Croque Chocolat Banane (or Chocolate Banana Panini)

This is my very first post for the recipe portion of my website: “Cooking by the Books.” The cooking section is for fun experimentation preparing the foods I read about in my favorite books.  To start, I’m sharing a recipe for the “croque chocolat banane” sandwiches that Rosemary enjoys in my novel, The French Impressionist.

I usually say that I don’t like bananas, but that’s not entirely true.  I like them when they’re cooked:  mushy and warm and delicious. Ever tried banana baby food? Yum! Parents, you know you’ve sampled it, don’t deny! The taste of the cooked fruit is so different from fresh banana, and for a reason known only to God, I prefer it. By the way, I also love chocolate. Who doesn’t? It’s only natural that I’d be intrigued when I came across a recipe for chocolate panini. Warm, melted chocolate between crunchy slices of grilled bread?  Mmmmm! And them I thought:  why not add banana? Chocolate and bananas are BFF’s! What a great idea!

Thus the “croque chocolat banane” that Rosemary eats when she arrives in the town of Nice, France was born. I did online searches and found that I wasn’t the one who originated that idea. There are numerous recipes for grilled chocolate banana dessert sandwiches. I can’t claim to be the inventor, but I will claim to love these more than the average person!

This is so simple you don’t need a recipe but a few basic instructions should more than suffice.

CROQUE CHOCOLAT BANANE

You’ll need:

  • Slices of your favorite bread
  • Fresh bananas
  • Chocolate
  • Butter or margarine. (I won’t judge.)

Directions:

Generously butter both slices of bread. Layer chocolate pieces and slices of banana on the bottom slice, and stick another buttered slice of bread on top. Grill that baby until nicely browned on both sides. Enjoy the warm, melted chocolate and yummy cooked bananas! Sprinkle with powdered sugar if you want to make these look pretty. Unnecessary note:  the buttered side of the bread goes on the outside. You’re welcome.

*A few more notes:

Breads:  This recipe works best with white breads. Forget whole wheat, we’re not making anything healthy, here! This is a dessert! I prefer sourdough. Sweeter or milder-tasting breads will also work fine but I like the crunch and taste of firm sourdough. Gluten-free breads would probably work ok, but I’d add a ton more butter as they tend to be dry.

Chocolate: I like Hershey’s or Cadbury’s. If you want to use imported Belgian chocolate confections hand-made by fairies under a full moon, go right ahead.

Kitchen Tools: You could use a panini maker, a frying pan, a grill, or in my case, a twenty year-old “George Foreman Lean Mean Fat-Reducing Grilling Machine.” This little gem has become my own personal panini maker. I’ve even heard of making grilled sandwiches with the help of a clothes iron.  Again, withholding judgment, here.

The word “panini:”  It’s Italian for “sandwiches.” I realize that it has come to stand for grilled sandwiches here in the U.S., but I have an opinionated linguistic note to add: the word “panino” is the singular form of the noun and “panini” is the plural form of the noun. So, please, please stop saying “I’d like a panini sandwich, please.”  You just asked for a “sandwiches sandwich!”  Stop it!  (Still withholding judgment. Peace out).  🙂

Photographs: You’ll notice that this section does not have the polish and sophisticated look of the many gazillions of recipe or cooking blogs out there. Note the ever so dark and unprofessional look of my food photographs…I won’t promise that my photos will look pretty, but I will promise that I have actually tried the recipes and that I like them. I will also give credit for recipes where credit is due. Today I seriously don’t think anyone needs props for “creating” these sandwiches when they’re so easy to make and when grilled sandwiches are so universal.

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