Tuesday, January 4, 2011

My Bread is Bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S!

So I made a pretty amazing meal tonight (one Bill liked even better than last night's risotto), but I'm not going to write about it until tomorrow. Because it sounded like more fun to go bananas.

You might already know that I make banana bread. A lot. I have a go-to recipe (from Betty Crocker's Big Red Cookbook), but I've branched out recently. A few weeks ago I made Jamaican banana bread, which involved rum and coconut and was to-die-for. So I thought for sure that the Bananas Foster bread recipe I came across would be similarly amazing. Both came from Cooking Light and both involved alcohol which, given most people's New Year's  resolution of slimming down and my resolution of drinking more, seemed like a perfect combination.

In theory. Bananas Foster bread should be rich and delicious. But where I'm usually impressed by Cooking Light's ability to make "light" recipes taste rich and delicious, this one fell a little short. (Although my substitutions could have been partly to blame.) Observations are in the recipe:

Bananas Foster Bread
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas
1 cup packed brown sugar
6 tablespoons butter, melted and divided
1/4 cup cognac or dark rum (I used Grand Marnier)
1/3 cup plain fat free yogurt (see my note in the directions)
1 large eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 cup ground flaxseed (another note in the directions)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/3 cup confectioner's sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine banana, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 5 tablespoons butter and 3 tablespoons cognac in a nonstick skillet. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble. Remove from heat and cool. (BTW, it's almost worth it to stop right here. Just break out some vanilla ice cream and go to town!)

When cool, place banana mixture in a large bowl. Add the yogurt (note: I used buttermilk as a substitute, which may have contributed to the slightly drier-than-desirable or less rich consistency when the bread was done), remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar and eggs. Beat at medium speed until well-combined.

Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through allspice) in another bowl. (Note: I generally don't have flaxseed on hand, but Cooking Light often calls for it and I substitute whole wheat flour. Because it's grainy, it has a somewhat similar consistency.) Add flour mixture to banana mixture and beat until just blended. Pour batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 1 hour (that's just under 50 minutes in my oven), until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool 10 minutes in pan. Remove from pan and place on wire rack.

Combine remaining tablespoon melted butter, remaining tablespoon cognac and confectioner's sugar. Stir until well-blended. Drizzle over warm bread.

The bread was perfectly good, just not as good as my stand-by and not as outrageous as the Jamaican banana bread. Perhaps my hopes were too high because I L-O-V-E Bananas Foster. I can tell you one thing that would make this more delicious, though: turning that drizzle into frosting!

I say up the butter and confectioner's sugar (and, yeah, maybe the cognac, too) to make a traditional buttercream, and spread that atop the bread. Yum! I realize I'm turning this "light" bread into a "not-so-light" cake by doing that, but who cares? There's no diet in my resolution!


  1. Is your resolution really to drink more? Because if so, I have a tiramisu recipe that can help with that.

    My resolution is to figure out how to get invited to your house for dinner more often. But I think I owe you some baked goods first to thank you for that late night train station pick-up.

  2. That buttercream sure seems to have cured any perceived ills this had going on. OF COURSE! Buttercream is genius! I'm glad I'm not the only one who requires it on banana bread. But I require it on hot dogs (Just don't tell the doctor waving her finger at me).

    If you haven't already, try the Haagen Dasz Bananas Foster ice cream. It might be limited edition though... :/

  3. Steph - Heck yes, my resolution is to drink more! Gimme that tiramisu recipe!

    And you are more than welcome to come over for dinner any time. In fact, we should get it on the calendar soon.