Sunday, October 20, 2013

Caramelised Banana Bread

Caramelised Banana Bread 3

I like bananas - I like them a lot - and bananas show up in my breakfast/brunch, in some form or another, on a fairly regular basis.  Maybe sliced over a bowlful of this Tropical Fruit Granola with a dollop of homemade Greek-style yoghurt and a slosh of almond milk;  sometimes in a simple banana and vanilla smoothie;  often in this Banana, Lemon & Passionfruit "Breakfast" Ice Cream;  and sometimes sliced over a thick slathering of peanut butter (absolutely must be Pic's and must be crunchy) atop a slice of this quick and easy wholemeal bread.

So when it came to choosing a Donna Hay dish for our "Up & At 'Em" (breakfast food) theme this week at I Heart Cooking Clubs, there was a fairly good chance that bananas were going to figure in the recipe I would choose to start my day with.  A quick search of Donna's website turned up several recipes for banana bread, ranging from plain to fancy, and I knew this was the direction I wanted to head in.  Although some of the variations Donna offers sound wonderful, I was in the mood for plain and simple, so I opted for the Basic Banana Bread, though since we will be cooking with Donna Hay for several months yet I'm going to make it my mission to bake every one of the banana breads that she has on offer.  

I did ring a few minor changes to the recipe.  For a start, one thing you'll never find in my house is a fully ripe banana.  Not the ideal start for banana bread, I'll concede, but if there's one thing I can't stand it's a ripe banana - or a cooked one for that matter (no banana fritters for this girl).  No matter how I plan to eat my bananas, they must be slightly under-ripe - the skin still green tinged in places, the flesh still firm to the bite, and the sugars not yet fully developed.  So this doesn't exactly lend itself to mushing up bananas for banana bread or cake or muffins, so the technique I've developed over time is to slice up the bananas and use a small quantity of the recipe's butter and sugar to caramelise the bananas in a saute pan.  This way the bananas are cooked until they are soft enough to mash and mix into the bread/cake batter.  Now I must say that you don't get quite the intensity of banana flavour as you do with fully ripe fruit, but I prefer it that way, and the caramelising process brings some of those lovely "butterscotch" notes to the finished product.  The other change I made was substituting agave nectar for the golden syrup which was called for in the original recipe.

You could very easily trick this recipe up with any number of variations:  adding nuts or chocolate chunks, raspberries or blueberries, but plain and simple was what I was after this time around.

Caramelised Banana Bread 4

The final bread is deliciously moist and, although it doesn't need a good smeer of butter, it certainly tasted good with one.  I'm guessing that this will also taste great toasted in a couple of days time, if it lasts that long, in which case I reckon a slathering of Nutella might be called for.

Caramelised Banana Bread Recipe
Adapted from a recipe by Donna Hay
Click here for a printable copy of this recipe

125g (4.5 oz) room temperature butter
1 cup soft brown sugar
3x medium-sized bananas, sliced into rings
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2x eggs
13/4 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup agave nectar

Preheat oven to 160 degrees C (325 degrees F).

Lightly grease a 23cm x 13cm (9" x 5") loaf tin, and line with baking paper.

Measure out the butter and sugar, then melt one tablespoon of the butter in a medium sized skillet set over moderate heat.  Add banana to the pan, and sprinkle over one tablespoon of the sugar.  Saute, stirring often, until the bananas have softened to a "mashable" consistency, and become gooey and caramelised.  Remove from pan and set aside to cool.

Caramelised Bananas

Put the remaining butter and sugar, together with the vanilla, into the bowl of a food processor, and cream together until light and fluffy, stopping from time to time to scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon.  Add to the food processor, along with the agave nectar and caramelised bananas, and pulse a few times until everything is only just combined - take care not to over mix.

Spoon mixture into the prepared tin, and bake for 60-65 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean.

Cool in the tin for 20 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.  Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Caramelised Banana Bread 5

 If you would like to get to know Donna Hay a little better, and to see what delicious breakfast dishes everyone else has created to kick-start their days, then do go and visit my friends at I Heart Cooking Clubs and check out the links ...

IHCC Donna Hay Badge resized

I will also be submitting this post to Sweet New Zealand.  Inspired by Alessandra Zecchini, Sweet New Zealand is an event for all Kiwi bloggers (whether living at home or abroad), or all foreign bloggers living in New Zealand, to link up their sweet treats.  This month, Sweet New Zealand is hosted by Lucy at Lucy Eats.

Sweet New Zealand Badge A

And, spreading the love around, I'll also be sharing this post this week at See Ya In the Gumbo hosted by the lovely, Michelle at Ms. enPlace, and at Weekend Cooking hosted by Beth at Beth Fish Reads.



See Ya in The Gumbo Badge            Weekend Cooking Badge

40 comments:

  1. Oh, I would like to try a banana bread with caramelization going on...this sounds and looks terrific. Just the thing for a nice breakfast on the go, too.

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    1. Thanks, Kayte. A slice or two of this is definitely just the thing for those mornings when you have to devour breakfast on the run.

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  2. I prefer my bananas as you do, slightly under ripe and still a little tart, and never cooked! But I do like them baked into bread or muffins and caramelizing them first for added flavour sounds like a great idea.

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    1. Ah, Zosia, a woman after my own heart :-) Thanks for stopping by.

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  3. Hi Sue,
    Nice new look!
    I have a confession, banana is not on my list of favourites, however, I prefer them in bakes rather than eating them as they are! Weird, I know! But I love banana cakes! haha!
    Your idea of caramelizing them when they are not really fully ripe is really wonderful, one that I would take note of!
    Yummy breakfast!

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    1. Thanks so much, Joyce - the new look is still a bit of a work in progress but it's getting there.

      Funnily enough, I've always loved bananas, as long as they meet my criteria, but when I was younger I loathed banana cake or any kind of banana pudding - something that I've really grown to love as I've gotten older. But I must admit that I don't like the banana flavour to be too strong.

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  4. So funny, I'm just the opposite and love ripe bananas! But what a great idea to caramelize them for your recipe:)

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    1. Thanks, JoAnn - I think people definitely seem to fall strongly into one camp or the other - not sure that there's too much middle ground in the ripeness stakes.

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  5. I am a slightly-under-ripe girl myself so I have to "hide" them away so they get ripe. ;-) I love banana bread too and this one looks simple and good.

    Love the new header and blog look. You are reinforcing the point that I need to do something to mine on of these days. ;-)

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    1. Deb, I'm so particular about my under-ripe bananas that I normally only buy bananas one at a time, as I know that if I bought two bananas today - one would be perfect for my breakfast by tomorrow morning, but the other one would be over-ripe for me by the next day. This is usually the only way I end up with ripe bananas is when I've bought a couple of extras, maybe anticipating someone else eating a couple, and they don't get eaten. Then when they get over ripe I park them in the freezer for making muffins or something at some stage.

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  6. I'm like you -- I like my bananas a little underripe. But the idea of caramelizing them before baking -- OMG, it sounds heavenly.

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    1. Thanks, Beth. Caramelising the bananas definitely brings lovely flavour to the bread. The funny thing is though, I'm sure many people would want to just eat half the bowl of the gooey caramelised bananas before they even got to the bread - they look and smell wonderful, but there's no way I could eat them in that state.

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  7. Hi Sue! On theme: I just ate a melted chocolate and banana sandwich. Probably not ideal for getting into a swimsuit but hey...Feel like we haven't been in touch for ages. Think Ben (of getting-advice-from-you-and-about-whether-I-should-tell-him-I-liked-him fame before I went away last new years) and I might pass through Nelson on a roadtrip around Christmas, will you be around?

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    1. Hi Sasa - forget the swimsuit - melted chocolate and banana sandwich sounds like heaven!! You're right, it has been ages, but would be wonderful to see you (and Ben) if you're down this way at Christmas - I think we'll almost certainly be around.

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  8. I love your new header! It really looks pretty! I had to giggle a bit when I read about how you like your bananas. My husband enjoys his bananas with a touch of green and they are certainly a pain to shop for. I really like your idea of caramelizing the bananas to bring out the flavor. I have a soft spot for banana bread and will look forward to all the DH versions you want to try. Meanwhile, I'd love to enjoy a slice of this with you for breakfast! Looks perfect!

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    1. Thanks, Kim. You're right, we fussy banana eaters can definitely be a pain to shop for. Really though, I'm so picky I would never let anyone buy bananas for me. I will stand and look over all the bananas on display and buy just one, and I buy it today just a little bit greener than I want to eat it because I know by tomorrow it will be just right. Kim, if only we could share breakfast together - some of this banana bread and a couple of your raspberry yoghurt parfaits - wouldn't that be wonderful :-)

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  9. Your Caramelised Banana Bread looks so good! It's such a great idea to caramelise the bananas first - what a lovely flavour they must add.

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    1. Thanks, April. Caramelising the bananas does bring a lovely soft butterscotch flavour, and the banana flavour is quite delicate.

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  10. Can't wait to try this recipe, Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks so much for visiting - I do hope you'll stop by again

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  11. Okay, your banana bread looks PERFECT. I can see that I'll have to try it soon...

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    1. Thanks, Cecelia - I hope you enjoy and that it lives up to your expectations.

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  12. This sounds scrumptious. What caramelizing does for any dish is amazing.

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    1. Thanks, Chaya - you're right caramelising works wonders for anything :-)

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  13. This does look wonderfully moist. Great choice for a breakfast. I like my bananas just a tad riper than you though!

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    1. Thanks, Tina. Delicious for breakfast, and I've been enjoying it for an mid-morning snack with coffee too.

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  14. So yum, and what a new look for the blog :-)!!!

    Ciao
    Alessandra

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    1. Thanks, Alessandra, and thanks for the visit xo

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  15. Nice look, Sue!
    I have to admit that bananas are not my favorite fruit to eat as is. I always have to add them to something (like banana bread) to enjoy them. What I like most about this bread is that it makes me think of Bananas Foster...my favorite way to eat bananas. Good luck with your banana bread mission!
    Thanks for linking up!

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    1. Michelle, I definitely couldn't eat Bananas Foster, but cooked into the banana bread like that totally works for me.

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  16. Butter makes everthing better :) I am with you on the eating of bananas, cannot abide them too ripe - mush is just not someting that I like! But if they are too ripe I will freeze them & then you have bananas on hand for cake!

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    1. You're right, Mairi - everything is better with butter :-)

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  17. It's been a while since I baked a banana loaf - I like the sound of caramelised bananas :o)

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    1. Julie, I hadn't baked a banana cake or loaf for goodness knows how long either, but I'm definitely going to be making another one soon.

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  18. I adore bananas, Sue, and caramelized bananas are just heavenly! What a lovely bread you made.

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    1. Thanks so much, Hannah. The caramelised bananas did make beautiful bread - very moist, and with lovely delicate flavour.

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  19. Plain and simple is okay by me! My mom always had banana bread around the house when I was a kid ... slathered with peanut butter as an afterschool snack with a glass of milk ... to this day, I think of her taking a couple loaves out of the oven and warning us to 'take it easy on this batch! ' ...

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    1. I like plain and simple too, Susan, which also means I can justify eating it for breakfast. Never thought to try peanut butter on it though - I need to make another loaf so that I can try that.

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  20. Oh my this looks delicious!! I haven't tried Agave Nectar but I keep looking at it every time I go to the grocery store. I have heard it is great in granola bars too. I might have to pick some up!

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  21. Beautiful bread!! And I'd looooove a few slices with lots of butter :)

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