Peanut Butter and Bacon French Toast with Caramelized Bananas
DISCLAIMER: The absolute ridiculousness you see on your screen in no way represents Domesticate ME!’s core values. I would not recommend consuming this French toast on a regular basis (or even a semi-regular basis), and yes, it will give you a mild bellyache if you hit it too hard. It is not Dude Diet approved, vegan/gluten-free/paleo/#fitspo or nutritionally sound in any way.
With that said, there are times in life when one needs to get super weird on the food front. And such times definitely include the last week of your 27th year, when you’re embracing birthday princess status with every fiber of your rapidly aging being.
That’s right, friends, Birthday Princess Week is finally here, and I’m exercising my God given right to go off the rails. (In moderation and mostly on Sunday because it’s almost bikini season, but you catch my drift.)
If you’re not into obscene amounts of carbs, bacon, and booze—this week’s menu in a nutshell—no hard feelings. Please try some lighter options from the archives and check back next week during birthday princess comedown. I will be serving kale and detox smoothies with a side of 28-year-old angst.
To those of you planning to stick around, let’s talk “Elvis” French Toast and important life lessons. In that order. I realize some of you are only here for the food…
In case you can’t fully grasp the awesomeness of what you’re looking at, I’ll briefly break it down for you. First, we’ve got lots of creamy peanut butter and crispy bacon sandwiched between soft slices of potato bread, soaked in custard and pan-fried to fluffy golden-brown perfection. That insanity is then topped with a heaping serving of warm bananas, caramelized in the heavenly trio of butter, brown sugar and bourbon. Then there’s more crumbled bacon and a drizzle of maple syrup if you’re into that. The result? A magical, mind-blowing, epically DANK breakfast bonanza of your dreams.
Trust me on this one.
I’ve been itching to test and share this recipe for months, but I saved it for this week because I thought it would be nice to make “French toast and reflections” a Domesticate ME! birthday tradition. Last year was Nutella and Bacon Stuffed French Toast with a letter to my 13-year-old self, and this year, I give you Elvis French Toast and “27 Things I Learned at 27.” Let’s do this.
27 Things I Learned at 27:
1. Believing in yourself is more important than having others believe in you. Cliché, but true.
2. Sometimes you just have to say NO. After saying yes to pretty much everything in my early 20s, realizing that I can comfortably and confidently say “no” (in my career, to my roommate, to the pushy sales ladies at Intermix) feels really good.
3. Doing things you’re afraid of doesn’t always get rid of the fear, but it definitely helps. Fact.
4. Your taste buds really do change. I’m not sure whether the whole 7-year thing is true, but I now like a whole host of foods that used to make me gag (see: hummus). So keep on trying things, people. You may surprise yourself.
5. Being emotional isn’t a bad thing. There was a lot of crying and touchy-feelyness this year, and it was kind of awesome.
6. Really good pizza is good for the soul. So is the occasional cake.
7. Life is fragile. Say “I love you” a lot. That’s a heavy one, I know.
8. Invest in good bras.
9. Stop being so judgy. It’s a waste of energy. Unless you’re judging Goopy Gwyneth. That is allowed. (And also fun.)
10. Not everyone wants to see you succeed. Not your problem.
11. You have to do the work. There’s no way around it. Blergh.
12. Drink lots of water. If you don’t, you might get headaches and wrinkles(!!!), which is terrifying.
13. Whenever it’s acceptable to take off your pants, take off your pants. Life is short.
14. Beyonce wasn’t built in a day. Accepting that you’re still in the Destiny’s Child phase of your life is both liberating powerful. (All the ladies, who truly feel me, throw your hands up at me.) Which leads me to…
15. Patience is a virtue. (Full disclosure, I have to re-learn this every year.)
16. Ask for help when you need it. Shockingly, people want to help. Who knew?
17. A good moisturizer is hard to find.
18. Cocktails are the best, but if you drink more than 3 you will be incapacitated for 24-48 hours. Assess the fun potential of the situation and ask yourself, “Is it worth it?” (The answer is usually yes, but it’s always good to do a gut check.)
19. You can have too many pairs of jeans.
20. Just because other people are getting dogs/getting married/having babies doesn’t mean that you should be doing the same. Different strokes for different folks.
21. “Parks and Recreation” might be better than “30 Rock.” If you’ve yet to watch either, get on that shit.
22. Proudly do the things that you like, even if you suck at them. Personal examples: dancing to hip hop (I have exclusively white girl moves), singing (I’m tone deaf), swimming (I mostly doggie paddle), drinking bourbon (color me drunk).
23. You can “fauxtisserie” a chicken. And it is glorious.
24. Always, ALWAYS say “thank you.”
25. Find your geek squad. Whatever you’re passionate about, seek out like-minded individuals to get nerdy with. It will make you happy and save you from boring disinterested friends and family members to tears.
26. “We all have genius-level talent, we just have to find out what [we’re] genius at and apply ourselves in a way that supports that genius. First recognize that genius, then believe in it. You avoid all the outside noise. People put their fears and their insecurities on you so you can’t reach your full potential. Don’t let all the outside things get in the way.” Jay Z told me this at a concert, and I think he’s right.
27. “You do you” is an excellent life motto. I’m embracing it.
Peanut Butter and Bacon French Toast with Caramelized Bananas (aka Elvis French Toast): Serves 2 wildly, 4 responsibly
8 ounces bacon (8-10 pieces)
¾-1 cup creamy peanut butter (Use as much as you like.)
8 slices potato bread (or sandwich bread of your choice)
3 large eggs
¾ cup half and half (Yes, you can use milk if you prefer.)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 pinch kosher salt
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Maple syrup for serving (optional)
For the caramelized bananas:
3 large bananas
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1½-2 tablespoons bourbon
Preparing your Elvis French Toast:
-Pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a baking rack on top. Arrange your strips of bacon in an even layer on the baking rack.
-Bake for 25-30 minutes until well-browned and crispy. (Keep an eye on them during the last 5-10 minutes, peeps. They can burn quickly!) Remove the bacon from the oven, let cool for a few minutes and then transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.
-While the bacon is cooking, get to work on the caramelized bananas. Start by sliced the bananas at a slight angle, into ½-inch discs.
-Melt 3 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. When melted, stir in the brown sugar, and add then the bananas to the pan. Cook for 1-2 minutes, shaking the pan periodically, until the bananas soften slightly and begin to caramelize. (You can also use a spatula to periodically flip the bananas if the shake and flip makes you nervous.) Add the bourbon and cook for another 30 seconds or so until the caramel thickens slightly. Remove from the heat and set aside.
-Now you’re going to build your French toast, which means making 4 peanut butter and bacon sandwiches. Start by spreading one side of each piece of bread with a heaping tablespoon of peanut butter. (If your peanut butter is cold, warm it in the microwave for about 15 seconds so that it’s easily spreadable. You don’t want to rip your bread, capiche?)
-Top 4 slices of the peanut buttered bread with a layer of bacon. I broke each slice of bacon in half, and then used 3 halves per sandwich.
-Close each sandwich with the remaining peanut buttered bread, pressing your fingers along the edges of each sandwich to seal. Briefly set the sandos aside, while you whip up your custard.
-In a large shallow baking dish, whisk together the eggs, half and half, vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt.
-Add the first two sandwiches to the custard, push them down gently to help them absorb the liquid, and then let them soak for 1-2 minutes on each side. Make sure you get some custard all up on the sides too, okay?
-Heat 1½ tablespoons butter in a large skillet or saucepan over medium heat. When melted, add the soaked sandwiches to the pan (make sure to shake off any excess custard), and cook for about 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Remove from the pan. Repeat the soaking and cooking process (don’t forget to add the remaining 1½ tablespoons butter!) with the second two sandwiches.
-Re-warm your caramelized bananas over medium low-heat for about 30 seconds.
-Slice your French toast in half diagonally and serve topped with caramelized bananas.
-Crumble the extra bacon on top and get a drizzle of maple syrup involved if you’re so inclined.
In the words of my extremely eloquent roommate, “Jesus, FUCK.”
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