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It Was a Dark and Stormy Banana Bread

I really like banana bread. It not only can make a great dessert item with a little bit of ice cream (go for Ben and Jerry’s Chunky Monkey for the complete banana experience, or make your own homemade banana ice cream), but it also is perfect for a brunch buffet or even just for breakfast on its own. I have tried a few different banana bread recipes and have never been disappointed in any that I have made, so when I saw this one from Joy the Baker I knew it had to be a hit. How could you go wrong by combining two great things – banana bread and a Dark and Stormy? If you have never had a Dark and Stormy, I was introduced to them long ago on a cruise to Bermuda and it’s a great combination of dark rum and ginger beer. this recipe incorporates the concept, though it leaves out the ginger beer and uses ginger instead.

Dark and Stormy Banana Bread

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup lightly packed muscovado brown sugar (or dark brown sugar)

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 tablespoon dark rum

2 ripe bananas, mashed

1/2 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

heaping 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Melt the butter in an 9-inch cast iron skillet over medium-low heat. Melt the butter until the crackling subsides and the butter begins to brown. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the sugar. Whisk until the butter and sugar are thoroughly combined. The mixture may seem broken as the butter won’t completely absorb into the sugar just yet. Allow the mixture to stand and cool for about 5 minutes.

Whisk in the eggs, one at a time. The mixture will begin to emulsify, be glossy and no longer greasy. Whisk in the vanilla and the dark rum. Add the mashed bananas, fresh ginger, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ground ginger and stir to combine.

Add the flour, baking soda, and salt. Stir the mixture carefully until all of the dry ingredients are incorporated. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides and spread the batter evenly across the skillet.

Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 18-25 minutes until mixture is dry on the top, but still slightly soft in the center. Remove the skillet from the oven and allow the banana bread to cool for 15 minutes. Sprinkle the banana bread with powdered sugar if you’d like and enjoy it warm.

There are a few great things about this recipe. Naturally, the first one is in the flavor. It is awesome banana bread, nice and moist with good banana flavor and the dark rum and ginger really shine through here. Second, this bread is the epitome of easy make and clean up since you do everything in one skillet start to finish. It’s a great use of your cast iron skillet and the bread comes out perfectly in color and has some nice texture to it and there’s no extra bowls to have to clean. Add some ice cream or homemade whipped cream to this and you have something great.
That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another great recipe to try. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!
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Better Bake These Banana Bread Muffins with Browned Butter Glaze

I haven’t posted anything in a couple of days because I have been busy trying to get caught up with work and because our oven when on the fritz the other day and refused to ignite. I was able to cook on the stovetop but we were pretty limited in what we could have, but thankfully my brother helped me out and I got the part to fix the oven and he was able to get it going again today, so I can get back to cooking meals and treats again tonight. In the meantime, I can let you know about a recipe I tried a week ago when I had some bananas that were passing their prime and needed something to do with them – fast. I knew I could make some banana bread or some banana muffins, but how about combining the two and topping them off with a nice glaze? That sounded even better and I came across this recipe at Cooking with Ruthie for baked banana bread donuts with a browned butter glaze that I chose to make as muffins instead. I am sure they make great donuts too if you have the right donut pan, but muffins were the easier way to go for me this round so that’s what I did.

Baked Banana Bread Muffins with Browned Butter Glaze

1/2 cup butter

1/2 cup applesauce

3/4 cup sugar

2 whole eggs plus 4 egg whites

2 2/3 cup all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about 1/2 a lemon)

2 teaspoons baking soda

4 overripe bananas

1/4 cup butter

2 cup confectioner’s sugar

3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

2-3 tablespoons milk

In a large bowl, blend the butter, applesauce, sugar, eggs and egg whites with a hand mixer. Slowly add in the all-purpose flour, lemon juice and baking soda and mix on high for about 2 minutes to mix the ingredients well. The batter will appear glossy when it is done. Mash the bananas in a separate bowl and gently fold in the bananas to the batter until they are well incorporated.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Using a muffin pan lined with muffin papers, fill each paper with batter until it is about 2/3 full. The batter should make 18 to 24 muffins. Bake the muffins in the oven for about 18 to 20 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool the muffins in the pans on a wire rack for about minutes, then turn them out onto the wire rack to finish cooling.

For the glaze, melt the butter in a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, watching the butter carefully to see when it reaches a medium brown color and has a nutty aroma. Remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in 1 cup of the confectioner’s sugar at a time, adding 1 tablespoon of milk as the mixture thickens to help thin it out. Adjust the milk as necessary so that it stays thick enough to stay on top of the muffins. Add the vanilla to the mixture and whisk until the glaze is smooth. Drizzle the warm glaze over the tops of the muffins. The glaze will set quickly so you want to work quickly while it is warm and pourable. Cool the muffins again and serve.

The muffins had that great banana bread texture and flavor so they came out perfectly, and the glaze added a touch of sweetness to the muffins that plain banana muffins did not have in the past. I think you could get even better flavor out of the glaze and jazz it up a bit if you added a bit of banana liqueur or some dark rum to give it a bananas foster type of flavor. Maybe next time around I will give it a try. I think these would be great donuts too, but I only have the mini donut pan and it would have taken several batches to make them, so I opted for muffins instead. This is a nice alternative to banana bread if you need something to do with extra bananas.

That’s all I have for today. Check back next time for another recipe. until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on October 10, 2014 in Breakfast, Brunch, Cooking, Dessert, Fruit

 

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Let’s Go Bananas! Ultimate Banana Bread

Banana bread is one of my favorite snacks. I love a slice with a cup of coffee in the morning. It just seems like a great way to start the day. I have tried several recipes for banana bread before and most of them have been pretty good and tasty. I have yet to come across one that makes dry, crumbly bread that you wouldn’t want to eat. When I saw this recipe from America’s Test Kitchen for the Ultimate Banana Bread, I knew I was going to have to check it out and give it a try to see if it really lives up to all the hype.

Ultimate Banana Bread

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon table salt

6 large very ripe bananas, peeled

8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter, melted and cooled slightly

2 large eggs

3/4 cup packed light brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup walnuts, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray. Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl.

Place 5 bananas in a microwave-safe bowl; cover the bowl with plastic wrap and cut several steam vents in the plastic wrap with a paring knife. Microwave on high power until the bananas are soft and have released liquid, about 5 minutes. Transfer the bananas to a fine-mesh strainer placed over a medium bowl and allow them to drain, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes. You should have about 1/2 to 3/4 cup of liquid.

Transfer the liquid to a medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, stir the reduced liquid into the bananas, and mash the bananas with a potato masher until they are fairly smooth. Whisk in the butter, eggs, brown sugar and vanilla.

Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and stir until just combined with some streaks of flour remaining. Gently fold in the walnuts, if using. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Slice the remaining banana diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Shingle the banana slices on top of either side of the loaf, leaving about an 1 1/2 inch space down the center of the loaf to ensure an even rise. Sprinkle the granulated sugar evenly over the loaf.

Bake the loaf until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 55 to 75 minutes. Cool the bread in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and continue to cool it on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Now calling it the ultimate banana bread may be bragging a little on their part, but it is a pretty darn good bread. it has some of the best banana flavor in bread that I have had in a while and I do like the bananas on top of the bread too. With the sugar they almost caramelized and candied a bit, making them quite tasty.Microwaving the bananas and getting the liquid out of them really helps to give the flavor and keeps the bread from getting too mushy with this many bananas in the recipe. Both Sean and Michelle agreed it was one of the best banana breads, so I’ll be making this one again.

That’s all for today. Check back next time for another recipe. I have a bunch of new ones to choose from, so we’ll see what comes up next. Until then, enjoy the rest of your day and enjoy your meal!

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Posted by on October 8, 2013 in Breads, Cooking, Fruit

 

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Father’s Day Brunch, Part 3: Having Your Cake and Eating Banana Bread, Too

Okay, after posting most of the meal that we had for Father’s Day Brunch, here are the dessert-like items that I made. I made a blueberry coffee cake, banana bread and a fruit salad. None of these are hard to make and they all tasted really good!

Blueberry Coffee Cake

Topping

1/3 cup packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup granulated sugar

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 tablespoon butter, melted and cooled

Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 3/4 cups buttermilk or plain yogurt

1 cup packed light brown sugar

1 cup granulated sugar

3 large eggs

7 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled

1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries, rinsed and dried

For the topping: Mix the brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon and melted butter together in a medium bowl until the mixture resembles wet sand. Set aside.

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Generously coat a 9 by 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray.

For the cake: Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together in a large bowl. Whisk the buttermilk, brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs and melted butter together in a separate bowl until smooth. Gently fold the egg mixture into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula and stir until the batter looks smooth and well combined. Stir the blueberries into the finished batter.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the batter. Bake until the top is golden and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached. about 40 to 45 minutes. Let the cake cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before serving.

You could also substitute dried apricots, dried cherries or dried cranberries for the blueberries if you prefer. The cake comes out perfectly and tastes great even the next day or two later with your morning coffee.

The banana bread is just as easy to make. I’ve tried a few recipes and this one, from Tyler Florence, seems to work out the best with the best banana flavor.

Banana Bread

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

4 overripe bananas

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, melted and cooled

2 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Confectioner’s sugar, for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease a 9 by 5 inch loaf pan. in a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside. Mash 2 of the bananas with a fork in a small bowl so they still have a bit of texture. With an electric mixer, whip the remaining bananas and sugar together for 3 minutes; you want a light and fluffy banana cream. Add the melted butter, eggs, and vanilla; beat well and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated; no need to over blend. Fold in the mashed bananas with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Give the pan a good rap on the counter to get any air bubbles out.

Bake for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool the bread in the pan for 10 minutes or so, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.Dust with confectioner’s sugar and serve.

You could add some nuts to the bread when you mix the mashed bananas in if you like the nuts. Pecans or walnuts would work pretty well. My family doesn’t care for the nuts, so I left them out. You could also toast the slices lightly in a buttered skillet over medium heat if you want to give them some crunch when serving.

Finally, I also made a fruit salad to go with the brunch. You can pretty much do what you want with fruit salads, that’s one of the great things about them. Add more of the fruit you like, change out some fruit, add some fresh mint, do what you want.

Fruit Salad

1/2 seedless watermelon

1 mango, peeled and diced

1 fresh pineapple, peeled and diced

1 pint fresh strawberries, halved

1 pint raspberries

1 pint blueberries

1 can mandarin oranges, drained

Using a melon baller, hollow out the watermelon and set the balled watermelon aside. With a knife, cut away any excess in the watermelon shell, and, if necessary, flatten out the bottom of the outside of the shell so it rests comfortably on a flat surface. Add the watermelon, mango,pineapple,strawberries,raspberries,blueberries and oranges, arranging the fruit in layers. Serve immediately or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until serving.

You can add any fruit you like. I often top it with a sliced banana, or add some plums, peaches or apples, whatever happens to be in season.

Tomorrow I will post the recipe I made on Monday for an oven roasted trout and potatoes, and I am planning to make a flank steak with salsa verde on Friday, so check back for that one as well. That’s all for tonight. Enjoy your evening and enjoy your meal!

 
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Posted by on June 20, 2012 in Breads, Breakfast, Cooking, Dessert, Picnic Fare, Salad

 

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