Banana-Stuffed French Toast (on the Panini Grill)

by on January 9, 2011

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As someone who pulls out her panini maker on a pretty regular basis, I get pretty excited when I stumble across a fun new way to cook with it. Granted, I’ve grilled French toast before, but until yesterday morning I hadn’t ventured to caramelize bananas to stuff inside it and mix up some toasted pecan maple syrup and whip some cinnamon-scented crème fraîche to go on top. I thank chef Bryan Voltaggio (remember from Top Chef Season 6?) and his recipe in the latest Williams-Sonoma catalog for encouraging me to try this restaurant-quality, best French toast I’ve ever had (seriously)!

Caramelized bananas...just like candy!

It was one of those weekend mornings when I should have been reaching for a low-involvement breakfast option like a cup of yogurt or an English muffin. My husband was at the gym, both kids were wide awake and in full “play mode” and I was simultaneously in the process of baking some crusty cheddar-stuffed loaves to feature on my other blog. To cap it off, we had a birthday party to go to at noon. It was now 8 o’clock. In short, this was no time to embark on a high-involvement, multi-step recipe I’d never tried before.

I did it anyway.

When I say this was the best French toast I ever had, I truly mean it. Every ingredient is perfect, from the choice of soft day-old challah for the bread, which soaks up the custard mixture like nothing I’ve seen, to the butter-enriched toasted pecan maple syrup that gets even thicker the longer you let it sit. Leave it to a chef to come up with a whipped crème fraîche topping – see, I would have probably gone with regular whipped cream and that would have been a little too sweet. The crème fraîche (I actually substituted sour cream) is just barely sweet, with a touch of cinnamon, and that tanginess is just the right balance for the otherwise rich, sweet dish. You could always cook off this French toast in a regular skillet or griddle, but the advantage of grilling on a panini press is that you don’t have to attempt to flip the custard-saturated challah.

On a morning that’s not otherwise hectic, allow yourself the time to enjoy preparing this French toast – it will be well worth it!

Banana-Stuffed French Toast

 

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Maria January 11, 2011 at 8:15 am

I wish I was eating this now!

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2 Jersey Girl Cooks January 11, 2011 at 8:17 am

This looks delicious!

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3 lisaiscooking January 11, 2011 at 8:19 am

This sounds like perfection! I love each and every part of this and am seriously wishing I had a plate of this in front of me right now.
lisaiscooking´s last blog post ..Kong Bao Ji Ding

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4 Heather @ Multiply Delicious January 11, 2011 at 8:25 am

This french toast sounds amazing Kathy! I’m wishing I could have some right now. I can totally relate on tackling a recipe when it may not be the right time. I have to say I’m so glad you did make this though! That way you could share with all of us. :)
Heather @ Multiply Delicious´s last blog post ..Apple Spinach Quinoa Salad with Maple Pomegranate Vinaigrette

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5 Mindy January 11, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Hmmm…French toast on the panini grill–I may have to try that! (I’ve always been a little scared of making French toast. I don’t know why as I grew up eating it, but doing it on a panini press sounds a little less daunting somehow!)
Mindy´s last blog post ..A True Southern Comfort- Goat Cheese Grits

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6 Kathy January 11, 2011 at 2:02 pm

No need to fear the French toast, Mindy! And, yes, the panini maker makes it much easier since you don’t have to flip it. :-)

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7 Mackenzie@The Caramel Cookie January 14, 2011 at 10:19 am

I haven’t had french toast in ages! This looks so good!
Mackenzie@The Caramel Cookie´s last blog post ..Chocolate Salted Caramel Cake

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8 Bren February 16, 2011 at 10:07 am

yup! a winner. I like your argument for using the press! no flipping involved!
Bren´s last blog post ..Not SAD After All &amp A Super Sexy Cocktail

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