Using a small sharp knife, cut a 3-inch pocket about 2 inches deep in the top-crust side of each bread slice, cutting to but not all the way through to the other side. For filling, in a medium mixing bowl beat cream cheese with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add 2 tablespoons granulated sugar and, if desired, the almond extract. Beat until smooth. Divide cream cheese mixture evenly among bread slices, spooning it into the pocket of each bread slice. Place bread slices in a 2-quart rectangular baking dish; set aside.
In a medium bowl whisk together eggs, milk, honey, and vanilla. Slowly pour the egg mixture over bread slices. Using the back of a wide spatula, press bread down lightly to soak with egg mixture. Cover and chill for 2 to 24 hours, turning bread slices over once or twice during chilling.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Arrange bread slices in the prepared baking pan. Bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes. Remove pan from oven. Turn bread slices over.
Meanwhile, in a small bowl combine brown sugar and flour. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in almonds. Sprinkle brown sugar mixture evenly over the top of the bread slices. Return pan to the oven. Bake, uncovered, for 15 to 20 minutes more or until golden brown. Serve with maple syrup or Salted Caramel-Banana Sauce.
Salted Caramel-Banana Sauce
In a heavy medium saucepan stir together brown sugar, whipping cream, butter, and corn syrup. Bring to boiling over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally; reduce heat to medium. Boil gently for 3 minutes more. Remove from heat. Stir in vanilla and sea salt. Pour into a small bowl. Cool to room temperature. If desired, cover and chill for up 24 hours. (If chilled, let stand at room temperature for 1 hour before serving.) Stir in banana.