Banana Bread with style!

Who doesn’t make banana bread, right? It’s almost the only thing that pops into your head when you spot over ripe bananas. But the thing is, it can get pretty boring pretty quickly. Frankly, I get bored just making it sometimes.

So when my toddler, who usually inhales anything with even a hint of sweetness about it, walked right past a slice of warm chocolate chip banana bread last week, I knew it was time to give this menu staple a makeover!

Loaf 1

Simply Recipes has a fantastic banana bread recipe that I use as a base for all my experiments. Turns out great every time! For this round, I replaced most of the APF with whole wheat flour and added pureed berries to the batter. Total yum!

Loaf 2

How good does that look! Here’s how it’s done

Ingredients

  • Whole wheat flour – 1 cup
  • All purpose flour – 1/2 cup
  • Baking soda – 1 tsp
  • Bananas – 2
  • Melted butter – 1/3 cup
  • Granulated sugar – 1/2 cup
  • Egg – 1
  • Vanilla extract – 1 tsp
  • Milk – 2 tbsp
  • Blueberries – 1/4 cup
  • Blackberries – 6
  • Maple syrup – 1 tbsp

Note 1: I used salted butter. If using unsalted butter add 1/2 tsp of salt to the dry ingredients.

Note 2: You could any combination of berries you like. I used what I had in my freezer. This recipe makes more than you need. Store the leftover puree in the fridge. You could even use a berry jam instead of making your own. 

Method

  • Make the berry puree first: Add the berries, maple syrup and a tsp of water to a small saucepan and cook it on medium low heat, stirring regularly, till the berries soften and disintegrate. Add another tsp of water if you see the berries beginning to stick to the bottom of the pan. Once cooked down, cool the berries and puree them in a blender. Set aside.

Berry puree

  • Preheat oven to 350 F or 180 degree Celsius. Grease and flour a loaf pan. I used an 8×4 inch pan
  • In a big mixing bowl, mash the bananas with a fork till they become smooth and creamy. You should get approximately 3/4 cup of puree
  • Add the baking soda and salt (if using) and whisk briefly
  • Add the egg, sugar and vanilla extract and whisk to combine
  • Add both the flours and whisk till there are no dry streaks. Do not over mix
  • Add about half of the batter to the loaf pan. Add two or three tsps of the berry puree at multiple spots on the batter and swirl with a toothpick. Make sure not to swirl too much or the berry streaks will disappear
  • Add the remaining batter to the pan and top with a few more tsps of berry puree and swirl with a toothpick

Loaf pre-bke

  • Bake in a preheated oven for 55 minutes.
  • Check the loaf about halfway through and turn the pan around to ensure even baking
  • At the 40 minute mark, once you see the top of the loaf has browned, cover the top with foil and continue to bake till done. This prevents the top from burning and helps it retain that lovely golden brown color
  • At the 55 minute minute mark insert a toothpick or cake tester into the loaf to check. It should come out clean with maybe a few moist crumbs attached. The sides of the loaf should begin to pull away from the pan
  • Cool the banana bread in the pan on a cooling rack for about half an hour
  • Carefully remove the loaf from the pan and place it back on the rack to cool completely
  • Store in an airtight container at room temperature for 3 days.

Slice 1

This loaf is not too sweet. A generous dollop of the berry puree slathered onto a slice of this banana bread just kicks it up a notch! You must try it!

Slice 2

If you do give this one a shot let me know how it turned out! Can’t wait to hear all about it 🙂

Caramel Sauce

I love a good dessert sauce. It adds a generous dose of glamour and oomph to even the most mundane of desserts. But as far as caramel sauce is concerned I’ve been sitting firmly on the fence for a long time. And I refuse to budge. I have to concede, however, that it is not always the adulterant I’d like to think it is. I may not like it on my ice-cream or in my coffee but it does pair very well with popcorn, apples or dark chocolate.

But have I ever tried making it at home? Nah! ‘It’s not worth the effort’, I kept telling myself. That’s until I came face to face with this recipe. It’s pure gold! image

I tried to drink it straight out of the jar. It was only when husband reminded me that I wasn’t pregnant anymore and that drinking dessert sauces neat wasn’t going to do my waistline any good, did better sense prevail. It’s THAT good!

For this basic sauce you need just three ingredients – Sugar, Butter and Cream. It’s super simple.

Follow the pictures below for a step by step visual guide. You’ll be done in 15 minutes.

Ingredients

  • Granulated sugar – 1 cup
  • Salted butter – 6 tbs (chopped into cubes)
  • Cream – 1/2 cup

Method

In a saucepan with tall sides, heat granulated sugar on medium heat, stirring constantly with a silicon or wooden spatula.

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The sugar will get clumpy before it melts into a thick golden coloured liquid. Keep stirring. Make sure not to burn the sugar. Reduce heat if required.

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Once melted, add in all the butter. The sugar will bubble up. This is where the tall sides of the pan come to your rescue. Keep stirring till the butter melts entirely.

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Slowly drizzle in the cream while stirring. This too will cause the caramel to bubble up and splatter. And yes…..continue to stir

image Allow the caramel to boil for a minute. After this stage, you can take your caramel off the heat and allow it to cool.

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If you’d like a thicker caramel which just a faint hint of bitterness to it….keep stirring on a low flame till it reaches the desired consistency. Remember, caramel will thicken further once it is cooled. Pour the caramel sauce into a jar with a tight lid and store it in the refrigerator. It lasts for up to 10 days. Reheat in the microwave, in short 5 second bursts before using.

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