French Toast Souffle With Caramelized Bananas

Blissful Breakfasts!

•   1 1/4 cups half-and-half (substitute skim milk for healthier version)
•   4 large eggs
•   2 teaspoon vanilla
•   ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
•   2 tsp dark brown sugar
•   2 tablespoons honey, warmed in microwave for 20 seconds
•   1/4 teaspoon salt
•   8 (1/2-inch) slices day-old or stale country loaf, brioche or challah bread
•   2 cups of apple juice
•   ½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
•   ¾ cup real maple syrup
•   1 cup chopped pecans (optional)
•   6 ripe bananas, halved crosswise and lengthwise

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

In medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the half-and-half, eggs, honey, 1 tsp vanilla, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt. Dip thick bread slices into mixture and once they have soaked in the egg mixture, place into an 8x8 Pyrex cooking pan (double recipe for 9x13 pan). Once all the bread slices are in the pan, pour remaining liquid into the pan, surrounding the bread. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown.

In a skillet, combine apple juice, maple syrup, 1 tsp vanilla and pecans. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat, add banana halves and simmer for another 3 minutes (stirring occasionally). Remove soufflé, spoon banana mixture over each serving. Add whipped cream or vanilla ice cream to make this an even more decadent treat.