Yield: 12 servings
Recipe adapted from Our Best Bites
For the French Toast:
2 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 overripe banana
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
16 ounces crusty bread (I used two 8-ounce mini boules), best if it’s day-old
1 teaspoon hazelnut extract (optional – you can use vanilla)
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 1/2 cups milk
4 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
For the Topping:
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts), optional
For the Banana Maple Syrup
2 tablespoons butter
2 bananas, sliced
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 cup maple syrup
Place banana and cream cheese in a medium sized bowl. Mash together with a fork. Add the granulated sugar and stir with a spoon until combined.
Slice your bread into 1” slices (I got 12 total slices from my two boules). Spread banana mixture on half of the slices, and top with the remaining bread to make sandwiches. Slice into chunks (I cut the sandwiches longwise and then into small chunks, about 10 total per sandwich).
Spray a 9”x13” pan with cooking spray. Place bread into pan in an even layer. If you happened to have any banana mixture left over, just pour it over the top.
In a large bowl, whisk your eggs. Add half-and-half, milk, brown sugar, salt and vanilla and whisk until everything is mixed. Pour over bread in pan. Press down with your hands as needed to make sure the egg mixture gets over all the bread. Cover with plastic wrap and place in refrigerator overnight.
Place topping ingredients in a small baggie, so it’s ready for you the next morning.
When you are ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove french toast from refrigerator and remove plastic wrap. Sprinkle topping over the top and bake for about 50 minutes. You want it to be hot all the way through, and the bread to be browned on the top and smooshy in the middle, but not raw. It may take up to 60 minutes. Let sit for 5-10 before scooping.
To make the syrup: melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add sliced bananas and brown sugar and cook for 1 minute. Add maple syrup and cook for 30 seconds, remove from heat. Pour into a blender and blend until smooth. (Be sure to leave the lid askew on your blender when blending hot liquid or it will explode!) Pour into a jar or tupperware container and cool. Serve with pancakes and store in refrigerator.