Peanut butter toast and I go a long way back. When I was a kid, I was so picky that I refused to eat cereal and sandwiches. I would, however, happily eat peanut butter on toast, so I ate peanut butter on toast every single morning for breakfast.
Here’s how my morning routine went. Every morning, after staying up too late reading Nancy Drew books in bed the night before, I dragged my sleepy little self and my latest Nancy Drew book over to the table. A plate of peanut butter toast would magically appear before me (thanks, Mom), which I would savor as I read my book. The corners of my old Nancy Drew collection are smudged with peanut butter stains—a fact that lies somewhere between cute and gross.
Eventually, I learned to like cereal and sandwiches, but neither are my favorite foods. I still stay up too late at night, and I’m always happy with peanut butter on toast (or avocado on toast, but that’s a different post). These days, I like to add a drizzle of honey, and sometimes bananas, to my peanut butter toast.
This baked French toast dish is an adult spin on my old favorite. Hearty whole grain bread, soaked in a rich custard and studded with bananas that caramelize in the oven. All that, finished with a drizzle of peanut butter and maple syrup. Total comfort food. It’s a perfect holiday breakfast/brunch menu item that will stick with your guests until dinner time.
If anyone wants to geek out over the recipe details with me, I’ll explain why the recipe is written as it is below. First of all, most French toast recipes call for stale bread, but who actually has stale bread lying around when they need it? I took a cue from America’s Test Kitchen and dried my slices of fresh bread out in the oven a bit beforehand, which helps the bread soak up the custard mixture. I suspect that’s why this French toast does not require an overnight soak before baking. It might be better that way, but it’s really fantastic if you just mix it all up and bake it.
Also, I tried spreading peanut butter on the bread before baking, but the peanut butter dried out in the oven and lost its warm, gooey appeal. The maple syrup and peanut butter drizzle bypasses that issue. If you’re not aiming for presentation points, you could just serve warm slices of baked French toast with a jar of peanut butter and maple syrup on the side. Add a Nancy Drew book, if you’d like.
I used my favorite whole grain sandwich bread for this recipe, which is made by Farm to Market here in Kansas City. You can use any bread you would like here, but I really love the nutty flavor of hearty, whole grain bread. It’s more filling and nutritious, too. For more information about the health benefits of whole grains, visit GrainsforYourBrain.org.
- 8 to 10 slices quality whole grain sandwich bread
- 2 bananas
- 4 large eggs
- 2 cups milk of choice (low fat milk or nut milk works)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 2 teaspoons turbinado (raw) sugar
- ½ cup maple syrup
- ⅓+ cup peanut butter
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange the whole slices of bread on a large baking sheet and bake them for 8 minutes, turning halfway. This dries out the bread a little so it soaks up more of the egg mixture.
- In a mixing bowl, scramble the eggs, then whisk in the milk, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Melt the butter in the microwave or over the stove. Whisk the honey into the melted butter before pouring it into the egg mixture.
- Grease a 9 by 9-inch baker. Cut most of the slices of bread in half, and the last couple of slices into quarters. Arrange the halved slices in the baker in rows, as shown in the pictures above, to make a roughly even layer of bread. Fill in the empty spots with the smaller pieces of bread.
- Peel and slice the bananas into ¼-inch wide rounds. One by one, stick the banana slices in between the slices of bread at random. Slowly drizzle the egg mixture over the bread. Use your hands to press down on the bread so it is fully submerged in the egg mixture for a few seconds (it's ok to squish the bread a little). Wash your hands, then generously sprinkle the French toast with a couple teaspoons of raw sugar. Bake until the top is golden and the custard is set in the center, around 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.
- To make the peanut butter drizzle, heat the maple syrup in small pan over low heat (you can also do this in the microwave). Whisk in ⅓ cup peanut butter or more, until it suits your tastes (keep in mind that the French toast is pretty sweet already). Remove from heat. Let the French toast cool for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing into 6 large or 8 smaller servings. Serve with maple peanut butter sauce.
- Roughly adapted from Alton Brown, Bobby Deen and America's Test Kitchen.
- You can prepare the French toast up to 24 hours in advance. Once you've drizzled the egg mixture over the bread, cover the baker and place it in the refrigerator until you're ready to bake it. Or, bake the French toast as directed, let it cool, and store it in the refrigerator overnight. When you're ready to serve, reheat it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until warmed through.
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Grains for Your Brain and I received compensation for my participation. Thank you for supporting the sponsors who allow me to serve up more recipes. Opinions are my own, always.