Saturday, February 13, 2010
Last time I tried to be clever, I attempted to make banana bread, real bread—brioche to be exact. Unfortunately, my dreams of making banana brioche the next big thing in the food world were never realized. Turns out, bread dough plus banana puree, and 15 minutes of kneading resulted in a dough and subsequent bread that was a disturbing ashen gray, taupe color with a gummy consistency. Not the most appetizing thing in the world.
So I return to banana bread as we all know it but instead of adding the usual pecans, I added chopped Heath bar instead (pecans always get soggy anyway), borrowing the idea from the British classic Banoffee pie, and voila! Banoffee bread. Clever, no? Any food with a portmanteau for a name is automatically cool in my book.
I was hoping the toffee pieces would stay crunchy after baking so the banana bread would be studded with pieces of candy. A few pieces retained the hard toffee crunch but most of the candy melted to form pockets of caramel-like goo inside the bread. Not exactly what I was going for but no complaints! Next time, I’ll have to add a little Northwest flair and use Almond Roca.
While there’s no coconut in the original Banoffee pie, I had an opened bag of sweetened shredded coconut and a dollop of leftover cream cheese that needed to be used up. So I mixed the two together and threw that on top. Banana bread meets coconut macaroon.
3 large overriped bananas.
1/2 C packed light brown sugar
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
1/4 C plain yogurt or sour cream
2 tsp vanilla
2 C all purpose unbleached flour, (8.8 oz)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp table salt
3 1.4 oz. Heath bars roughly chopped (or other toffee candies, like Almond Roca)
Optional coconut topping: 1 tablespoon of cream cheese and 1/2 C of sweetened shredded coconut
Preheat the oven to 350 deg F. Adjust the oven rack to the lower middle position or one level below the middle. Butter and flour a loaf pan or line it with parchment paper.
Optional - making the coconut topping: mix the cream cheese and sweetened shredded coconut until it is evenly mixed (I just used my hands). Set aside for later.
In a large mixing bowl, mash the bananas until a few chunks remain. Mix in the melted butter, sugar, eggs, yogurt/sour cream and vanilla until smooth and evenly mixed.
In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together and evenly mix and aerate the ingredients. Add half of the dry mix to the banana mix and fold the batter with a rubber spatula a few times. Then scatter the chopped toffee and the remaining flour mix. Continue to fold the batter gently until there are no more streaks of flour.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Scatter the coconut mixture on top if using.
Bake at 350 deg F for 60 – 70 minutes, or until a skewer stuck into the banana bread comes out clean. Rotate the loaf pan 180 degrees about 30 - 40 minutes into the baking time. Keep an eye on the coconut topping, if it starts to get too brown, cover the top of the pan loosely with a piece of foil. I did this and rotated the pan about 30 minutes in.