may be only five, but she’s already coming up with her business plan! She wants to work at a bakery in high school and then open her own shop after college. “But don’t worry, Mommy, I’ll still live at home with you forever.” (Sob!) She has also declared that we are no longer allowed to call her cute. When tempted to do so, we have to refer to her as fierce!
I went back to (zoom) teaching after the Thanksgiving break. I am so lucky to love my job! I always find being with my students rejuvenating. Today I asked them what they plan to do to change the world and their answers ranged from going zero waste to helping to save shelter dogs. The younger generation truly gives me hope!
Oh, and of course we are busy making plans for December and all the pre-Christmas prep work. I have a elf to set up, an advent calendar of activities for each day of the month, a tree to buy and decorate, and Christmas cards to prep and mail. It’s a list of stuff, but honestly, I love holidays and special occasions so much. I’m looking forward to most of it. In fact, I’m a little scared about what quarantine in January is going to look like without a fun break to look forward to.
About the Recipe
Anyway, as I’m getting in the holiday spirit over here, I’m enjoying making some breakfasts besides the usual oatmeal M demands every morning. And, I am in LOVE with this Caramelized Banana French Toast. When I originally started eating a whole foods plant based diet, I found lots of good recipes for waffles and pancakes, but French toast…not so much. Some recipes used chia seeds, which made a great pudding, but seemed to turn out gloppy and gelatinous on French toast. Ground flax seeds are something I use all the time in baking in place of eggs, but again, for French toast, I ended up with a lot of visible, gooey flax seeds on the outside. Bottled egg substitute was passable, but took a long time to cook and isn’t carried in most stores around me, so I often don’t have it in the house. And…let’s face it, I need to be able to make French toast at a moment’s notice.
Bananas, though, what a revelation! I’ve used them as an egg substitute in baking, but somehow, I never before thought to use them for French toast. It seemed like they would be very…banana-y. It turns out, though, that very thing I thought would make them not work, is exactly what makes them work so well! I found that, when I cooked this banana-dipped French toast, the bananas on the outside of the bread caramelized in the pan and the result was absolutely out of this world. One bite of this French toast and I knew that I would be making a double recipe next time. The sweet, caramelized, pan crisp exterior, the soft, melty, vanilla and cinnamon center….mmm. I think I may just have to go make some more right now!
This recipe works best using canned coconut milk. I use lite coconut milk, but full fat will work as well. For a less rich version, you can substitute any non dairy milk. For a really special treat, you could even use dairy free eggnog!
You can use any kind of bread you like. Whole wheat or gluten free sandwich bread works great, particularly if you like your French toast on the crispier side and whole grain French bread makes for a softer, but also delicious, treat.
Start by putting the bananas and other ingredients in the blender. Then, dip your bread, pan cook until the bananas caramelize on each side, and serve. You can keep the slices warm in the oven until you are done making all of them.
For a traditional French toast experience, top with a drizzle of warm maple syrup. Or, keep it even more nourishing and healthy with my Warm and Cozy Raspbery Syrup. Add some fresh fruit and a steaming cup of coffee (or two) on the side and you have a perfect breakfast.
Caramelized Banana French Toast
- non stick frying pan
- shallow bowl
- 1/2 of a ripe banana
- 1/2 cup unsweetened light coconut milk or other non dairy milk
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup or a half vial of liquid stevia
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon rum extract
- 4-6 slices whole grain or gluten free bread crusts removed
- Preheat oven to 150 degrees. In a blender, mix the banana, non dairy milk, maple syrup, cinnamon, nutmeg, and rum extract. Pour into a shallow bowl.
- One at a time, dip each slice of bread into the mixture, being sure to evenly coat both sides of the bread.
- If necessary, you can add a spray of non stick spray to your pan before starting to cook the French toast. Then, place the slices (1-4) at a time, depending on the size of your pan) on a nonstick pan over medium heat. After three minutes or so, check the underside of the bread. It should be brown in color, with the banana beginning to caramelize. It should take 3-5 minutes per side. Be careful not to let it get too dark or to burn. If it is beginning to darken too quickly, you may need to lower the heat slightly. Once the color is nicely brown, flip the slices of bread and cook the other sides.
- When the second side is done, remove to a plate and place in an oven heated to 150 degrees to keep warm until all the French Toast is ready to serve. This recipe can easily be doubled or halved. This should be served right away, as it will not keep well in the refrigerator.
- Caramelized Banana French Toast can be served with maple syrup, if you like, or to limit the sugar to the fruit, you might add fresh fruit on top or make my Fresh and Cozy Fruit Syrup.
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