Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Macadamia Nut Banana Bread

The number of overripe bananas in the freezer was growing and it was time to use some of them. I wanted to make something other than just plain old banana bread; a closer look in the cupboard and I found some macadamia nuts and rum...

Start off by greasing two 8" X 5" loaf pans, and turning the oven on to 350F to heat up.

In a small saucepan, combine:

2 ounces butter
1/3 cup brown sugar

Heat slowly until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolved, whisking to combine the two.

Bring the caramel to a boil.

When it starts to boil, whisk in:

1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 tablespoons rum

Remove from the heat.

Divide the caramel between the two prepared pans, and sprinkle with macadamia nut halves.

Set aside while you make the banana bread batter.

Cream together:

4 ounces soft butter
1 cup white sugar

Add, one at a time:

2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla

Add in:

1 cup mashed ripe bananas

Mix until just combined.

Sift together the dry ingredients:

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder

Add 1/3 of the dry ingredients to the batter, and mix until just combined.

Mix in:
1/2 cup plain Greek yoghurt

Add the remaining dry ingredients in two additions, alternating with another 1/2 cup of Greek yoghurt.

Divide the batter between the two pans, carefully spreading it over the caramel and macadamia nuts.

Place the pans into the oven and bake until a wooden skewer comes out clean, about 40 - 45 minutes.

Immediately run a knife between the loaf and the pan, and invert onto a cooling rack.

Allow the loaves to cool slightly before cutting...

  • Bananas that are too ripe and soft for eating can be frozen if you are not using them right away. They can be frozen in the skin, nice and easy. Defrost, then cut them open and the flesh will slip out of the skin, ready to use. The other option is to mash them, and freeze them in containers; pre-measuring the fruit before freezing makes defrosting the right amount for your recipe easy.
  • Another way to use ripe bananas is to slice and freeze them to use in smoothies instead of ice.
  • As with any recipe using nuts, the type you choose is up to you. Nuts that work well with bananas include pecans, peanuts or almonds. Whole nuts are best for this recipe. If your nuts are chopped or ground, fold them into the batter before baking.
  • Another option if you are using ground nuts is to add them to a basic crumble and spriunkle it on top of the batter before baking. A basic crumble recipe is 1/4 cup each of flour, brown sugar and oats mixed with 1 - 2 ounces of butter until crumbly. Nuts, coconut and spices such as cinnamon, ground ginger or nutmeg can be added as well.
  • The rum can be omitted from the caramel. It can also be replaced with orange juice, brandy or liqueur.
  • I used plain Greek yoghurt as I had no sour cream; sour cream will add richness to the loaf.
  • This banana bread is best served at room temperature or warmed up. It will last a couple of days, well wrapped. It can also be frozen.

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