Bananas


Bananas are the perfect food. They are full of vitamin B6, vitamin C, and potassium. A banana is a handy little snack in it’s own little case. You cannot improve on the banana. Unless, of course, you are Dorie Greenspan. Then you can make them better by baking them into cake. With rum. With coconut.

While VERY good warm from the oven and plain, they are also good with powdered sugar.

Or

topped with a Banana Rum Sauce.

While Dorie recommends baking the cakes as layers and possibly frosting them I made only 1/2 the recipe and ended up with 12 little mini bundts (baked for 18/19 minutes). There are a couple of reasons I made only 1/2. First, there are usually only two of us at home now and the sweet things don’t disappear as quickly as they used to. Second, I only managed to save one egg when the other 2 DOZEN ended up on my kitchen floor. Now why those eggs chose that moment to simply JUMP out of the chill chest I will never know, but… Yes. It was a major mess!!

While Dorie gives us plenty of flexibility with this cake I chose to use the basic recipe with the Dark Rum and Toasted Coconut. While I used the brown sugar I used 1/2 granulated and 1/2 sweetener for the regular sugar called for. And since I didn’t want to open a can of coconut milk to use just 1/4 cup I used buttermilk.

After I had these in the oven I remembered I had some Creme de Banana in the cabinet. I wonder how that would work in these cakes? Guess I will just have to make them again – with Creme de Banana.

In case you are wondering why I made these – easy answer. The choice was Kimberly’s of Only Creative Opportunities for this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie. You can find the recipe on Kimberly’s blog or in Dorie’s Baking From My Home to Yours.

    Banana Rum Sauce

      2 tsp butter
      1 firm ripe banana cut in crosswise slices
      2 Tsp brown sugar
      2 Tbl Dark Rum
      2 tsp water
      1/2 tsp fresh grated Nutmeg 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Melt butter in small saucepan over moderately high heat until foam subsides.
Add banana and saute for about 1 minute. Shake saucepan occasionally.
Add brown sugar and saute additional minute. Shake saucepan occasionally
Remove from heat and add Rum. Continue to saute until flavors are blended.
Add water, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Shake saucepan occasionally
Sauce will begin to thicken. If you want a thinner sauce add additional water (Or a little rum!!) after the fact.

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It is summer. It is hot – already. It is the beginning of Ice Cream Season. Vanilla!! Chocolate!! Coconut!! Yes, Coconut!! And I made it for Dorie’s

    Banana-Coconut Ice Cream Pie

The Pie, as Dorie wrote it is perfect, except for one small thing. It was supposed to be made with Banana/Chocolate Ice Cream, but…. I found out from last weeks cuppys that I don’t like these two rather strong flavors together. So I used Coconut Ice Cream Instead.

The crust for Dorie’s Pie is more like a nest for the Ice Cream. Made simply with butter, coconut and LU Petit Beurre cookies (Which, unbelievably, I found at Wal-Mart) it provides a crunchy frozen base for the soft Ice Cream and Bananas.

Crust – Banana Layer – Ice Cream Layer – topped with Banana Slices. Oh, yeah, ths is good. I am glad I made just 3 minis because I would be hard NOT to eat the whole pie All. By. Myself.

Thank you, “Spike” for a great beginning to the Summer. YUM!!! You can find the recipe (and a beautiful picture of a slice of the pie) on her page. OR… just go out and buy Dorie’s book – Baking From My Home to Yours. Go ahead, you know you want to.

    Coconut Ice Cream

1 can Cream of Coconut {NOT coconut milk!}
1/2 cup Half and Half
1 – 2 Tbl Rum {to your taste}
2 tsp Vanilla extract
1 cup (or so) of toasted unsweetened coconut.


Toast the coconut in a dry skillet until golden brown. Remove from heat.
Mix the liquid ingredients and chill thoroughly.
Churn as per the instructions for ice cream maker.
Add most of the toasted coconut just before the ice cream is done, saving enough to sprinkle the top of the pie(s).


Ordinarily I would have used coconut milk, but didn’t have any. By using the Cream of Coconut I didn’t have to use additional sugar. I didn’t find it that much sweeter. It did take a long, long time to chill. I don’t know if it was because of the Cream of Coconut or I just didn’t chill it long enough before. In the end it was fine.

What is it?? Does my freezer just provide prime breeding grounds?? Do other people sneak in at night and put their left over naners in my freezer?? Why do I have more bananas everytime I open the door??

Whatever it is I have GOT to use some of the bananas. My Friend Di suggested a gorgeous bundt cake, but I knew I needed something with frosting.

I found this one in Southern Cakes by Nancy McDermott

    Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting

      2 cups AP flour
      1 tsp baking soda
      1 tsp baking powder
      1/4 tsp salt
      3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) butter, softened
      1 1/2 cups sugar ( I used 1/2 sugar and 1/2 Splenda)
      3 eggs
      1 tsp vanilla extract
      1/2 cup buttermilk
      1 1/2 cup (or 3 1/2 medium) mashed naners

Preheat oven to 350°.
Grease/flour 2 9″ cake pans (This is a cake recipe, I just made cuppys)
Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt. Stir well
Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat well (abt 2 min).
Add eggs one by one and then vanilla.
Beat well for 2/3 minutes more scraping down bowl until batter is smooth.
Stir in 1/2 flour with a large spoon just until it disappears into the batter. {Nancy suggests using a large spoon instead of a mixer “-the good old fashioned way-” to keep the cake tender}
Stir in buttermilk and remaining flour.
Gently fold in mashed bananas.
Bake 25 – 30 minutes until cakes are golden brown and spring back when t5ouched in the center.
Cool 10 minutes in pans on wire racks then remove from pan to finish cooling.

    Chocolate Frosting

      1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
      1/3 cup cocoa
      1/3 cup evaporated milk or Half and Half (I used Half and Half)
      4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
      1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine butter, cocoa and milk in a medium saucepan.
Place over medium heat and baring to a gentle boil.
Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes until cocoa dissolves into a dark, shiny essence. {This never happened for me. I had a chunky mix, but when I mixed it with the sugar it came out perfectly.}
Remove from heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla.
Beat with a mixer at low speed until you have a smooth, thick frosting.

The cuppys were really tender and delicious. You could taste the banana but it wasn’t overpowering. AND they were really soft and tender. They would be perfect by themselves as a muffin.


The frosting was, eh, how do I say this… You will fight your kids off so YOU can lick the beater!! It is Slap Yo’ Momma good!! It is roll on the floor and go limp good!! Yes, it IS that good. I felt deprived just rinsing the extra out of the bowl and off the whisk. It is a simple milk chocolate frosting that I will now put on ALL my chocolate cakes/cuppys/ brocalli/mac and cheese. Just kidding – maybe NOT on the mac and cheese!!

But!!… I didn’t like it on the cuppy. The chocolate overpowered the banana. Together they were not a couple. Divorced – they were both perfect.

Try them together or apart. You’ll be glad you did.

I love chocolate. I love bananas. I love Banana Bread. I love Banana Bread with chocolate chips. But Banana and Chocolate Bread – not so much. Sorry, Dorie. I have a couple of fails with TWD, but never really had a recipe I didn’t really like. Now I do.

The loaf was dry on the outside by the time the inside was finished baking. I tried to like it, I really did, but it was too dense. I simply decided it was baker’s error and decided to make them again. But this time in muffin form. Several of the TWD bakers on Twitter mentioned trying the muffin form and they came out pretty well.

The muffins were better. Not nearly as dense. I added butterscotch chips to break up the chocolate. I had added walnut pieces to the loaf.

This weeks pick was made by Steph of Obsessed with Baking. Sorry Steph.

Please visit the other members of TWD to see how they fared with this recipe.

Did you know that if you put bananas in the freezer they multiply?? It’s true!! I started with 14 bananas and now I have 25. Fortunately I have been finding plenty of ways to use them all (unless I find some more). This week’s banana entry comes from The Red Hat Society Cookbook.

    Banana Blueberry Bread

DSC04494The recipe makes two loaves so I made one with and one without the Blueberries

nanerblue

The only change I made in the recipe was to sub out the White Flour for the WWF again.

The plain bread was really tasty. The Blueberries in the other loaf added a hint of tartness to a sweet bread. Definitely a keeper.

I found 5 more naners in my freezer today. Guess I will have to find more recipes. (See, told you they bred in the Freezer!!!)

Well — maybe not 101, but there are lots of recipes out there that use bananas. And when I found 21 bananas in my freezer I knew I would need several of them. Expect to see lots of naners here for the next few days (except for Tuesday – that’s TWD Day!)

Alone all day Friday and Saturday there was a flurry of baking. With Bananas. With Blueberries. With Peanut Butter. With Walnuts. But you don’t get it all at once

And in case you didn’t know – November is National Peanut Butter Lover’s Month – so in honor of that….. DSC04491

    pb naner

    I didn’t make many changes to this one. I subbed out 1/2 cup APF for 1/2 cup WWF (Thanks Nancy!)Every little bit helps. I also used some left over Honey Roasted Peanuts from a previous recipe. Three bananas down – 18 to go.

    This was REALLY good. Chocolate Chips. Life is Good!!

    This recipe is from Pampered Chef’s More Stoneware Sensations.

The MSC Group is at it again. Baking our way through Martha Stewart’s CupCake Book, we do one cupcake every month. But this month we get a bonus – a second Cup Cake – Banana-Pecan

DSC04277

With Caramel Buttercream Frosting.


Easy to put together. Tasty to eat. I made 1/3 recipe and that gave me 11 cupcakes. I had some buttercream frosting in the fridge, so I made Dorie’s Caramel (From the Peanut Crunch Tart) and mixed that with the softened Buttercream. That worked out fine, but it took a lot of caramel to give it the flavor it needed.

I sprinkled some toffee bits on top of some, drizzled (which fizzled) on some and left some just plain.

DSC04278

Another good cup cake from Martha’s book. You really should buy this one. But you can also find the recipe – HERE!!

And go by the MSC Site and see how the other cup cakers. New_Image[1]

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