Monday, February 13, 2012

Decadent, Valentine's French Toasts

Actually, these would have been even more decadent if I had been eating them while relaxing on a hammock on a beach in Fiji. One can dream, right? In honor of that Fijian vacation I have been dreaming about, I made these succulent French toasts to warm up on the occasion of a very frigid New England morning (it was 10 degrees! this morning). These are my own creation: banana-walnut bread french toast, topped with warm berry compote, toasted coconut flakes and maple syrup.

First, I made banana-walnut bread using fresh bananas, toasted walnut, and whole-wheat flour. Here is the recipe, which in its original form came from here-I substituted all-purpose, unbleached flour for whole-wheat, I also used 1 cup of sugar (instead of 1 and 1/2 cups), everything else is the same. (I made the bread the night before and so it was ready to be turned into French toast in the morning!). 

 What to do?  
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl cream together the sugar and the butter; add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
Beat in mashed bananas and vanilla and continue beating until mixture is smooth.
In a large measuring cup stir baking soda into the buttermilk and add it to the banana mixture along with the flour and chopped nuts. **Remember to toast the walnuts before adding them--put them in a small saucepan and on medium-heat toast them for a few minutes, watch them carefully as walnuts can burn very easily!
Stir the batter until it is just combined.
Pour batter into a greased and floured 9x5 inch loaf pan and bake for one hour or until tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Transfer the bread to a rack and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes.
Turn it out onto a rack and let it cool completely.

I sliced the bread into thick pieces, and dip it in French toast batter. I use 1 egg (per 4 pieces of bread), and 1 cup of milk, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, whisk together and dip your bread slices making sure they soak up the mixture. I cook the French toasts about 1 or 2 minutes on each side, making sure they are cooked.
In a small sauce pan, I bring together 1/2 cup frozen, mixed berries, 1 tablespoon confectioners sugar, and 2 tablespoons cold water and heat up together until it boils. I then blend everything together in a blender, and this is my (super-easy) warm fruit compote. I toast 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes in a small pan, making sure that they brown but not letting them burn. 

Then I plate the French toasts, add fruit compote, coconut flakes and the maple syrup! 
There is no better way to wish your loved ones a "happy valentine's day!" than with a delicious meal. (or a vacation to Fiji, LOL!)

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