Preheat the oven to 350°F. Arrange the whole slices of bread on a large baking sheet and bake them for 8 minutes, turning halfway. This dries out the bread a little so it soaks up more of the egg mixture.
In a mixing bowl, scramble the eggs, then whisk in the milk, cinnamon, vanilla and salt. Melt the butter in the microwave or over the stove. Whisk the honey into the melted butter before pouring it into the egg mixture.
Grease a 9" x 9" baking pan. Cut most of the slices of bread in half, and the last couple of slices into quarters. Arrange the halved slices in the baker in rows, as shown in the pictures above, to make a roughly even layer of bread. Fill in the empty spots with the smaller pieces of bread.
Peel and slice the bananas into 1/4" wide rounds. One by one, stick the banana slices in between the slices of bread at random. Slowly drizzle the egg mixture over the bread. Use your hands to press down on the bread so it is fully submerged in the egg mixture for a few seconds (it’s ok to squish the bread a little). Wash your hands, then generously sprinkle the French toast with a couple teaspoons of raw sugar. Bake until the top is golden and the custard is set in the center, around 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.
To make the peanut butter drizzle, heat the maple syrup in small pan over low heat (you can also do this in the microwave). Whisk in 1/3 cup peanut butter or more, until it suits your tastes (keep in mind that the French toast is pretty sweet already). Remove from heat. Let the French toast cool for 5 to 10 minutes before slicing into 6 large or 8 smaller servings. Serve with maple peanut butter sauce.
Roughly adapted from Alton Brown, Bobby Deen and America’s Test Kitchen.
You can prepare the French toast up to 24 hours in advance. Once you’ve drizzled the egg mixture over the bread, cover the baker and place it in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake it. Or, bake the French toast as directed, let it cool and store it in the refrigerator overnight. When you’re ready to serve, reheat it in the oven at 350°F for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until warmed through.
Try this tasty holiday recipe for Banana Baked French Toast with Peanut Butter Drizzle.