Flipping channels a couple of years ago, I happened upon an episode of “Giada’s Weekend Getaways” on the Food Network that grabbed the attention of my taste buds and immediately halted my channel surfing. Giada was describing a dish called carrot cake French toast, and the accompanying imagery was absolutely mouth-watering.
After Giada savored a few bites, I had already made plans to try this particular recipe out at home, thinking the restaurant must be halfway across the country. But to my delight, Giada walked out of the restaurant, the South Congress Cafe, and onto an avenue I knew well–just 30 minutes away in Austin, Texas.
A girlfriend and I later tested this dish out at the cafe, and it was just as good as Giada described. While I’ve never tried the recipe at home–SoCo Cafe’s is just too good to replicate–I have given their recipe a new twist, using banana bread rather than carrot cake. The result is a rich, flavorful French toast with a little something extra. The crunchy coating provided by the pan-fried egg leads to a soft center with a subtle banana flavor.
If you’re game to try it, here’s what you’ll need:
Banana bread (I used this banana bread recipe, which I make regularly.)
Dash of cinnamon (optional)
1 to 2 Tbsp. butter
Powdered sugar (optional)
Making banana bread French toast is just as easy as making regular French toast. First, slice the banana bread using a serrated bread knife. I used a miniature loaf and cut the slices about 1/2-inch thick. Fresh-out-of-the-oven banana bread won’t slice as neatly or maintain its shape as well as a loaf that was cooked a day or two before, so also keep that in mind when planning to make this recipe.
Use a fork to beat the eggs until the whites and yellows are mixed. A flat-bottomed plastic dish works perfectly for this because you can then easily lay the bread slices in the flat dish to coat them without breaking the bread into pieces. Stir in a dash of cinnamon, if you like.
Melt the butter (use the real stuff) in a skillet over medium-high heat. Tilt the pan to coat as much of the cooking surface as you can.
Dip the slices of banana bread into the egg mixture, carefully coating both sides. Don’t soak the bread in the egg. Immediately place the coated bread into the hot skillet. Adjust the heat to medium.
Pan-fry the banana bread for a couple of minutes. When the cooked side has a lightly browned coating, flip the bread and cook about 30 seconds to a minute more, just enough to brown the other side.
Place the banana bread French toast on your plate. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, if you like. Then lay on the syrup. To give your taste buds a little break, serve with a salty breakfast meat such as pan-fried Canadian bacon or a slice or two of bacon. The saltiness really complements the sweetness of the banana bread French toast.