Banana Nut French Toast

That title is drool-worthy enough to stop right there, I know, but collect yourselves so we can get this party started!

I was going to make myself regular French Toast for breakfast. For me that means 4 eggs, 1/4 cup of Splenda (the baking kind you measure like sugar), a blort of milk, a pinch of salt, a hefty shake of cinnamon, and about a quarter of a whole nutmeg freshly ground with a microplane grater. Our regular bread is Orrowheat 100% Whole Wheat. I soak the pieces, lube up the pan with some butter, fry and done. Simple, reasonably diabetic-friendly, tasty.

But when I went into the kitchen today, I spied three bananas on the counter, their skins starting to brown. I only like to eat bananas when they’ve still got hints of green on the peel, because I don’t like overly sweet stuff. And I’m too busy at the moment to make banana muffins or bread, plus the freezer’s already full of bananas waiting for such purposes.

So I hustled back over to my computer and Googled around and found Martha Stewart’s Banana Nut French Toast.

Now I’m sure that using heavy cream and challah and pre-toasting the nuts and all of that is quite lovely. In fact I know from when I do make challah that it is, by far, the best thing to use for French Toast. But I didn’t have that stuff and I didn’t want to turn the oven on and take time to roast the nuts. Plus, Peo was looking for some attention so I took Martha’s recipe as a launch point and winged it after that with Peo’s help.

The result was tasty, but needs refinement, so I’m not posting it as an official recipe just yet. But here’s what we did, so replicate/change as you wish!

First we peeled two of the three bananas and mashed them up with a fork:

Peo mashing bananas

Mashing food is fun, especially when your mom isn't telling you to stop.

Then we added a cup of milk (which turned out to be too much…I think a half cup would have been better) and since Peo would be sharing this with me, I added a total of six eggs:

Milk, eggs, and banana

When mixing the milk into the banana, Peo giggled that it was "so disgusting but smells so good!"

We beat that together, added a third cup of Splenda (which also turned out to be too much, but those of you with a sweet tooth probably would have liked it just fine). The bananas were so sweet I think an under-filled quarter cup would have been plenty. And of course, others can use real sugar if they want, but I’d be ill if I had that much, even with all of the protein from the eggs.

Then I shook in some cinnamon and about a third of a nutmeg grated up:

Cinnamon and nutmeg in the bowl

Measurements? We don't need no steenkin' measurements!

Then we set that mixture aside and peeled the last banana. Peo cut it up:

Peo cutting a banana

She finds this task very appealing. She'll also be very happy that I included that pun in this post.

I then put a piece of bread on a plate and told Peo that this would be her sandwich, so she should put on as many bananas and walnuts as she wanted. I already had walnuts chopped up in a bag in the fridge for my regular pancakes, so that was easy. Peo decided she wanted to go minimal so she could make a face:

Bananas and nuts on bread

Pareidolia Sandwich was having a great day, blisfully unaware of what was to come...

Then I had Peo put another slice of bread over it and squeeze the whole thing together:

Peo squeezing the sandwich

"First Mom tells me to mash bananas and now squeeze a sandwich? When did cooking get to be so much destructive fun?" Okay, she didn't really say that...what she said was, "SQUEEEEEEEEEZE!"

I said, “Okay, let’s put it in the egg mixture.”

Peo asked, “Will it sink or float?”

I said, “Only one way to find out!”

Peo said, “WITH SCIENCE!”

Peo observing sandwich in egg mixture

She cried out, "It floats!" Science wins again!

Then we flipped it over to coat both sides, and let it sit while we prepped the pan.

Sandwich in egg mixture

See? Your computer totally needs Scratch'n'Sniff, doesn't it?

I keep a stick of butter in the fridge dedicated to pan use. That way I can just grab it by the wax paper wrapper and rub it on the pan for the lightest bit of transfer without piling on tons of fat and calories. Peo helped me rub the pan with the butter stick, then I carefully lifted the quickly-soggifying sandwich out of the bowl and into the pan.

Frying sandwich

Not long now!

I fried it on a low-ish setting until it was brown on both sides. Meanwhile, we prepped the next sandwich and got it soaking in the mix.

When this first one was ready I took it out and sliced it to Peo’s specifications: it had to be “symmetrical” with “no wiggly cuts”. Right. I’m not sure if I achieved symmetry but it was at least a straight cut down the middle:

Cooked sandwich, cut open

I served it on Peo's Magic Plate. This is seriously a genius move, parents: go to Goodwill and let your kid pick out a special plate that's just for them. It'll cost you about a buck and might be part of a previously high-end set. If it's got a gilded edge like this, you can't use it in the microwave, but don't worry about dishwashing it because hey, it was a buck. Tell your kid it's now their Magic Plate and all food you serve on it is absolutely delicious. Don't serve anything on it you know they hate, but use it to get them to try new stuff. Totally works.

Peo tried it tentatively at first…

Peo biting sandwich

A special placemat won from the Buddy Buck machine at HEB doesn't hurt either.

But then started noming it happily while also telling jokes:

Peo eating sandwich

Yeah, my kid is talking with her mouth full. She's also eating new food that she helped cook. I pick my parenting battles.

Here’s my sandwich out of the pan a few minutes later. It got more of the banana chunks stuck to the outside. It looks like you need to work to keep them in the solution and not all sinking to the bottom.

Sandwich 2

Mine had a more even layer of banana slices and chopped walnuts. The crunch inside was very pleasant.

Now for the problems: as mentioned above, there was too much milk and this came out a bit too sweet. Even Peo, who ate most of her sandwich quickly, eventually declared that it was a bit too sweet as well. But that may be my fault for seeding the idea in her head when I mentioned that mine was too sweet. I think her problem was more that it was very rich and heavy with all of that egg, so she filled up quickly.

It also makes way too much for our needs. I ate two whole sandwiches (this was actually my breakfast and lunch all together), but there was still lots of the mixture left over. I dunked the bread bums (our word for the ends of the loaf) and fried those up as well:

French toast bread end

The end of the loaf dunked in the mixture and fried up, no other bananas or nuts added.

But without the nuts, it wasn’t quite as good. If I was going to do this recipe again but not as a sandwich, I’d sprinkle some nuts on the single bread piece while it’s goo-side-up in the pan.

And there’s valid reason to do it as single pieces: I found the interior of the sandwiches a bit mushy for my liking. Then again, I like to thin my pancake batter enough that there’s no mushy interior there either, and I know some people covet that slightly-underdone moist inside, so tailor it to your tastes.

I think it’d work really well to dunk the bread and fry it, then assemble a sandwich with slices and nuts in between after.

When I was recipe-hunting, I also saw varieties that pour the egg mixture over the bread, banana, and nuts in a baking dish, let it soak up overnight, and then bake the whole thing. That idea has merit as well, but takes a lot more planning than I usually bother with.

I ended up putting some of the mixture into the fridge to experiment with another day, so we’ll see how adventurous I feel tomorrow or Monday.

Give it a go with your own preferences and let me know how it turns out!

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3 Responses to Banana Nut French Toast

  1. Lars Clausen says:

    If the bread contains sugar, then between that and the bananas, very little extra sugar should be needed.

    If we’d had some bananas in the house, I would have tried the baking style thus morning. Maybe both baking and pan-frying (in some order) would work best?

    • It's a fairly low-sugar bread, but I find ripe bananas a bit too sweet for my liking anyway, so compared to the typical American diet, I like things less sweet. Probably the same for you.

      I suppose you could bake so the gooey stuff got all cooked and then you could take it out and fry it to crisp up the outside…the reverse wouldn't work so well since the frying would seal the moisture inside.

      Give it a go and let me know how it works! 😀

  2. nopinkhere says:

    I don't even add sugar to my mix for French Toast goo, but those that want it can have some powdered sugar sprinkled over the top. I re-found this while looking for something else here, and I think I'll make it for breakfast in the morning. Thanks! I've also seen a version with cream cheese and jam in the middle.

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