Brown Butter Banana Muffins

Makes 12

Ingredients

Streusel Topping

  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup rolled oats

Banana Muffins

  • 1/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 large bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F (190°C). Lightly grease 12 cup muffin tray
  2. In a thick-bottomed pan over medium heat, add the butter, whisking frequently. Continue to cook until fully melted. Once melted the butter will foam up a bit, then subside. Watch carefully as lightly browned specks begin to form at the bottom of the pan. Smell the butter; it should have a nutty aroma. Pour into a bowl to stop the butter from cooking further and possible burning. Set aside to cool until needed
  3. In a small bowl, mix together brown sugar, flour, cinnamon, and oats. Cut in the butter until mixture damp sand. It’s fine if there are peas-sized pieces of butter remaining. Set aside until needed
  4. In a large bowl, mix together 1 1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Stir the banana mixture into the flour mixture just until moistened. It will still appear a little lumpy
  5. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, about 2/3 full. Sprinkle the streusel topping over muffins
  6. Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of a muffin comes out clean
  7. Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from the tin and serving

Banana & Prune Sticky Toffee Cakes

Makes 6

Ingredients

Banana & Prune Cakes

  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • 1 cup pitted prunes, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cups light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 3 medium-size overripe bananas, mashed (1 cup)

Rum Toffee Sauce

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons Rum (or omit for a kiddy-friendly version)

Method

Banana & Prune Cakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease, or spray with baking spray, 6 mini-savarin or Bundt tins
  2. In a small heatproof bowl, pour orange juice followed by the boiling water over the chopped prunes; stir in the baking soda. Stir together to combine and set aside to soak for about 15-2 0minutes
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon and salt. Set aside until needed
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, beat the butter with the brown sugar at medium speed until light and fluffy, about 9-10 minutes
  5. Beat in the eggs, one at a time until combined, followed by the honey
  6. Reduce speed to low, beat in the flour mixture until just combined
  7. Add the date mixture (including liquid) and bananas, and beat at low speed until just combined
  8. Divide the batter into the prepared mini-pans, and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes

Rum Toffee Sauce

  1. With about 10 minutes left on the pudding baking time, in a small saucepan, combine the heavy cream, the butter, the brown sugar, and the rum.
  2. Bring to a gentle boil over moderate heat, stirring to melt the butter and sugar, cooking until slightly thickened and deep golden, about 3 minutes.
  3. Keep warm until serving

To finish

  1. Once you remove the cakes from the oven, using a skewer or toothpick, poke holes all over the exposed surface
  2. Spoon 4-5 teaspoons of the warm sauce over the cakes, and let stand until absorbed, about 10 minutes
  3. Serve warm*, turned out onto plates (they may take some gentle persuasion!) with the remaining sauce spooned over

*If your sauce sets or becomes too thick to pour, gently warm over a low heat until pourable and warm again.

Rum Chocolate Banana Pudding

I wish I could say this was inspired by some long-lost childhood memory or fortuitous epiphany but sadly no. The truth of the matter is that this Rum Chocolate Banana Pudding found it’s way in to my kitchen for no other reason than indulgence.

Since moving here to Canada I’ve succumbed to the North America love of “pudding”- that smooth, creamy, slippery dairy concoction of comforting goo. Yes I’m aware it has it’s nay-sayers who believe it should be kept to the confines of school lunchrooms and toddler snack times but… I LOVE it! Banana pudding hailing from the Deep South’s Hall of Comfort Food Fame, is one of Life’s simple pleasures and it’s easy to see why this layered dessert has made it’s way into the repertoire of home cooks on a national scale.

Personally I find it a reassuringly less pompous affair than it’s cousin- the English Trifle. Neat lines of composition are neither desired nor required here; and keep anything resembling jello to yourself! This dish is less about show and more about bringing sublime joy to the eater’s face- making them grin from ear to ear whilst filling their belly. Think of this as the oral equivalent of sliding into the comfiest armchair, wrapped in the fluffiest duvet, in the dusky porch twilight. Each spoonful a testament to the pudding’s sinfully indulgent, creamy cocoa laden, booze-tinged delights. Yes- I think it’s that good!

When you do try it feel free to disagree- all the more for me!

Ingredients

Pudding

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups milk
  • 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped in pieces
  • 1/2 cup fine sugar
  • 6 egg yolks, room temperature
  • 3 Tbspn cornstarch
  • 2-3 tspns dark rum , dependent on personal taste (if you prefer an alcohol-free version use artificial rum extract)
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract
  • 320g (1 box) vanilla wafers eg Nilla
  • 6 large bananas, peeled and sliced apx 1/4″ slices

Topping

  • 2 3/4 cups whipping cream, whipped
  • 1/4 cup graham crumbs
  • 1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 Tbspn light corn syrup
  • 3 Tbspn butter
  • I tspn Vanilla extract

Method

  1. Place milk and cream in a large saucepan and bring to a simmer. Whisk in the chocolate pieces and heat until melted and smooth. Remove from the heat
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the yolks, sugar, and cornstarch in a large bowl. Add in 1/4 cup of the chocolate/ milk mixture and whisk to combine. Add in another 1/4 cup of the chocolate mixture and again whisk until fully combined
  3. Pour the warmed egg/ chocolate/ milk mixture back in to the saucepan with the other part of the chocolate/ milk mixture. Whisk to combine and heat over medium-high heat and continuously whisk until thickened
  4. Remove from the heat, stir in 1 tspn vanilla extract, and transfer to a clean bowl. Place a piece of plastic wrap over the surface of the pastry cream and let cool to room temperature
  5. When cooled, spread about 1 cup of the chocolate pastry cream into an 11 by 11-inch glass dish. Layer the wafers, bananas, and pastry cream in the bowl, ending a layer of wafers. Cover tightly and refrigerate until chilled, at least 4 hours or overnight
  6. Just before serving, spread or pipe the top of the pudding with whipped cream and return to the fridge while you make the chocolate drizzle
  7. In a double-boiler combine the chocolate chips, corn syrup and butter. Stir until melted. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Set aside to cool until slightly warm
  8. Remove the pudding from the fridge and drizzle over the chocolate sauce to personal taste and serve
  9. The finished pudding will keep in the fridge for up to 3 days. When storing cover lightly with cling-wrap

Elvis Banana Bread

Elvis. The very name conjures up images of sweaty excess, sexy rhythms and snake-hipped gyrations. I have to admit to not being a fan of the man himself but there’s one thing that I can’t deny and that’s his impact on the world.

Aside from his groundbreaking impact on the world of music and movies, Elvis’s impact even stretched as far as the food world. Yes it may not be fancy but the grassroots ingredients of peanut and banana have become synonymous with the Graceland god. Google “The Elvis” and you will find a plethora of entries on the unnervingly mouth-watering combination of peanut butter, banana and bacon- usually in sandwich form. Is this actually a combination so off the wall it works? The answer is actually- yes. The unctuous smoothness of the peanut butter and banana spiked by the salty bites of bacon crispiness stopping it becoming overwhelming and bland.

It was within a week of watching cookery competition shows and Netflix culinary food-show binging that I noticed a bizarrely serendipitous trend- the theme of PB&J and Elvis appeared to crop up rather a lot. We’re talking epiphany-like levels folks. The universe was speaking to me and it was saying, “Elvis”. But how to incorporate this make-up into something unexpected? The answer was literally right under my nose- I pondered the question whilst munching on a slice of last week’s banana loaf.

Now whilst I love banana bread, a certain Covid-quarantine ennui had settled on my taste buds in regards to it. I had become a lockdown Lancelot in a quest to revamp the moist. rich loaf- as my recipe for Buttermilk & Cardamom Banana Bread bares testament to. And this Memphis-kissed combination provided another excuse for kitchen experimentation.

The peanut/ banana combination was an obvious treatment for the loaf itself, and pockets of flavored jelly would of course provide surprising nuggets of sweet, sticky joy in the dough. But where to work in the final signature ingredient of the King? I didn’t want anything as obvious as just a couple of bacon slices on top. My other concern was that mixing bacon pieces into the batter would cause them to become chewy and soft gribene-esque morsels in the batter. So how better to avoid them becoming gummy crumbs than to put them outside the batter…on top…in a topping…a STREUSEL topping!

Et viola! Elvis Banana Bread…enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 3 large bananas
  • 4 Tbspn Peanut butter (smooth or crunchy to you taste)
  • 1/2 cup Canola oil
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tspn Vanilla extract
  • 2 1/3 cup AP flour
  • 3/4 cup Dark brown sugar
  • 2 tspn Baking powder
  • 1 tspn cinnamon
  • 1/4 tspn Kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup Grape jelly (feel free to sub with whatever flavour you like)

Streusel Topping

  • 5 slices bacon, cooked and crispy
  • 1/4 cup Dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup fine sugar
  • 1/4 cup AP flour
  • 1/2 tspn cinnamon
  • 2 Tbspn Butter, cold and diced
  • Pinch Kosher salt

Method

To make the streusel topping

  1. In a bowl combine both the sugars, flour, cinnamon, salt and butter pieces. Rub the mixture together with your fingertips until a pea-sized sand texture is achieved and a crumble is formed. Crumble in the crispy bacon slices, mix through and set aside until needed later. *This makes more than enough streusel topping with plenty left over for additional uses. It’ll keep in the fridge for up to 3 days in an airtight jar

To make the banana bread

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 9″ x 5″ loaf pan and line the bottom & with parchment paper (this will help to lift the baked loaf out)
  2. In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Add the peanut butter, oil, milk and vanilla, whisk well to combine and set aside. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and salt
  3. Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients and fold together until just combined and there are no spots of dry floury residue
  4. Pour 1 /2 of the batter into the loaf pan. Using a piping bag or spoon, place dollops of the jelly along the top of the loaf batter leavings about 1 inch border around. Once you’ve got the jelly piped in how you’d like,  pour the remaining loaf  batter over to cover the jelly and roughly level the top. Generously sprinkle over the streusel topping to an amount of your liking
  5. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until well risen and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean
  6. Remove the baked loaf from the oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes in the loaf pan before lifting out using the parchment paper, and leave to cool completely on a rack before slicing

Buttermilk & Cardamom Banana Bread w/ Whipped Peanut Butter Frosting

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Ingredients

Whipped Peanut Butter Frosting

  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 cups smooth peanut butter
  • 1 cup salted butter, room temperature, cut in to pieces
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Buttermilk & Cardamom Banana Bread

  • 2 1/2 cups All Purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups mashed over-ripe bananas (about 4)
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Method

To make the Banana Loaves

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F
  2. Grease and line two 8.5″ x 4.5″ baking tins
  3. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and cardamom. Set aside until needed
  4. In bowl of stand mixer, with paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
  5. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each, until fully incorporated
  6. In a separate jug whisk together the buttermilk, vanilla extract and bananas until combined
  7. Add the banana mixture to the dry flour mixture from earlier. Fold well together until just combined
  8. Divide and pour into the prepared loaf tins
  9. Bake in preheated oven for 45-40 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean, and the tops of the loaves are golden brown
  10. Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a rack for 15 minutes before running a spatula around the sides and turning the loaves out onto a cooling rack
  11. Leave the loaves to cool completely before topping with the Peanut Butter Frosting (see recipe below)

*These loaves can be stored in the freezer, without frosting topping, for up to 3 months. Wrap in cling wrap and then tightly in aluminium foil. To serve, remove and allow to defrost to room temperature before topping with whipped frosting

To make the frosting

  1. Combine all ingredients in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment
  2. Beat on low/medium speed until all ingredients are combined
  3. Once combined increase to high speed and whip for 5 minutes until light and fluffy
  4. Use a spatula or spoon to spread on top of cooled banana bread loaves

*To store the frosting: Transfer to an airtight container. Will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days. To use remove from fridge and allow to soften to room temperature to become spreadable