Sunday, January 31, 2010

Banana Bread with Walnuts

Unlike my husband (and now my children) who have a sweet tooth, I am happy with savory. As my husband would say, the only dessert I would help myself for a second serving is Galette des Rois. Yes, I know, it's great not ideal to have a second serving of anything in the first place... but hey, that's OK because it's not like we eat Galette des Rois every day. Remember, it's a seasonal dessert!!
Since I started this blog, I have had to bake more to include dessert recipes... My children and husband are delighted.... and as a way to compensate for the extra sugar in the house, I have stopped purchasing cookies from the supermarket. On days when no homemade sweets are available, we fall back on Nutella on toast for the children' 4pm snack. And fruits for dessert for lunch and dinner.

I had purchased bananas the other day. I know that some people are against purchasing bananas since an Op-Ed in the New York Times made people realize that bananas are indeed an exotic fruit (ie., rare and more expensive to bring to the US market)... and that to meet a marketing-driven demand from the US, European Union, China, Russia and other countries that do not grow bananas, large corporations like Dole and Chiquita (who together produce more than 50% of bananas worldwide) have been using questionable, let alone, unacceptable ways to grow bananas (using chemicals that cause male sterility,  denying plantation workers benefits, etc.) While I condemn such practices, I have not stopped purchasing bananas for my family. I just try to purchase the organic or Fair Trade bananas available in the supermarkets around us. In order to support small farmers/cooperatives, I am willing to pay more for this exotic fruit hoping, that the price I pay helps a few farmers in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Colombia and other producing countries. If I am in luck, I find other varieties of bananas so as to help reduce the share of the Cavendish variety. You should really look for other bananas if available (not the savory plantain)... you'd be surprised by the taste that some can have. One of the best bananas I ever ate was when I was working in French Guyana where bananas are produced mostly for domestic consumption. It was really small but so delicious that it makes me think twice whenever I purchase bananas nowadays.
I have fed my children bananas since they were able to eat solids. I would wait for the bananas to be ripe (easier to mash but really easier to digest for little stomachs), mash it and feed them to my children with a spoon. Later, I would cut it in smaller pieces for them to pick and chew on. Nowadays, I give them as dessert or I mash one with yogurt, honey and a few nuts or granola. Since I never purchase green (as in non-ripe) bananas, some of the bananas I purchase end up ripping faster than I would like them to. At this stage, because I can not throw bananas away, I use them in baking. This Banana Bred Recipe is inspired from Deb at Smitten Kitchen. It's one of my favorite banana breads so far. Unlike other banana cakes, it's not overly moist and loaded with sugar.  I had to even warn my husband that it was a DIFFERENT banana bread from the one he grew up with because his first reaction was "this is not a banana bread!". To the contrary, this one is the perfect banana bread and one of the few desserts I have a second serving of! That should tell you something! Bon Appétit!
- 3-4 ripe bananas, peeled.
- 1/3 cup (80ml) melted butter
- 3/4 cup (150gr) light brown cane sugar
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 ts (5ml) Vanilla extract
- 1 ts baking soda
- 1/2 ts cinnamon
- 1/4 ts nutmeg
- 1 1/2 cup (190gr) All Purpose flour
- 1 Tb (15ml) Rhum (optional)
- Walnuts (optional; pecans would do fine as well)

  • Preheat the oven to 350 F 
  • In a bowl, mash the bananas
  • Mix in the melted butter
  • Add sugar, the egg, vanilla, rhum and spices
  • Add the baking soda and salt, mix well.
  • Add the flour last and mix.
  • Pour in baking dish and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes (or until a knife comes out clean.)
My Personal Comments:
  • Rhum is optional but it does taste better with it. Bananas do indeed come from countries that produce rhum as well!
  • I used mini-financiers molds for fun. The mini-financiers don't need to cook as much as a regular loaf mold. They also dry faster.

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