One of my New Year’s food resolutions for 2011 is to make more bread. While I mentioned keeping a sourdough starter going throughout the year in the resolution, the general idea is to focus more on yeast breads. And with a new KitchenAid stand mixer now firmly positioned on my countertop (partly because there’s no where else to put it and mostly because it’s so heavy), prepping bread dough is now a whole lot easier.
A couple of weekends ago I decided to try my hand at a loaf of sandwich bread. Plain old sandwiches weren’t my main objective, although I did make myself a mean grilled PB & banana sandwich at one point. No, I had bigger plans in store – namely French Toast. For most people, I think, French toast and waffles sit on a lofty perch reserved for the breakfast entrée elite. They’re the special breakfast dishes that your parents would make on lazy weekends or the every so often calorie loaded brunch binge. And while I’m sure there are firmly established camps on both sides of the French toast and waffle divide, I’ve always been in the middle. Deciding between the two usually comes down to whatever I’m craving at the moment. And once I decided to make sandwich bread, I knew I wanted to make French toast.
The recipe for this French toast is fairly traditional and comes from the Joy of Cooking. I added the walnuts and bananas, which are a perfect match with French toast and something of a standard option on the brunch circuit. On related of a side note, I highly recommend reading the chapter from Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life that tells of her father’s version of French toast. It’s a great read and not just for those that love French toast.
French Toast with Bananas and Walnuts Adapted from the Joy of Cooking Serves 4
2/3 cups milk 4 eggs 2 TBSP sugar 1 tspn vanilla extract 1 tspn rum 1/2 tspn cinnamon 1/4 tspn salt 8 slices sandwich bread 2-3 TBSP butter 2-3 TBSP vegetable 2 bananas, sliced 1 cup walnuts Maple syrup for serving
In a bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, rum and salt. Fully soak the bread slices in the mixture one at a time and reserve on a cooling rack set over a baking pan.
Heat a large skillet to medium-high and add equal amounts butter and oil, about 1 tablespoon each. Once the butter foams, and working in batches as needed, add 3-4 slices of bread to the pan. Cook until nicely browned on each side. Repeat with the remaining slices, adding butter and oil to the pan as needed.
Meanwhile, toast the walnuts in a pan over medium heat, tossing frequently for about 5 minutes.
Serve two slices of French toast per plate and top with the banana slices, walnuts and maple syrup.