Mom’s Banana Apple Bread

April 20, 2008 at 5:35 pm | Posted in book review, breakfast things, cakes & tortes, events, muffins & quick breads, simple cakes, sweet things | 51 Comments

banana apple bread

Well, not my mom’s.  I’m guessing Melissa Murphy’s mom’s, since it’s in her new cookbook The Sweet Melissa Baking Book.  You know, I really don’t like bananas in their raw form (not even in smoothies), but once they are baked into something sweet, it’s a whole ‘nother story.  R does like to have bananas in his cereal, but sometimes he buys more than he can eat.  When that happens, I wrap them up and stash them in the freezer…after I’ve accumulated a few, it’s time for banana bread, cake or muffins!

What makes this particular banana bread extra-special are the bits of caramelized apple throughout.  Most banana bread has a pretty good shelf life and can even get better after a day of so.  This one is no exception, as the sweet apples just meld more into the spiced bread.

I was so happy with this, that I’m entering it into Sydneysider Not Quite Nigella’s Banana Bread Bakeoff event.  If you have a favorite banana bread recipe, go check out her bakeoff, too.

banana apple bread

Mom’s Banana Apple Bread– makes one 1 1/2-quart loaf pan
from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy. All rights reserved. Copyright © Melissa Murphy, 2008

For the apples:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the banana bread:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups very ripe mashed bananas (2 to 3)

Before you start:
Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter and flour a 1 1/2-quart loaf pan.

To make the apples:
Preheat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and brown sugar and heat until bubbling. Add the apples and cinnamon and sauté until golden and tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

To make the banana bread:
-In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt.

-In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

-In a small bowl, combine the orange juice and vanilla.

-Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the orange juice mixture, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each flour addition. Stir in the mashed bananas until combined. Then stir in the reserved apples.

-Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before unmolding onto the rack to cool further.

*Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The banana bread keeps well wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, freeze well wrapped in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil for up to 3 weeks. Defrost (still wrapped) at room temperature.

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Crunchy Granola

January 23, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, breakfast things, cereals, groups, tuesdays with dorie | 8 Comments
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crunchy granola

Granola and yogurt with half a banana is my go-to weekday breakfast. I used to make a big batch of my own cereal every couple of weeks, but then I got lazy and started buying it again. New York City, and Brooklyn in particular, is big in the small-batch granola scene (Surprised? I bet not.), and I have dutifully tried every little cutely packaged and expensive hipster brand I can find at local gourmet shops. Some are great, and some not so much, but homemade is even more delicious– and definitely cheaper– than the best brand I know of.

This Crunchy Granola reminds me of how fresh and easy to make homemade granola is. One of the best parts of going DIY is that you can customize your mix and put in all the bits and pieces you like the most (no thanks, goji berries). I like almonds and pecans, dried cherries, seeds and coconut in big chips. I like extra salt and a little less sweet stuff. I like it well-toasted and a combo of clumps and loose bits. One little trick that I usually do with my homemade granola is to toss the coconut on the tray (I use a metal sheet tray) at the very end, turn the oven off and let the tray cool down along with the oven…extra crunchiness without burned coconut. Oh, and never add the dried fruit until the granola’s out of the oven and cooled. I’ve screwed that one up before and it doesn’t taste good. This batch was just perfect though and I’m already looking forward to tomorrow’s brekkie.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Chunkers

January 2, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 4 Comments
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chunkers

Chunkers are basically chocolate held together with more chocolate– awesome! Start with a brownie-like chocolate base, stir in a ton of chopped milk and dark chocolate, as well as dried cherries and cashews, and you get chunky, chewy, gooey globs. I made mine on the small side, but you can go big with them as well. You could mix up the fruit and nuts, too. I can see these taking well to lots of combos. They’re a delicious way to kick off a new year of cookie baking.

For the recipe, see Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll and please join us if you haven’t already!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Chocolate-Cinnamon Beignets

April 19, 2016 at 8:18 pm | Posted in BWJ, general pastry, groups, other sweet, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 6 Comments
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chocolate-cinnamon beignets

Normally when I think beignet, I just think donut…well, French donut, I guess.  Something made with a donut-like dough.  Usually involving yeast.  It turns out there’s another type of beignet that I wasn’t really aware of…one made with fried pâte à choux dough, and Norman Love’s Chocolate-Cinnamon Beignets are an example.  These ones have cocoa and cinnamon flavoring the choux dough and a filling of caramelized banana pastry cream.  Yeah, there are a a bunch of things to make, but mmmmm.

Assembling these beignets is a lot like forming dumplings or ravioli.  The choux dough is wrapped and chilled, before being rolled, cut and filled.  And then folded, crimped, frozen and fried.  I’ve never rolled out choux dough before, so this was a fun exercise.  I could have cut the dough into circles like in the recipe (and made half-moons), but I cut it into squares instead (and made triangles) so I wouldn’t have any scraps to waste or otherwise deal with.  Different geometry, but it all tastes the same.

These are best served à la minute, right when they’re fried crisp and the filling is warm.  The recipe calls for serving the beignets with a sweet walnut and cream sauce, which I’m sure is delicious, but I had some chocolate-tahini sauce I made the other week and I used that instead. I added a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some sliced bananas, just because.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  There’s also a video of Norman and Julia making the beignets together.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Granola Energy Bars

January 13, 2015 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, breakfast things, cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 20 Comments
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granola energy bars

Granola and yogurt is my standard weekday morning brekkie.   It’s fast, it’s easy and I like it.  Sometimes I add a banana to jazz it up but, all in all, I keep it all pretty plain, so it’s fairly healthy.  A lot of store-bought granola is anything but, with loads of sugar and add-ins.  Store-bought granola bars are usually the same way…more like candy bars than healthy snacks.  I eat enough sugar for dessert, so I try to avoid those “extra” sweets during the day.  If you wanna control what goes in it, I guess you gotta make it yourself!

These Granola Energy Bars are loaded with nuts, seeds, dried fruit (I used raisins, cherries and apricots) and oats, of course, bound together with brown rice syrup.  I think the brown rice syrup helps keep the bars chewy, too, but corn syrup or golden syrup would be likely substitutes if you can’t find it easily.  These were a cinch to make, and I feel good about what went into them.  And they’re filling, too, if you just need a little something to hold you over.

I bought the brown rice syrup at the health food store just for this recipe, so I’m not sure what I’ll do with the rest of the jar…apart from making more granola bars.  Perhaps I’ll tweak the recipe to make my own homemade, fresh version of the candy bar kind with mini chocolate chips and peanuts, for dessert, of course.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll and please join us, if you haven’t already!

TWD BWJ Rewind: Challah

December 31, 2013 at 11:06 am | Posted in BWJ, groups, sweet things, sweet yeast breads, tuesdays with dorie | 12 Comments
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challah bread

Happy New Year!  Have you made any resolutions for 2014?  Normally I wouldn’t, but I have a couple of “situations” that I should get under control STAT.  Resolving to use up my current kitchen cupboard and my bathroom beauty products before buying more is something that has to happen.  I do not need four eye creams or six bottles of hot sauce open at once.  I don’t have the storage space for that, and the clutter on my counters is driving me bananas!

What does Lauren Groveman’s Challah have to do with this?  It’s going to help jam population control (five jars open in the fridge, with four more in the cupboard…sheesh).  The group made this bread in early December, but I didn’t have my act together that week.  I’m glad I got it together, though, because it’s delish.  I just made one loaf, which was a half-recipe, and it’s a huge beauty!  A three-strand braid is so simple to do and it really looks great, but maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to try my hand at five or six.  Maybe.  Even though I’m notoriously stingy with egg wash (I never want to use  up a whole egg for it, and unless I have a bit of extra egg left over from something else, I usually pilfer a tiny bit from the eggs in the recipe),  it still came out with a gorgeous crust.   And the insides are perfectly soft and slightly sweet.  I’m looking forward to challah French toast in a couple of days…topped with jam sauce, of course.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  Note that this challah recipe uses melted butter, if that’s a concern for you (although I suspect it could be replaced with oil).  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll to see if anyone else did a rewind this week, and see the links page from challah week at the beginning of December!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Stonefruit Crumble

August 16, 2011 at 12:01 am | Posted in cobbler, crisps, shortcakes, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 11 Comments
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stonefruit crumble

This was supposed to be a Tropical Crumble with mangoes and bananas, but like I mentioned when I made jam, I have apricots and plums up the wazoo right now.  So this became a Stonefruit Crumble instead, with apricots and yellow plums (look, I kept the colors similar!), and a little red plum ice cream for good measure.  I tried to keep my version along the same lines as the original, flavoring the fruit with ginger and citrus, but since my fruits were small and soft, I didn’t pre-cook my filling before baking the crumble and I added a sprinkling of flour to the fruit mix to help thicken the juices.

Does anyone know if theree’s technically a difference between a crisp and a crumble??  Maybe there is, because my topping wasn’t as crunchy as I thought it would be.  It had pecans, brown sugar and butter (cut back from the original recipe by a couple of tablespoons), so it wasn’t bad, but it did just kind of meld into the smooshiness of the baked fruit.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Laws of the Kitchen, as it was Gaye’s turn to pick again.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie: Devilish Shortcakes

November 30, 2010 at 12:01 am | Posted in cobbler, crisps, shortcakes, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 19 Comments

devilish shortcakes

I had a quick thought of skipping these Devilish Shortcakes and this week’s TWD.  Then on Sunday, after the last of our Thanksgiving pie had disappeared, my husband asked what we’d be having for dessert.  Seems as though someone’s not worried about putting on extra holiday pounds!

I’d never made chocolate shortcake biscuits before (never even thought about chocolate shortcakes before), and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them.  Fruit and chocolate combos aren’t usually too appealing to me, and anyway the berries right now look downright sad.  But then I found a sudden burst of inspiration sitting on my counter– a banana!  I caramelized banana slices with a little brown sugar, added a spoonful of peanut butter to my whipped cream, and grabbed a handful of salty peanuts and two baked shortcakes.  Bingo!

The photo is a little…well…unappetizng, but these were good.  It’s hard to go wrong with chocolate, peanuts and bananas, I guess.  The shortcakes themselves weren’t very sweet, so I was glad I’d caramelized the fruit.  I have a few more shortcakes in the freezer, so I’ll be looking through the TWD Blogroll for some more ideas for what to do with those.

For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or Love Big, Bake Often, as it was Tania’s pick of the week.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!

The Cake Slice: Fresh Apple Cake with Brown Sugar Glaze

September 20, 2010 at 12:21 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, the cake slice | 19 Comments

fresh apple cake with brown sugar glaze

OK, I am the first to say that my Fresh Apple Cake cake looks an awful lot like a meatloaf, but it is in fact the perfect sweet way to welcome fall and apple season!  I scaled back the recipe to make a standard loaf cake, but to tell the truth, we could have easily polished off a full-sizer.  It’s moist texture reminded me of  banana bread (and I even swapped a third of the oil for unsweetened applesauce), but the taste here is all about apples, walnuts and vanilla.  Yes– vanilla, a welcome change from the usual cinnamon!  A brown sugar glaze makes an addictively sticky topping.

This is the last cake the group is baking from Southern Cakes.  Not all of the cakes I’ve made from this book have been so successful, so I’m glad to go out on a high note with this one.  Speaking of going out on a high note, this is also the last cake I’ll be baking with The Cake Slice group.  I’ll certainly still be following the other blogs as they move on to the next book, but I think I need to ease off the baking commitments for a bit.  Thanks so much, Katie, for all the hard work in keeping this group going– I’ve had such a great time!

Here’s a printable link to the recipe.  Or get your hands on a copy of Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott.  Cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers to check out all of our apple cakes this month!

Vanilla-Caramel Roasted Pineapple

May 15, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Posted in other sweet, sweet things | 12 Comments

vanilla-caramel roasted pineapple

Meet my latest addiction– Vanilla-Caramel Roasted Pineapple.  Pineapple is delicious and sweet as-is, but cook it in rum and vanilla-infused caramel, and you may not be able to eat it any other way again.  The first time I made it, I did just half a recipe, with half a pineapple.  How silly!  It was gone in a flash, and I had to make it again!

If you can manage to control the urge to eat every last piece with your fingers and then drink the syrup, you might like to know that it makes for a great tart, and it transforms Greek yogurt into something even tastier than my childhood favorite Breyers flavor.  It’s a shame I don’t have some vanilla ice cream in the freezer right now, because I wouldn’t hesitate for a second to make an incredible, syrupy pineapple sundae.  Don’t even get me started about pineapple pancakes…

The original recipe comes from Pierre Hermé…I’ve made some minor modifications to it below, basically just to make it a bit quicker/easier to cook and a bit more economical.  If you don’t have banana or ginger, you could modify it further and leave them out, with no ill-effects, I’m sure.  I do recommend roasting the pineapple in quarters, then cutting them into chunks later, as I imagine the smaller pieces could get mushy otherwise.

Vanilla-Caramel Roasted Pineapple
modified from a recipe by Pierre Hermé

1 fresh pineapple, peeled, quartered lengthwise and cored
120 gr granulated sugar
30 gr (about 1/2) mashed banana
1 vanilla pod, scraped
20 ml (4 t) rum
4 thin slices of fresh ginger
60 mL (1/4 c) cold water

-In a small heavy-bottomed pot, make a dry caramel (no water) by heating the sugar over medium heat.  Wait until the caramel is deep amber. If part of the sugar is caramelized while the rest has not melted yet, turn your pot to move the hot spots under the unmelted sugar.

-Meanwhile, split the vanilla pod and scrape the seeds. Add the seeds and pod to the caramel along with the ginger slices. Leave 10 seconds, then pour the cold water into the caramel to stop the cooking process (don’t worry if it seizes).   Bring it to a boil and cook gently until the caramel is liquid.  Remove from the heat and add the rum and mashed banana.

-Leave in the fridge for several hours or overnight to infuse.  The syrup will be quite intensely flavored, but will mellow when it cooks and mingles with the pineapple juices.

-Fish out the vanilla pod (save it) and pass the syrup through a fine sieve.

-Heat the oven to 450°F (230°C) and lay your pineapple quarters in the smallest oven proof dish that will just hold it. Pour the vanilla-caramel sauce over the pineapple, toss in the saved pod, and bake for about 35-40 minutes, turning and basting the pineapple every ten minutes. It is important to check that the caramel remains liquid or else it will burn. If too thick, just add a splash of water.

-When cool, cut the quarters into slices or chunks.  Store them in the fridge in an airtight container, submerged in the syrup.

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