Posts tagged banana
Sunday, June 21, 2009

bourbon banana bread with maple sugar

boozy maple sugar banana bread

Ok, so I felt kind of bad on Thursday throwing a salad your way as we were about get served with some serious rain, and by we, I mean those of us in New York and whoever else is dealing with less than June-like weather. A few of you wrote comments about bad weather elsewhere and my sunny thoughts go out to you. For the last few days I felt like I threw something totally ill-timed your way. Suggesting something you clearly cannot enjoy right away, it really isn’t fair, now is it?

Since we’re on the subject of not fair, what also isn’t fair is that for my birthday, which was nearly two months ago, I bought a stunning dress. A dress that made me look past the ridiculous price tag as it whispered sweet nothings into my ear. Oh it was something all right – pretty in an effortless sort of way, which is, as you know, the best kind out there. It was white with beautiful light and dark blue stripes. And I couldn’t wait to wear it. But some sad family news spoiled my party mood so I canceled it, and then, coupled with my grandmother’s passing and now the stress fractures from running, the dress’ outing has been delayed indefinitely (much like my posting of certain recipes!) and now the dress hangs wistfully in my closet awaiting the day when I wear something other than running shoes on my feet. Because you know, party dresses and running shoes are so hot right now.

the culpritsoooh the batter

So, I am posting something I should have posted over a month ago, but as things go around here, I’m very easily distracted. I see a shiny new recipe and whoosh – there goes my attention. Which means, that I hide these recipes from you much longer than I need to. And so I’m sorry, I’m trying to change my ways and do better. And I’m trying to turn our unfair rainy situation around for our own benefit.

I bet there’s not a reader out there who’s not made banana bread. In fact, it’s one of those things that people start out baking. It’s so ubiquitous and sits in every cook’s repertoire, like a little black dress. These quick breads are easy, you need two bowls to mix it and in minutes you have batter. What makes this perfect right about now is that it’s the perfect thing to bake when the weather is not cooperating. In fact, I think it’s the perfect rainy day thing to bake.

Banana bread fills your house with a smell that can only be described as heavenly. I could eat the whole loaf in one sitting, but we’re not going to get into that here. That’s between me and some elastic waist pants. What I want to tell you though is how I managed to make something kind of everyday and pedestrian, albeit comforting, into something rather sophisticated and dare I say, sexy?

mixing the dry ingredientsdelicately mixing

I’ve written about adding bourbon to my banana bread before, so that’s nothing new. And I’ve done the cranberry bit, so that’s old too. But I raised it up a notch this time around using maple sugar in place of regular white sugar, and that my friends, flipped my banana bread-baking world upside down. Because the hints of caramel and that earthy aftertaste you have with maple syrup shows up in this banana bread. I can’t quite sum up what maple sugar does to the banana bread, but trust me – it is good. So good, in fact, that I can’t quite put it into words. I can say this much, while it won’t bring back the sunshine and it won’t make everything better, it might make you appreciate staying in and baking, filling your house with a comforting smell. And afterward, you can sit back on your couch, a cup of tea at your side, a slice of banana bread on your plate while rain pours outside. And you know something crazy – you might not even mind it that much.

Continue reading bourbon banana bread with maple sugar.

Monday, June 16, 2008

bourbon-spiked banana bread

bourbon-laced banana bread

My love-affair with the South is multi-fold and I can wax poetic for hours putting most normal folks to sleep, but if I had to pick my three favorite things, it would be what I refer to as the Three B’s: bluegrass, barbecue and bourbon. And if ever I could combine all three, it would be pure heaven. It’s very hard to me to resist bourbon in food as well. The famous tipsy-cakes is probably what started the love-affair and the Jack Daniel’s ice cream at this place didn’t help the matters. I’ve sampled quite a few bourbons in the past, and have finally found my favorite, but I’m always on the lookout for new, small-batch-made bourbon.

bourbon-laced banana bread

I’m not sure where the idea of putting bourbon into banana bread came from, but I’m glad I did it – the bread gave off a deep caramel aroma and it accentuated the sweetness of the banana. In my now-predicable move, I substituted cranberries for walnuts as I greatly prefer more tart to my quick-breads and because I have my cranberry supply to go through.

I suggest pouring out a slightly more generous portion of bourbon than the recipe calls for – it’s quite possible, if not probable, that you might want to have a taste prior to adding the bourbon to the batter, you know, to make sure it hasn’t gone bad or anything. Quality control is so important nowadays.

UPDATE: Kris in the comment section, very accurately pointed out to me that JD is not bourbon but is sour mash whiskey – a very good point indeed. For those of you looking for a quick primer on the difference, I found one here!

Continue reading bourbon-spiked banana bread.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

banana bread

glorious scent

The one true rule in our kitchen between me and KS is that we will do whatever we can to manage our perishables in such a way that we don’t have to throw them out if they start to spoil. Leftover herbs become pesto, tomatoes with a couple of small spots get either a slow roast in the oven or processed into homemade tomato sauce, stale bread becomes croûtons. Sometimes this means deviating from trying something new as a recipe in order to salvage an ingredient or two. In every kitchen, there are most likely a few stories like this from time to time.

one hour away from bliss

Ever since we got back from South Carolina, the cooking hasn’t stopped. I’m already behind in writing all the food we’ve prepared – and I’m warning you, one picture in particular (pork chops, why won’t you photograph well?) doesn’t make you run-run-run to the kitchen and start cooking. But I’ve been wresting with meat photography – and no matter what I do, it just looks gross to me. No matter what angle, day light or otherwise, meat comes out looking gross and well, dead. Could it be my former vegetarian reacting? But never mind about that for now.

early sunday morning snack

We brought home with us a few bananas that served us as our snack food on the road. And you know how bananas are. Lush and yellow in the grocery store, luring you with their sweetness and potassium. And then you bring them with you into the car and the sit in this scorching heat for a few hours and bam! – a few brown, soft spots appear and you’re left with mushy, brown bananas. Personally, I prefer to eat my bananas while they’re perfectly yellow, but when it comes to baking – well, bring on the soft, the over-ripe, the bruised!

crumbs

And so yesterday, while cleaning up in the kitchen, I glanced over to see the sad-looking bananas hang out on the counter, probably convinced that their fate was to wind up in the garbage. Not so, I thought and dug up my trusty Martha Stewart cookbook. In ten minutes, the batter was made, poured and what was to become banana bread was happily sitting in the oven. Instead of nuts (because I’m weird and don’t like nuts in my banana bread, go figure), I added cranberries. Every year, around Thanksgiving time, I buy two extra bags of cranberries and freeze them. And then through the year, dip into my stash for things like banana bread or whatever else. It’s served me well through the years and in my opinion, it beats those Craisins every time. The cranberries are magical in banana bread, truly making the flavor pop and develop a whole new dimension. And magical is more than I could have asked for, considering that the initial goal was manage a spoiling food and what I got in return was a sweet, dreamy treat!

Continue reading banana bread.