Peanut butter is one of my favorite things to eat. It’s delicious, affordable and reliable—a true comfort food. Peanut butter doesn’t need much to make it shine—give me a banana, some celery, or a piece of bread and I’m a happy woman (truth be told: I’m just as happy with a spoon and a glass of milk). But today we’re going to jazz up our humble and trusted spread.
Awhile back, Mandy from Lady and Pups combined peanut butter and coconut oil in her Peanut Butter Sticky Rice Balls. Being the fan of peanut butter that I am, my wheels immediately started spinning on other ways to combine peanut butter and coconut. My first idea was to make a grilled peanut butter sandwich fried in coconut oil. But I needed something with a little more depth and a couple more ingredients to tie these flavors together—something like a French toast.
With peanut butter and coconut milk as the stars of this recipe, this French toast is quirky, warm and comforting. Though cinnamon is a typical French toast ingredient, I didn’t want it to stand alone in this dish. That’s when I invited ground cardamom seeds and ground ginger to the party. They both offer a complex, zippy flavor that pairs really nicely with coconut—and to my surprise—peanut butter.
Preparing this dish is not much more difficult than making a peanut butter sandwich. There’s a little extra labor involved in toasting the shredded coconut, slicing the bananas, and preparing the coconut milk custard. But beyond these steps, you’re just spreading, dipping and frying.
I like to work in an assembly line by making all of my sandwiches, dredging them all, and frying the sandwiches one-by-one while the dredged ones sit. This works particularly well because it gives extra time to “drain” the excess custard from the remaining sandwiches before they hit the frying pan.
Once your sandwiches are fried and golden, top them with sliced banana, toasted coconut, and as much maple syrup as necessary. If you’re feeling extra bold, add a scoop of vanilla ice cream and serve it for dessert! Between the soft, custardy bread and the smooth, melty peanut butter, your plate will become one delicious, luxurious mess of flavors. Enjoy every second of it!
Though it’s not a main ingredient in this recipe, the cardamom ties the entire dish together. Crack three cardamom pods with the back of your knife, remove the seeds, and grind them with a mortar and pestle. You can also use a spice or coffee grinder for larger batches. If you don’t have these tools, don’t worry—you can buy ground cardamom at the grocery store.
12 slices potato or white bread
6-8 tbsp peanut butter
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
1/2 tsp cane sugar
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cardamom seeds (approx. 3 whole cardamom pods)
unsalted butter, for frying
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
2 sliced bananas
maple syrup, for serving
large baking sheet with rack
square baking dish
Pour coconut flakes into a dry frying pan and toast over medium heat, stirring occasionally for about 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Set aside.
Add the coconut milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, ginger and cardamom to a square baking dish to make your custard. Beat to combine and set aside.
Spread peanut butter evenly over six of the bread slices, taking care to leave a 1/4-inch border all around. Top each of the peanut butter slices with the remaining six slices of bread. You will now have six peanut butter sandwiches.
Set your baking rack over a large baking sheet. Place one of the sandwiches into the custard. After one minute, gently flip the sandwich with a fork and allow to sit for another minute. Gently transfer the sandwich to your rack assembly. Repeat for the remaining five sandwiches. Try to lay the sandwiches closely to one another to leave a clean, empty surface for the cooked ones.
Once all of your sandwiches have been coated in the custard, melt about 1 tbsp unsalted butter in a frying pan over medium heat. When the butter begins to sizzle and the foam has subsided, place your first sandwich into the frying pan. Cook for about 1-2 minutes, or until the bread becomes a golden-brown color. Flip the sandwich and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Transfer the sandwich to the rack-lined baking sheet. Repeat for the remaining five sandwiches, adding butter to the pan, as needed. If you don’t plan on serving the French toast sandwiches right away, you can keep them warm in a 300º oven for about 20 minutes.
To serve your French toast, top with banana slices, toasted coconut and maple syrup.