The first time Hubby and I went to NYC we found ourselves in this fabulous diner in Chelsea for breakfast, one of those ones in a long railway car, all retro and shiney, and had quite possibly the most delicious french toast ever. It was so good that we had to ask the staff what on earth they had done to it … turns out the magic was using melted vanilla ice cream instead of milk… the crazy geniuses!
Needless to say we couldn’t go back to ‘bog standard’ french toast after that so now on celebratey type days, or ‘just because’ at the weekend, Hubby rustles us up a plate of these as a wee treat.
Hubby’s also done these with a wee hint of orange, or made a french toast sandwich with a banana filling, but I think they are fantastic just as they are, with maple syrup and and a pat of butter melting away on top. My absolute favourite though is to add a couple of rashers of American streaky bacon on top of the syrup and butter which, if you like salty/sweet combos, elevates this to a whole new level of delicious 🙂
Healthy this most definitely is not, but when breakfast tastes this damn good you really don’t care 😉 And I promise, a plate of these will put a big ass smile on your face all day!
Best. Ever. French. Toast.
Possibly the most indulgent breakfast of all time, french toast New York style.
1 sourdough boule, sliced to 3/4 inch thick slices
1 pint good quality vanilla ice cream
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
Ground cinnamon, to taste
Optional: 1/2 tsp orange extra, or a bit of orange zest, for a lighter flavour
Start by melting the ice cream in the microwave until it’s a nice, soupy consistency – you may not need the whole pint depending on how much french toast you intend to make.
In a mixing bowl, whisk the egg and add the vanilla extract and cinnamon (and orange extract/zest if you’re using them) and whisk gently again to combine. Next, add the melted ice cream and whisking gently again to combine everything – do not overmix as this will toughen the egg and you’ll end up with a more custardy bread.
Dip the brioche slices in the melted ice cream and egg mixture, letting the slices rest for a few seconds on each side.
Melt a bit of butter in a heated frying pan and place the eggy brioche slices in the pan. Cook for about 30 seconds on each side over a medium-high heat, turning as needed to prevent burning. When the slices are lightly browned, they’re good to take off of the heat.
To serve, lather the slices with butter and warm maple syrup. Or top with sliced berries and sprinkle with icing sugar, or warm some jam to make a fruit syrup to pour over.
Oven-warm homemade banana bread, slathered with butter that melts on your slice, and a pot of leaf tea… weekends don’t start much better than this! Unless you’re waking up to the smell of one of these already baking because somebody lovely decided to surprise you with it. 🙂
Hubby assures me it’s very easy to make which means I never say no when he suggests it! And if I ‘forget’ to eat the bananas in the kitchen then he suggests it more often than not… I suspect that he’s also after any excuse to use the HydroBake setting on our new oven, which keeps the humidity from whatever’s baking in the oven as steam and just makes his baked noms that much better (which I didn’t think was even possible!).
And it’s ‘loaded’ because of all the fruit and/or nuts Hubby throws into the mix which, given his inability to leave well enough alone, changes every time – today’s one was full of stewed apples and cinammon! But the flavour of the banana always wins through, and the older the banana the stronger their flavour – we’ve even frozen bananas that looked beyond saving because we knew how awesome they would be in this, that and we are trying to be better about food waste (if you are using frozen bananas, defrost thoroughly first otherwise you won’t be able to mash them).
I’m a traditionalist when it comes to banana bread and prefer it loaf shaped, hands down, over muffins. They’re more portable muffin sized but I think a little drier, and you really just can’t beat the perfection of all that melty butter on a warm slice of loaf. Look at my picture again and tell me I’m wrong 😉
Hubby's Loaded Banana Bread
Oven-warm homemade banana bread, slathered with melting butter, it doesn't get much better than this.
(or for a healthier option, use 3/4 cup of apple sauce instead plus 1 tbsp vegetable oil)
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
Butter or Vegetable Oil to grease tin.
Stuff you can take or leave…
- 3/4 cup chopped pecan or walnut pieces, don’t process these as it becomes too grainy (Hubby says he prefers pecans for taste)
- a few handfuls of sultanas or raisins. Asda has a dried fruit mix that has raisins and golden sultanas plus lemon peel.
- Fresh blueberries also go in really well. If you’re using these, add them gently by hand just before baking to keep them whole.
Other stuff you’ll need…
6 by 9-inch loaf pan of muffin tray
Large mixing bowl
Preheat the oven to 175C for bread or 200C for muffins and put the oven rack in the centre position. Lightly grease your loaf pan with vegetable oil or butter (if you’re using muffin cups or silicon trays, skip this).
In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, oil, vanilla extract, and sour cream, and whisk until smooth.
Peel the bananas and place in a small bowl. Mash with the back of a fork until there are no big lumps remaining. Add these to the wet mixture together with the cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt, and whisk to combine.
Add the nuts and dried fruits / berries at this point. Do this before you add the flour so as not to overmix.
Add the flour and stir until just combined. Be careful, again, to not overmix.
Pour the batter into the loaf pan and give it a good shoogle and bang it a few times on your counter to get rid of any air bubbles in the mix. Sprinkle a little brown sugar over the top, and then pop into the overn and bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour 10 minutes for bread (or 25 minutes for muffins) until golden brown and risen. Check if the bread is done by pushing a toothpick into the middle, if it comes out clean the bread is ready.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool for at least 10 minutes before turning the bread out of its pan. More fruit-heavy loaves will need longer to cool to avoid falling apart. Muffins not in cases should be allowed to cool in their trays.