Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Sticky, Aromatically Swollen Banana Bread

You know the deal. You buy a bunch of bananas, intent upon faithfully and healthfully eating one every day.

Two weeks later, you glance at the bowl on the far side of the hutch, and realize that those black things used to be bananas. Thankfully, there are recipes out there that highlight the special beauty of bananas gone ripe- way ripe.

DucCat always gets on my case about owning 50 or so cookbooks, yet continuing to get all my recipes from the web. Intent upon bucking the trend, I browsed through my shelves, and finally settled upon Nigella Lawson's, "How To Be A Domestic Goddess".

The recipe was a breeze to throw together, and allowed me to get rid of a couple of bars of chocolate as well. I used the last bits of a Lindt 70%, and an Endangered Species white chocolate/macadamia nut combo.

This is adapted from one of Nigella's favourite books, Jim Fobel's 'Old Fashioned Baking Book: Recipes From an American Childhood'. "If you're thinking of giving this cake to children, don't worry, the alcohol doesn't pervade: you just end up with stickily, aromatically swollen fruit."

Only Nigella could throw out that phrase with such deadpan delight.

Banana Bread

scan't 1/2 cup golden raisins
6 Tablespoons or 3 ounces bourbon or dark rum
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
4 small, very ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
9x5-inch loaf pan, buttered and floured (or with a paper insert)

Put the golden raisins and rum/bourbon in a small saucepan, and bring to a boil.
Remove from the heat, cover, and leave for at least one hour, or until the raisins have absorbed most of the liquid, then drain.
Preheat the oven to 325-degrees.
Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, combine butter and sugar, beating until well-blended.
Beat in eggs one at a time, then the mashed bananas.
Stir in the walnuts, drained raisins, and vanilla extract.
Add flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring well after each addition.
Scrape into loaf pan and bake in the middle of the oven for 1 - 1 1/4 hours.
Loaf will be ready when skewer comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging.
Leave in the pan on a rack to cool, before turning out to cool completely.
Wrap well. This will stay moist at least one week.

Variations: Replace 2 Tablespoons flour with good cocoa powder, and add 4 ounces of chunked bittersweet chocolate.

s'kat's notes: I'm not so fond of raisins, so I completely omitted them. I kept the jigger of rum (spiced), and think it helped round out the background flavours. I also omitted the walnuts in the batter, but sprinkled the top generously with chopped pecans.

Chunked chocolate was added- Nigella suggests four ounces, but I was probably closer to six. Now, I'd forgotten to flour the chocolate, so a good portion of it settled to the bottom during baking. If you add the chocolate, just make sure you roll it in some flour and shake off before adding to the mixture.

This loaf was very moist, and kept, tightly-wrapped, for about a week. It possibly could have made it longer, but it didn't stand a chance in this household.


Blogger MeBeth said...

I've been so into banana bread lately - and the apartment smells delicious afterwards. I agree with your changes - always add more chocolate and skip the raisins!

November 15, 2005 3:05 PM  
Blogger Randi said...

omg, yummy.

November 15, 2005 11:27 PM  
Blogger Kalyn said...

Glad you figured out how to fix your blog header. Looks good. I had no clue but I knew someone on FBS would be able to help.

November 15, 2005 11:39 PM  
Blogger Mona said...

Wow, that looks and sounds excellent! Perfect timing, I'm trying to figure out my holiday treats for Thanksgiving this year. Would this be better as a breakfast sort of bread or with meal or dessert? I'm sort of clueless when it comes to this sorta stuff...

November 16, 2005 12:01 AM  
Blogger Anna said...

I've been craving banana bread too, but having a hard time figuring out when to eat it. It's not quite a dessert, but too rich for breakfast. What to do, what to do? Your looks incredible.

November 16, 2005 12:06 AM  
Blogger s'kat said...

MeBeth, you are so right- I should have mentioned that wonderful aroma!

Randi, it was indeed.

Kalyn, those people are an invaluable resource- I think I learn something new everyday!

Mona, you could probably eat this anytime of the day. It's rather rich with all that chocolate, but that didn't stop me from having a piece with coffee one morning. DucCat had some almost every evening after dinner, so it's a toss-up.

Anna- have it with your afternoon cuppa!

November 16, 2005 7:35 AM  
Blogger Nerissa said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

November 16, 2005 10:42 AM  
Blogger Nerissa said...

Always with the walnuts... *sigh* The pictures look beautiful and make me crave a banana chocolate combo but ... *sigh* no walnuts. Maybe I should try the recipe without. But I'll have to wait. The only bananas in town are either green and hard as a rock or were green a week and a half ago and are now a weird combo of grey-green-brown

November 16, 2005 10:45 AM  
Blogger Nerissa said...

Oh pooh.. I just realized again that pecan were on top. I would like to try it with pecans at least once. I like pecans much better than walnuts.

November 16, 2005 11:01 AM  
Blogger s'kat said...

thediningdica, I think you should! The pecans were great on top, adding just the right amount of nutty crunch.

November 16, 2005 5:24 PM  
Blogger Molly said...

S'kat, I can't believe it's taken me this long to get over here and see this. That looks and sounds like one fantastic banana bread, m'dear. Three cheers for Nigella!

November 17, 2005 3:32 PM  
Blogger s'kat said...

Molly- banana bread IS love.

November 18, 2005 8:06 AM  

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