Banana Nut Bread… A Single Loaf

As some of you may know I have a tendency to let bananas sit for a tad bit too long which means I won’t eat them – I prefer my bananas not to have any spots on them – but instead I bake with them. Over the course of my blogging I have made Marbled Nutella Banana Bread, Banana & Chocolate Cupcakes, Banana Chocolate Chip & Nut Muffins, Banana Cream Pie, and the first banana recipe I posted, Banana Nut Bread. Which I just made again, although the first time I made it I followed the recipe exactly and ended up with two loaves, this time though I only had three of the six called for bananas so I decided to halve the recipe and am happy to say it worked out perfectly, so I decided to share that with you today. I must say I never particularly cared for Banana Bread until I made it myself and this recipe was definitely key to me liking it. It’s the perfect amount of banana flavor and sweetness.
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Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups flour
3 large bananas, very ripe, mashed
1/2 cup finely chopped walnuts*
Directions:
Preheat the oven to 325 F & grease one loaf pan.
Cream together the butter and sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the cream mixture. Stir in the bananas and chopped walnuts.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about an hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
*The original recipe called for pecans

In Honor of Pi Day… A Banana Cream Pie

Happy Pi Day! What can I say; I am a bit of a math geek. It was my favorite subject throughout school and I was a Mathematics/Economics major in college. I sometimes think that my love of math is what drives some of my hobbies. Take baking; it’s not like cooking where a pinch of this and that can turn out something great. If an ingredient is slightly off when you bake you may end up with something completely inedible. When you are knitting or crocheting (especially knitting) being off with your count can completely mess up whatever you are making and with beading and jewelry making symmetry is key and adding one extra bead, stone or whatever can completely throw off the aesthetics of the final product. But, back to Pi Day… We celebrate it on this day (March 14th) since the first three numbers of Pi are 3.14. Some other things to note about this lovely number… It’s irrational (meaning it cannot be written as a ratio,) it’s never ending (3.14159…) and the decimal never repeats. So, in honor of this day I decided to bake a pie – how original!?!? – not just any pie though a pie I have never actually tried before – a Banana Cream Pie. I thought about making this pie a few weeks ago when I had a few ripe bananas staring at me in my kitchen, but then they got eaten so I decided to save the pie for today.

So, I had every intention of making my pie crust from scratch, well, let me clarify, I did make one from scratch and although I followed the directions exactly after baking it for slightly less time that directed it still came out a bit overcooked so I just opted to go with a store bought crust and baked it according to the directions on the package. Unfortunately my edge was a little uneven but I knew that wouldn’t take away from the taste.

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While the crust was cooling I began making the banana cream filling. To begin I prepped those ingredients that needed a bit of prepping: slicing three bananas, separating four eggs for the yolks and cutting up 2 tbsp. of butter.
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In a medium saucepan I combined sugar, cornstarch and salt and then whisked in milk. I cooked this over medium-high heat, stirring constantly, until the mixture was thick and bubbling.
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I then whisked the milk mixture in with the eggs yolks. 
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After the milk and eggs were completely incorporated I returned the mixture to the saucepan and cooked it over medium heat once again stirring it constantly until it boiled.
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I then strained the mixture through a sieve…
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And then mixed in the butter and once it was melted I folded in the bananas.
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It was then time to pour the banana cream into the cooled pie crust and then cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it until the cream was set.
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Once the pie was set I made a whipped cream topping for it and sprinkled it with shaved chocolate curls.
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Banana Cream Pie

Ingredients:

All-purpose flour, for dusting

1 recipe Pate Brisee to Make Two 9-Inch Single-Crust Pies or One Double-Crust or Lattice-Crust Pie (http://www.marthastewart.com/258439/pate-brisee), use 1 disc and reserve remaining disc for another use*

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1/4 teaspoon coarse salt

4 large egg yolks

2 cups whole milk

2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into pieces

3 ripe bananas, halved lengthwise, then thinly sliced crosswise

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 block (about 5 ounces) bittersweet chocolate

*I opted to use a store-bought pie crust

Directions 

1. Make the crust: Preheat oven to 425 degrees. On a lightly floured work surface, roll out dough into a 14-inch round (1/4 inch thick). Fit dough into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim dough to extend above edges by 1 inch, fold under, and crimp. Prick bottom with a fork, and freeze until firm, about 15 minutes. Cut a large round of parchment paper (about 11 inches), and place in pie shell, allowing excess to extend above edges. Fill with pie weights. Freeze until cold, about 10 minutes.

2. Bake crust 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Remove pie weights and parchment, and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes more. Let cool on a wire rack.

3. Make the filling: Combine granulated sugar, cornstarch, and salt in a bowl. Add egg yolks, and whisk until smooth. Bring milk to a simmer in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1/2 cup milk to yolk mixture in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly. Pour mixture into pan with hot milk, and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture begins to bubble and is very thick, about 6 minutes.

4. Pour milk mixture through a large-mesh sieve into a bowl. Add butter, and stir until melted. Fold in bananas. Pour into crust. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of filling to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for 2 hours.

5. Make the topping: Beat together cream, sugar, and vanilla until soft peaks form. Spread whipped cream over filling. Using a rubber spatula or the back of a spoon, shape topping into peaks.

6. Using a vegetable peeler, shave chocolate at a 45-degree angle, and scatter over pie. (You will only need about 1 ounce of chocolate for the shavings, but it will be easier to shave if you start with a larger piece than you need.) Serve.

 

Banana Chocolate Chip & Nut Muffins

So once again I had a few bananas that were a tad over-ripe and while I had a few ideas as to what I wanted to make I settled on some muffins. I figured I had to have a recipe somewhere for something so basic and then I came across a 50 Muffin booklet I ripped out of an issue of Food Network magazine last year. The recipe was simple and I had all of the ingredients on hand so I got to baking.

Up first I mixed together my dry ingredients: flour, walnuts, baking powder, salt and baking soda. I also added some chocolate chips which weren’t part of the original recipe.

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Secondly I mixed together brown sugar, melted butter, mashed banana, sour cream and eggs.

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I then folded the wet mixture into the flour mixture.

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Since it was fall I decided to use up the last of my pumpkin decorated cupcake liners. I was concerned since they seemed as though they had lost their shape….

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But once I filled them with the muffing batter they were just fine. While the recipe said it only yielded twelve muffins I had some extra batter to squeeze out two extra muffins. I filled the empty compartments of the muffin tin with water so the two muffins would bake evenly but recently read that it’s not necessary.

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I baked them for about twenty minutes in a 350 degree pre-heated oven. After letting them sit in the pan for a few minutes I then transferred them to a wire rack so they could cool completely.

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While these muffins did taste good I wasn’t too thrilled about them so I doubt I will be baking up another batch of them anytime soon. I am thinking the next time I have some bananas past their prime I might make a Banana Cream Pie.

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Banana Chocolate Chip & Nut Muffins

Ingredients

2 cups flour

1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts)

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips*

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. baking soda

3/4 cup brown sugar

1 stick unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup mashed banana

1/2 cup sour cream

2 eggs

*The original recipe didn’t include chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the flour, chopped nuts, chocolate chips, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl whisk together the brown sugar, butter, banana, sour cream and 2 eggs and then fold it into the flour mixture. Divide among 12 prepared muffin cups and bake 20 to 25 minutes.

Banana & Chocolate Cupcakes

Normally when I have a few over-ripe bananas I tend to make Banana Nut Bread, but, recently when I had a few bananas that were past their prime for eating in my opinion I decided to make some cupcakes with them instead. Following the recipe Gina’s Banana Cupcakes from the Food Network’s website I made some really moist and delicious cupcakes that weren’t overpowering with the flavor of banana.

I started off by mashing two very ripe bananas.

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I then combined my dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt) and set it aside.

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To begin making the batter I creamed together butter and sugar.

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I then added in sour cream and vanilla.

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And then two eggs, which I added in one at a time.

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At this point I added in the dry ingredients to the wet mixture.

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After mixing it well it was time to finally add in the bananas.

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Once the entire banana was incorporated into the mixture I used an ice cream scoop to fill my prepared cupcake pan.

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The batter was the perfect amount for twelve cupcakes!

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After baking for 18 minutes in a 350 degrees preheated oven they were done and smelled incredible.

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I let them cool for a bit before frosting and since I was running a bit short on time I decided to take a short cut and use store bought chocolate frosting.

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Once they were cooled I frosted them using a piping bag attached with Wilton’s 1M tip to create the 1M Swirl.

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Overall… the cupcakes were absolutely delish!

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Gina’s Banana Cupcakes*

Ingredients

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 stick (4 ounces) butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup sour cream

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 large eggs

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350F. Line a 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, add the butter and granulated sugar. Beat with a handheld mixer until combined. Add the sour cream and vanilla. Slowly beat in the eggs, one a time. Incorporate the dry mixture and wet mixture together until thoroughly combined. Add the bananas, being careful not to over mix.

Using an ice cream scoop, fill each cupcake liner three-quarters of the way full. Bake in the oven until the tops turn golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cupcake comes out clean, 18 to 20 minutes. Remove the cupcakes from the oven to a wire rack and let cool before frosting.

*The original recipe included 3/4 cup walnuts from the batter which I omitted and was paired with a molasses frosting which I opted to replace with a chocolate frosting.

Marbled Nutella Banana Bread

A few months ago I came across a recipe for a Marbled Nutella Banana Bread on a fellow bloggers’, My Ninja Naan, blog  and I have wanted to make it ever since. I was all set to make it last weekend but then my dad ate one of my perfectly ripened bananas. It was probably for the best though, the bananas were practically over-ripened in my book so I am sure the taste of the bread would have been overpowered by the banana taste and the Nutella flavor would have gotten lost in it. While I am a fan of bananas I prefer to eat mine when they are pale yellow without any spots – when most people would say they are not ready to be eaten – so they won’t have the overpowering banana taste I am not fond of. So, I bought three bananas that were on the verge of turning a darker shade of yellow and let them sit for a week to ripen up a bit to make the bread.

I started off by sifting together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. While I do have a traditional sifter, I prefer to use a sieve to sift my dry ingredients as it’s much quicker and I find that it does the job just as well.

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I set the dry ingredients aside and I began to mix together the wet ingredients. First up, I mashed three ripe bananas.

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Next, I added in the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract and used my hand mixer to combine them all.

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I then mixed in two eggs.

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And finally I added in the flour mixture.

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Once the batter was well combined I divided it into two bowls and added the Nutella to one of them.

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To get the marbled effect I alternately spooned the banana and the Nutella-banana batters into my prepared 9-inch loaf pan (I just sprayed it with baking spray) and then swirled it with a knife.

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After baking for an hour in a 350 degrees F preheated oven the bread was done.

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I let it cool for a bit and then sliced a few slices to see the marble effect and of course to try it and it was delish!

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Marbled Nutella Banana Bread

2 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (3 bananas)

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup packed brown sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/2 cup Nutella

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9-inch loaf pan with cooking spray.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift the together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together banana, butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla until creamy and well combined – about 2 minutes. Beat in eggs until well combined – about 2 minutes. Reduce speed to low and beat in flour mixture until just combined.

Divide 1/2 of the batter into a medium bowl; stir in Nutella until combined.

Alternate spoonfuls of batter into loaf pan until all of the batter is used up. Swirl batter gently with a knife (not too much!).

Bake 1 hour or until well risen, deep golden brown, and a toothpick inserted into bread comes out with moist crumbs attached.

Makes 1 loaf.