Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Yes, We Have Some Bubanas

We interrupt this regularly scheduled madeleine project to bring you a breath of spring!

Current outside temperature, 58 degrees.

I had 4 bananas sitting on the counter this morning looking a bit sorry for eating out of hand.  My little one is having a hard time understanding what "overripe" means, so we teamed up and scoured the pantry for things we could throw together and still be able to eat those "bubanas".

I'm sort of tired of traditional banana-nut bread, but I didn't want to venture into Cooking Light territory and start pulling out peanut butter and flax seed meal.  Staring at me on the table was a basket full of juicy clementines and my memory did one of those slow dissolves to a recipe I saw a while back on another blog site.  It was traditional but had a few slight variations and I decided to adapt it far enough to call it my own.

This is NOT your mother's banana bread.  It's light and super moist with high fruit notes.  The spice is so beautifully subtle that you don't know it's there and it doesn't steal the spotlight.  WINNER!

The only thing I would love to try is to make a homemade pineapple whipped cream to place beside it if company should call.
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups mashed ripe bananas (I used 4)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt  (I used Blush Lava from Pacifica Hawaii and crushed it a bit.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon crystallized ginger, chopped fine (I used Reed's)
  • 1/4 teaspoon clementine zest
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted ground cardamom*
  • 1 cup milk less 1 tablespoon + 1 tablespoon white vinegar (substituted for buttermilk) & let sit 10 mins
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a mixer bowl, cream together butter and sugar.  Add the mashed bananas and mix, add eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla and clementine zest and turn once more.

In a separate bowl combine the dry team: flour, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon, ginger, cardamom with a whisk.  Add dry team slowly to wet team and mix just until blended.  Pour in the milk/vinegar mixture slowly and mix on low just until combined.  Mixture will look a bit curdled.  Fold in the nuts by hand and pour into buttered, floured loaf pan.  There will be enough batter left to fill about 6 jumbo muffin cups.  (Hello, freezer!) 

I baked everything in the same oven with the cupcakes in the top third of the oven and loaf in the middle third.  The cupcakes were tested at 15, 20 and 25 minutes, with 28 being the magic number for my oven.  The loaf was tested at 35 and 40 minutes and was perfectly fragrant, golden and toothpick tested at 40. 

The loaf sat in the pan for 10 minutes before I unmolded it and flipped it on it's top to further cool.  I think this helped keep the settling loaf from getting dense at the bottom - defying gravity!

Bubana Bread

* I only had whole green cardamom pods available.  I toasted them in a small pan on the stove for just a few minutes until they got fragrant, then crushed them a bit to release the little seeds.  I don't have a mortar and pestle so I just put the seeds into my coffee grinder (that was never used for coffee) and whizzed them until they were fine.  This is light years better than buying ground cardamom at the store in my opinion.

These were absolutely toddler approved especially in the shape of a muffin cup! 

Stay tuned, readers, I have some really really really sweet stuff coming very soon!

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