Summer is supposed to be about salads, forgetting about the oven for a while, and lots of ice cream. I get that. I’m eating a salad right now actually. An Asian Cabbage Salad with Miso Dressing, which I am currently addicted to. But that’s for another day.
Today we celebrate the wonder that is Banana Bread. As far as comfort food goes, banana bread is the most underrated of them all. Today I’m sharing a classic recipe, since we’re spicing it up with french toast and cashew cream, but if you’re feeling adventurous, or revisiting this post for a future Banana Bread Baking Session (BBBS), add some chocolate chips and crystallized ginger.
This Banana Bread French Toast with Cashew Cream starts with the bananas. They must be overripe – if you’re thinking that your bananas are questionably edible, they’re perfect. They should be mushy, brown and oozing sugary goodness. Typically, banana bread recipes will have you mash and mash until there’s not a single chunk resembling a banana. I, on the other hand, purposefully leave big chunks of banana to stud my bread.
Next is the cashew cream. To get a super smooth, velvety texture out of the cashews, you’ll want to soak them in water for at least 2 hours at room temperature. If you use cashews in recipes for a cream base or thickener, you probably already have some soaking in the on-deck circle. Cashew cream is like a hybrid of cream cheese and room temperature butter. It’s thick, but soft. It has a creamy, melt in your mouth texture. It’s sweet with just a hint of tanginess from fresh lemon juice.
Finally the french toast batter. I get a lot of questions about how to make french toast vegan, since it’s typically an egg-based batter. Using a plant milk-based batter that’s thickened slightly with flour, flavored with cinnamon and adding nutritional yeast to give it that malty flavor, creates a french toast that is indistinguishable from the eggy variety.
My dad didn’t cook much for us growing up, but he did make us french toast. He would bring home those long loaves of Texas toast and make the entire package into french toast. Although he never made Banana Bread French Toast, I can guarantee he’d gobble this up.
Banana Bread French Toast with Cashew Cream
This recipe is divided into three parts, so it looks daunting. I always make the banana bread the night before (or earlier) and let my cashews soak overnight. Then I’ll whip up the cashew cream, pop it in the fridge and make french toast!
- 2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 over ripe bananas
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/4 cup almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350F and spray or line a loaf pan.
- Combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a large bowl. Use a whisk to mix everything up. Set aside.
- Peel the bananas into a medium bowl. Use a fork to mash them against the sides of the bowl. Add the sugar, oil and vanilla to the bananas and mix well.
- Add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and stir until just combined.
- Pour into the loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool to room temperature before removing the bread and slicing.
- 1/2 cup raw cashews, soaked for 2 hours in water
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup date puree, or 2 tablespoons maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- pinch of salt
- ~1/4 cup of water
- Drain the cashews and place them in a blender or food processor with the vanilla, date puree, lemon juice and salt. Start blending.
- Add the water by the tablespoon. You only want to add enough water to get a smooth and creamy texture, so take it slow. Keep blending, occasionally stopping to scrape the sides and check the texture by rubbing a pea-sized amount between your fingers – you shouldn’t feel any grit.
- Transfer to a tupperware container and place in the fridge until ready to use.
- 2 Tablespoons flour
- 2 Tablespoons nutritional yeast
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 Tablespoons date puree, or 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
- 3/4 cup almond milk
- Mix the flour, nutritional yeast, cinnamon and nutmeg in a shallow dish. Add the date puree and the almond milk. Mix well.
- Heat a nonstick pan or griddle with a touch of oil. Slice the banana bread and dip each piece in the french toast batter, making sure it’s completely coated before transferring it to the pan.
- Cook for about 3-5 minutes on each side. Wait until you see the runoff batter turn brown before you flip each piece. This will ensure you get an even crust on the slice.
Assembly: Plate on slice of french toast and smother it with the cashew cream. Add another slice on top. Sprinkle with powdered sugar and drizzle with maple syrup.