We love French toast. Doesn’t everyone?
We love a good bread, one of substance, soaked in an egg wash, maybe with a touch of cinnamon, and then cooked until it just starts to get crusty but not tough.
There are a thousand ways to fix and serve French toast. We go to an effort to match the syrup with the toast and what we and our family likes. We’re not stuck on plain French toast or maple syrup.
We stumbled across a picture of banana bread French toast—I don’t remember where. It opened a new world for us. We’re not through exploring that world.
What you see in this picture is what we have created thus far. It’s a delightful banana bread with nuts and cinnamon chips made into French toast. The nuts add crunch. Cinnamon chips are absolutely delightful in banana bread. They add a burst of cinnamon in every bite. They’re like chocolate chips but in cinnamon. The cinnamon chips are made with Vietnamese cinnamon which is brighter and more intense than cassia.
And the syrup absolutely makes it. It’s thick and caramelly. It’s an old-fashioned buttermilk syrup.
About the Syrup
You have to understand buttermilk syrup to appreciate it.
Buttermilk is very tangy, acidic. Most people don’t like buttermilk plain but it is so useful in baking. It’s the acid that gives buttermilk that sharp taste.
But when you take the acid out of buttermilk, it becomes very smooth and mellow. When you add a sweetener, it tastes like caramel—maybe with some buttermilk tones. I’ve never found anyone who is not delighted with the taste of buttermilk syrup.
But how do you take the acid out?
You don’t really—you neutralize the acid. You add a base and create a chemical reaction between the acid and base. You get a lot of bubbles (nice science demonstration for the kids) and a sweet, caramelly syrup.
Baking soda is commonly used as the base. The only trick is getting the right balance of acid and base to completely neutralize the acid taste without leaving hints of baking soda.
We make buttermilk syrup mixes. (You add water and butter.) We take that balance right down to neutral, a pH of 7. We’ve added flavors to create eight varieties like coconut and banana buttermilk syrups. The coconut buttermilk syrup is a mixture of coconut and caramel. Not bad for a morning treat.
Tips for Success
But back to the banana bread French toast. Here are tips for success:
- Pick a good recipe or mix for your banana bread.
- Consider adding cinnamon chips. (If you use our mix, it has cinnamon chips in it.)
- Use the ripest of bananas, dark and starting to get squishy. If you don’t have bananas like that, add banana flavor. (When our bananas get to that stage, we freeze them for banana bread and muffins. We make so much banana bread that we go to the store and buy their extra-ripe bananas—at a discount—and freeze them.)
- Consider adding nuts. The nuts add flavor and a delightful crunch to your French toast.
- Make the banana bread the day before and refrigerate it overnight. Not only does it taste better the second day but chilling makes it firmer and easier to handle without breaking.
- Cook the French toast until it’s almost crusty but not tough.
Enjoy an incredible breakfast.
In the picture, we added a dollop of caramel whipped cream. To make caramel whipped cream, substitute caramel flavor for vanilla and brown sugar for granulated. You’ll love caramel whipped cream.
What You’ll Need (And Shopping Tips)
- If you don’t have a recipe that you have proven and trust, use our Cinnamon Chip Banana Bread Mix and save $2.00. (Offer expires June 30.)
- If you need cinnamon chips, you can buy them online though they can be hard to find except in fourth quarter.
- Consider taking advantage of our promotion: Buy a large bag of cinnamon chips and get a professional grade flavor worth $10 for free. You can choose your flavor. Consider buying two bags of cinnamon chips and getting two free flavors. With one, add banana flavor for your banana bread and muffin recipes and with the other, caramel flavor for caramel whipped cream. (Offer expires June 30.)
- Get a free buttermilk syrup mix with any $10 order. (I know, we’re trying to hook you on it.) You can make your own but since buttermilk varies, it’s tricky to get the right balance between buttermilk and the base. You can choose your flavor. (Offer expires June 30.)
The Next Discoveries
As I finish up this article, Kelli is in the test kitchen making more banana bread. On the agenda is a pecan-crusted banana bread French toast. After dipping the banana bread in the egg wash, she’ll dredge the slices in crushed pecans. The heat of the griddle will toast the pecans. We have done this with other French toast and it is yummy.
We have never thought to put Banana Buttermilk Syrup on our banana bread French toast. We’ll try that this week.
I’ve always liked pineapple and bananas together in my baking. We’ll try adding some well-drained crushed pineapple to the mix. We may need to tinker with the moisture amount. (We’ll let you know in a later article.) Alternately, we’ll use a granulated dry pineapple that has worked well for us. (We use that granulated pineapple in our Hawaiian Pancake Mix to make really great pancakes.)
We’ll make a pineapple whipped cream for topping, probably a pineapple and cream cheese whipped cream which is a great combination.
Strawberry whipped cream and chocolate whipped cream are delightful with cream cheese added. The cream cheese adds both flavor and stability so it doesn’t melt so quickly. If you decide to try these, beat the cream cheese and sugar together to break up the cream cheese and avoid lumps. Use two ounces of cream cheese for every one cup of whipping cream.
There is more that we—and you—can do with your banana bread French toast with different flavors and syrups. Stay tuned. It will be a fun journey.
Thanks for joining us today.
Dennis Weaver has burnt food from Point Barrow, Alaska, to Miami, Florida. He is the founder of The Prepared Pantry in Rigby, Idaho and the author of How to Bake: The Art and Science of Baking available as an E-book or as a Kindle book on Amazon.
He loves to help people bake and shares his vast collection of cooking and baking knowledge on his blog as well as in his E-books and Magazines.
Dennis lives in Rigby, Idaho, with his wife, Merri Ann. They have five wonderful children and five beautiful granddaughters.