Last weekend, my friend Wa posted a picture of the banana chocolate baked french toast she made for her family. It looked so delicious that I asked her for the recipe. I replicated it this morning, and, oh my, is it good. Johnny said it was like bananas foster on french toast. I say it’s better than bananas foster — none of that cloying “too-much-banana” taste, plus there’s gooey chocolate, crunchy almonds and just sprinkling of sugar on top. Add the crunchy-yet-custardy bread, and it’s heaven on a plate. Plus, it can’t be any easier: 10 minutes of prep time the night before, 25 minutes of baking time the next morning, and you’ve got a great weekend breakfast or brunch dish. So, thank you, Wa! (If you haven’t already, be sure to also check out Wa’s great stir-fry recipes.)
- 2 medium ripe bananas, cut into 1/4-inch slices
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice (I just cut a small lemon in half and squeezed the juice out of both halves)
- 12 1/2-inch slices French bread
- 1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips (I just used regular-sized, since I had a giant bag of them)
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- Maple-flavored syrup (optional)*
*With the chocolate, bananas, honey and sprinkling of sugar, this was sweet enough for my taste, so I skipped the syrup.
Gently toss the banana slices with lemon juice in a small bowl. Set aside. Grease a 2-quart square baking dish (I used an 8″ square dish). Arrange half of the bread slices in the bottom of the dish, then layer the bananas over the bread. Sprinkle the chocolate chips on top of the bananas, then layer the remaining bread over the chocolate and bananas.
In a medium bowl, combine beaten eggs, milk, honey, vanilla and cinnamon. Stir well to combine. Pour the liquid slowly over the bread to coat evenly. Cover the baking dish (I used foil) and refrigerate for at least 6 hours and up to 24 hours.
When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Uncover the dish, sprinkle the bread with the almonds and sugar, and bake at 425 degrees for five minutes. Then, lower the oven temperature to 325 degrees and bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center of the dish comes out clean, and the top of the bread is light brown. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving, and serve with maple syrup, if desired.
The only change I would make is to the baking time — it’s probably just my oven being unreliable, but I felt like it could have used a few extra minutes at 425 to brown the sugar, and maybe a few more minutes at 325 to really make things extra gooey. Next time, I might also put on the sliced almonds halfway through the baking time, so that I can have the extra minutes at 425 without scorching the nuts. But, it was absolutely delicious, and I’ll definitely be making this again. Now, time to publish and go have seconds. Have a great weekend!