Tag-Archive for ◊ banana ◊

01 Sep 2012 Banana Pancakes with Caramel Syrup

Hmpfff…, just got through looking at the two hundred and seventeen pictures of a recent bride’s Hawaiian honeymoon.  As one of her friends commented, “The envy hurts”!  I went to Hawaii once.  I did.  It was with my kids’ swim team.  I forget exactly how many 8 – 14 year old’s were on that trip, but it was over a hundred. And a handful of chaperones and coaches. I sure know how to vacation in Hawaii.  NOT.

This morning I was inspired, by the aforementioned 217 pictures, to bring a bit of Hawaii to the breakfast table.  One of the few things I remember about my trip to Hawaii, aside from the twelve year old climbing from one balcony to another–yes, balconies on the outside of the building, outside of  the eighth floor no less–were the breakfasts.  Most mornings we had sushi from the ABC store, and I know most of you won’t relish that,  but one morning, I think it was the last one, we had some wonderful coconutty-banana pancakes.  I think by this time we had locked the kids in their rooms, turned on the TV, handed them a box Twinkies, and thrown away the keys. Yes, I am pretty sure it was an adult only breakfast that morning…

Yep…, transported to the tropics with banana pancakes!  If I had sprinkled the top of the pancakes with a bit of toasted coconut or some diced macadamia nuts I could have been transported even closer to the tropics. These pancakes raise high and are wonderfully light.  The syrup is as sweet as maple syrup, but with a lovely caramel flavor that really makes the pancakes shine.  I found this recipe on epicurious.com (love that site).  I shared these pancakes with one of the kids who went on the trip with me.  She’s almost all grown up now, but I will always remember how she loved Hawaii 🙂 Ohhhh, OK, I do have many wonderful memories of a vacation in Hawaii…

A few notes on this recipe.  If you don’t have self-raising flour, add 1 tsp of baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt to each cup of flour and to make your own homemade self-raising flour.  Don’t have buttermilk?  Stir 1 T lemon juice or 1 T. white vinegar into each cup of milk and let sit for 5 minutes; but next time you are at the store, buy two buttermilk cartons, one to use now and one to store in the freezer for next time (never run out of buttermilk).  Buttermilk powder is also a nice ingredient to have on hand (available on the baking aisle of most larger supermarkets), use as directed. The last option is to substitute yogurt (vanilla, plain, greek, banana) mixed with a little milk until the mixture has a thick pouring consistency for the buttermilk.

Don’t want to go to Hawaii?  Want to go down South?  Substitute peaches for the bananas, and add bourbon to the sauce, and throw some diced pecans over the tops of the pancakes!

Banana Pancakes with Caramel-Banana Syrup 

3 large bananas, peeled, divided use

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted, divided use
3/4 cup (packed) golden brown sugar, divided use
1/4 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (or rum)
2 cups self-rising flour
2 cups buttermilk
2 large eggs
toasted coconut, diced macadamia nuts or pecans, optional

Whisk flour 1/4 cup brown sugar in large bowl. In another bowl mash one banana, then stir in buttermilk , eggs, and 1/4 cup melted butter.  Pour the banana mixture over the dry ingredients (some lumps will remain). Heat griddle over medium heat; brush with melted butter or spray with a cooking spray.  Pour batter by 1/3 cupfuls onto griddle. Cook pancakes until golden, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer pancakes to baking sheet; and place in 200 degree oven to keep warm, if desired.

Combine 1/4 cup melted butter, 1/2 cup light brown sugar, and 1/4 cup water in a saucepan. Bring mixture to boil over medium-high heat, and simmer until mixture thickens slightly, about 2 minutes. Slice 2 bananas into 1/4-inch-thick rounds and add to syrup along with vanilla extract. Remove syrup from heat and let sit while you finish cooking pancakes.

Serve pancakes with caramel-banana syrup, and toasted coconut and/or chopped nuts for sprinkling on top of hot pancakes.

Aloha! Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today!

30 Jan 2011 Drunken Monkey Cake

Drunken Monkey Cake: my third cake from “All Cakes Considered” by Melissa Gray.  The directions were bothersome again, but I (mostly) made it as directed the first time.  This resulted in a cake that was too “moist” (probably too many bananas) but the cake showed promise, so I committed to rebaking it.

The first thing to go was the showy process of flaming the cherries in rum.  The directions specified boiling dried cherries in ¾ cup water, then pouring ¾ cup rum over the cherries, and lighting the whole thing on fire.  Being English, I know a few things about lighting things on fire.  I’ve had flaming Christmas Pudding every Christmas and New Year’s Day of my life.  The flames are for show.  Why do I want to flame the cherries?  Who’s watching?  I boiled the cherries in the water, added the rum, and set the mixture aside. I know better than to burn up my rum.

The second big problem with the recipe was the ingredient list which called for “5 or 6 very ripe bananas”.  Come again?  How much banana? Small, medium or large bananas?  I had four small and two large bananas, so that’s what I used.  Not good.  The cake was way too moist.  Even with 20 minutes extra baking, it was still too “moist”.   Stop the madness!  Specify in cups or by weight how much mashed banana to use!  For the rebake I did a little research.  One banana should equal 1/3 to ½ cup of mashed pulp, a bit more helpful, but still an issue.  With “5 or 6 very ripe bananas” I was now dealing with 1 ½ cups, 1 2/3 cups, 2 cups, or 3 cups of mashed banana!  The higher quantity being double the lower quantity!  Isn’t this maddening?  Recipes directions should be written to ensure success. If I follow a recipe I should get a good result,  without having to do additional research or recipe reworking. The second Drunken Monkey cake was baked with 2 cups of mashed banana (which was 4 medium bananas).  Still too much banana.  1 2/3 cup of mashed banana is probably just about right.

The next issue with the recipe was to drain the drunken cherries, and to pour the thickened liquid into the bananas.  Once again, how much liquid was I to expect from the cherries.  What if I didn’t have enough, what if I had too much?  The amount of liquid is not so critical in a sauce, but for a cake it makes a big difference.  So with my second rebake, I changed the way of plumping the cherries, and measured the liquid before I added it to the bananas.  By this time I had also run out of rum, so I had to switch to brandy!  Now I know both rum and brandy taste fine!  Start soaking the fruit the night before baking the cake.

The next change I made to the recipe was to substitute chocolate chips for the nuts (think frozen, drunken, chocolate covered bananas!).  I don’t like nuts, so this was a good option for me, but if I were a nut lover, I think nuts would be awesome in this cake, with or without the addition of chocolate.

The picture above reflects all the changes I made.  Now there is one more issue, I had a piece for breakfast…, hic.  Maybe there was a point to burning off the rum…

Drunken Monkey Cake with Chocolate

Adapted from “All Cakes Considered” by Melissa Gray

  • 2 cups dried cherries (recipe did not specify what kind of dried cherries.  I used tart dried cherries)
  • 1 cup dark rum (brandy works, too)
  • 1 2/3 cups mashed very ripe banana (approx. 3 or 4 medium/large bananas)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 ¼ cup all purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 4 eggs (at room temperature)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts or chocolate chips
  1. The night before baking this cake, or early the morning of, pour the rum over the dried cherries, stir, and set aside to plump.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Mash the bananas and measure 1 2/3 cup of pulp to use in the cake.
  4. Drain the rum from the cherries.  You should have approx 3 tablespoons of rum.  Stir this drained rum into the mashed bananas and set aside.
  5. Line the bottom of a 10 inch tube pan with parchment paper, then spray with Pam or spread with butter. (There is too much batter for a normal 12-cup bundt pan.  If you use a bundt pan, don’t line with parchment paper, but use Baker’s Joy! or Pam to well grease the pan–and you’ll probably have enough batter left over to also make 4 or 6 muffins.  Adjust baking times accordingly.)
  6. In a medium bowl combine the white and wheat flours, the salt, and the baking soda and set aside.
  7. With an electric mixer Beat the butter for a minute or so.  Then add in the white and brown sugars and beat for an additional 4 minutes.
  8. Add eggs, one at a time, to the butter-sugar mixture, beating well after each addition.
  9. Stir banana mixture into the butter-sugar-egg mixture. Stir in the vanilla.
  10. Slowly add the flour mixture to the banana batter.
  11. Stir the drained cherries, nuts and/or chocolate chips into the batter.
  12. Pour batter into prepared pan and place into a preheated 350 degree oven.  Bake for approx 1 hour or until cake tester comes out clean and sides start to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  13. Cool in pan for ten minutes, then loosen sides and turn out to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes a lot of cake; depending on how you slice it, you’ll probably have 16-20 slices.  Call the neighbors! Just one warning…, no, two warnings.  It’s probably best not to serve this cake for breakfast! Hic. Hic.  This is definitely not a good cake for children.

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today, you drunken monkey, you… hic!

15 Jan 2011 Banoffee Pie

Banoffee Pie! You’ve heard of it, right? Toffee, bananas and coffee flavored cream in a pastry crust? There is more to British desserts than Trifle, Spotted Dick, and Sticky Toffee Pudding, you know!

This pie took the British Isles by storm in 1972, and  gets more and more popular by the year. I’ve read Banoffee Pie is now on Australian menus, New Zealand menus, and even a few US menus!

Last March I went to England with a specific goal: to taste Banoffee Pie.  It didn’t happen.  FINALLY, almost one year later, I got a taste and it was made by me in my own kitchen!  If you want something done right… 🙂 It’s a pity I had to wait so long, but it was worth the wait.

Now that you’ve heard of Banoffee Pie, don’t wait as long as I did to try it.  It’s as easy as pie to make!  There is no doubt in my mind that my very next dinner party will feature Banoffee Pie. No doubt at ALL.

The original pie was made in a regular baked shortcrust pastry, but I made mine in a crust of crushed “Digestive Biscuits” (another English specialty! And, no, I don’t know why they are called “digestive” biscuits. I don’t want to think about it actually.) and melted butter.  A graham cracker crust can be substituted.  So you have three crust options! Pick the one that best suits your tastes, what you have on hand, or is easiest for you to pull together.

Banoffee Pie

For “Digestive” crust

4 oz. melted butter

8 oz. English Digestive Biscuits (available in International sections of many larger grocery stores, British Food stores and Indian markets…)

For Bottom Toffee Layer

4 oz. butter

½ cup dark brown sugar

1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk

For Middle Banana Layer

3 or 4 small bananas

For Top Cream Layer

1 ¼ cups whipping cream

½ – ¾ teaspoon instant espresso powder (to taste)

2 tablespoons sugar

small amount of grated chocolate (or ½ of a “Flake” bar, crumbled–another very good British chocolate bar)

Directions:

Decide what kind of crust you want and prepare it.  To make the English crust, crush the digestive biscuits in a food processor and then stir in the melted butter.  Press mixture along the bottom and up the sides of a 10-inch tart pan with a removable bottom.  (If you don’t have a 10-inch tart pan, use a quiche pan or a regular pie pan).  Chill until firm.

Combine the butter and sugar into a saucepan and place over medium heat.  Stir constantly until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved.  Stir in the condensed milk and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Pour the mixture into the prepared pie crust.  Let sit until cool.  This step is OK to prepare one day in advance.

If using a tart pan, remove the pie from the pan and place on serving tray.

Cut the bananas in half lengthwise.  Using the curve of the banana against the outside layer of the pie crust, begin to layer the banana halves lengthwise on top of the toffee layer.  When you get towards the inside you will have to cut the long banana halves to fit.

Combine the whipping cream, espresso powder and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and whip until soft peaks form.  Spread the cream mixture on top of the bananas.

Grate the chocolate, you only need a tablespoonful or two, and sprinkle over the top of the whipped cream.

Serve immediately (or within an hour or two, although leftovers do keep rather well for a bit longer than that.., if there ARE any leftovers…)

Thanks for stopping by my kitchen today.  I hope you make this soon and NEVER say terrible things about British food again! I may get offended! There is some very good British food out there, you know 🙂

13 Sep 2010 Veganized! Banana Chocolate Chip Coffeecake

This is a lovely, moist banana cake with a crunchy, cinnamon-y, chocolate chip-y topping. I reduced the amount of sugar in the original recipe from 3/4 of a cup to 2/3 cup and eliminated the struesal layer in the center since the topping has both brown sugar and chocolate chips. It’s plenty sweet and I think it may have brought out the banana flavor of the cake a little more. I wasn’t happy with the egg substitution that I used the first time around so I went with the silken tofu in lieu of an egg. It really improved the texture and the crumb of the cake. This is an easy recipe and a great little cake for snacking or breakfast.

Thanks for the inspiration, Polly!

Vegan Banana Chocolate Chip Coffeecake

For topping:

1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/3 cup organic brown sugar
1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 ½ tsp. cinnamon

For coffeecake:

2/3 cup organic sugar
1/2 cup non-dairy margarine, at room temperature (I like Earth Balance)
1/4 cup silken tofu
3 T soy milk + 1/4 tsp cider vinegar
1 1/3 cup mashed very ripe bananas (about 3, large)
1 1/2 cup all purpose, unbleached flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 x 9 x 2 inch baking pan with non-stick spray and mash the bananas in a small bowl. In another bowl stir together chocolate chips, brown sugar, walnuts, and cinnamon and set aside. In your blender (or Magic Bullet) combine the soy milk and vinegar and set aside to curdle.  In the large bowl, cream the margarine and sugar until light and fluffy. I’ve used both a whisk and a mixer for this and either one worked fine. Add the silken tofu to the soy milk mixture in the blender and whirl ’til creamy. Stir the mashed banana and tofu/soy milk mixture into the creamed margarine and sugar. Mix ’til everything is nice and gloppy and then add the flour in 1/2 cup increments. Stir in the baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Pour the batter into a prepared pan and top with the chocolate chip/nut mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 – 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (mine was done after 35 minutes).

03 Jun 2010 Polly’s 3-2-1 Smoothies

I’m pretty sure I was one of the first people ever to taste a smoothie. There was a smoothie man on campus at San Diego State University in 1976. He had a blender, fresh pineapple, fresh bananas, and a bunch of fruit juices. Every smoothie consisted of a large slice of fresh pineapple, half a banana, ice, and juice. The juice determined the flavor of the smoothie. They smelled divine, tasted divine and the memories lasted…

I’ve been making smoothies at home for a long, long time. Probably since 1977. I have spent 33 years perfecting this recipe…, it’s GREAT, better than the smoothie man’s, and it’s simple. Even I have this one memorized: 3 cups of frozen fruit, 2 cups of juice, and 1 cup of yogurt with an optional squirt of honey or spoonful of jam. (I use honey or jam only if the yogurt is plain and the fruit tart–usually the sweetening is not needed.) The recipe makes 4 cups of smoothie goodness. Enough for a 2, 3, or 4 people for breakfast. Just making one for yourself? Get out the blender (you don’t even have to measure)… Pour in one to one-and-a-half cups of frozen fruit, 3/4 to 1 cup of juice, and a small container of yogurt. Whirl on high for about a minute. Done. What a way to start a summer day!!!

I like using the frozen fruit because then there’s no need to use ice–which dilutes the intensity and the goodness of the smoothie. Now don’t be using packaged frozen fruit this time of year. I know you want to buy all those fresh berries from the market. Go ahead! Freeze the leftovers. When the strawberries get a bit past their prime…, rinse, pull the stem off, freeze. Same with peaches nectarines, apricots, plums, and bananas. No need to peel them. Just wash, slice, and bag. Leftover fresh pineapple? mango? Slice, freeze, and bag along with some blueberries, raspberries and blackberries. (OK…,it’s best to ‘open freeze’ the fruit first. Place the sliced fruit on a tray, freeze as is, then remove to a Ziploc bag. If you freeze wet fruit it tends to freeze into a solid ball. Starting out the morning with a cleaver and a ball of frozen fruit can be frustrating…). By the end of the summer you will have a wide variety of frozen fresh fruit for your smoothies and think how great you’ll feel having had a few healthy servings of fruit each day for breakfast.

I made our first smoothies of the season yesterday. Frozen strawberries (all the frozen fruit we had, usually I have more of a variety), orange-mango juice, plain yogurt, and a squirt of honey.One for me, one for my nineteen year old son and his friend, and one for my eighteen month old grandson. My son, texting away, drank a third of his and said, “Can you make more of these?” I said, “Sure. Are you that hungry”. He said, “Yeah, I’ll have another one…, but my friends are driving by and they want to stop by and have one. I told them how good they were.”!

Tonight for dinner my grandson and I had smoothies made out of frozen strawberries and raspberries, orange juice, and blueberry yogurt. Delicious (even though the picture is one of the worst pictures I’ve ever posted). My son’s favorite is frozen peaches, peach yogurt, and any kind of juice. I like to jazz his up with some frozen raspberries or raspberry yogurt. My daughter likes a citrus smoothie–frozen pineapple, sometimes with some mango and banana, lemon or plain yogurt and grapefruit juice, orange juice, or lemonade. I like frozen raspberries and blueberries, plain or berry yogurt, and any kind of juice…, but orange-passion fruit is to die for…

Let me know your favorite flavor combination! Enjoy!

Polly’s 3-2-1 Smoothies

3 cups of frozen fruit
2 cups of fruit juice (start with orange…then experiment)
1 cup of yogurt (any kind)
optional squirt of honey or spoonful of jam

Put frozen fruit in blender. Cover with juice. Add in yogurt. Blend until thick and frosty. Add in a squirt of honey or jam, if desired. Whirl again to blend. Makes four cups of smoothie goodness. Pour into 2, 3, or 4 glasses. Add a straw…, and maybe a squirt of whipped cream. Serve. YUM!

08 Feb 2010 Crumbly Topped Banana Muffins

I bought a bag of over-ripe bananas about a week ago. They weren’t that ripe at the time. I was going to make banana cream pie with them, but then all the kids left and there was no one here to eat banana cream pie, except me, and I am having a hard enough time fitting into my pants as it is. Then the banana bag ripped and rapidly blackening bananas cascaded over my counter space. There was nothing to do but start baking. I started on banana muffins last night, two kinds. These crumbly topped ones are delicious, and they are still moist and yummy the morning-after. In fact, they are so good that I just dropped off half a dozen at my doctor’s office… I’ve got my fingers crossed that there will be a rapid return on my investment…

Crumbly Topped Banana Muffins

For Muffin
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups of mashed banana (that was only 3 of the ones on my counter…)
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup veg. or canola oil or melted butter

For Topping
1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
2 T. flour
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1 T. melted butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line 10 muffins cups with paper liners. In a medium bowl whisk together flour, nutmeg, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set aside. In another bowl mix together mashed bananas, sugar, egg, and oil or melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture. Do not beat, stir just until flour is moistened. Spoon batter into muffin cups. In another bowl combine the brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and melted butter. Stir and mash with a fork until small crumbles form. Sprinkle the crumble topping over the batter in the muffin cups. Bake at 375 degrees for 18 to 20 minutes.

Yes, you should definitely make these. Thanks for stopping by!