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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ten Bananas & One Late Night

Rich and I stayed up way too late last night, but it was for a good cause. We had 15 bananas left from our big box by yesterday, and they were getting leopard spotted. Yes, we went through about 12 pounds of bananas in three days. I put out five of them for each of the children to eat with their lunches and Rich and I made the rest into these:

Two chocolate banana cakes,

a banana bread bundt,

and a banana bread loaf.

The loaf of banana bread and the larger chocolate banana cake are getting wrapped up and put in the freezer to pull out for coffee hours at church.

The chocolate banana cake started as a recipe from Dorie Greenspan. I know I'm going to offend some people, but I didn't think her recipe was all that great. It was too wet, seeped butter from the cake, and didn't have enough banana flavor and the chocolate batter was not all that chocolate-y. I made it as written a week and a half ago, and it was acceptable, but nothing amazing. So, here is my version of it, which I thought was much better.

Chocolate Banana Cake

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ripe bananas
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease a large loaf pan well.

Sift together the dry ingredients in a medium bowl, set aside. Mash the bananas with the vanilla extract in another bowl. Melt the chocolate in the microwave, starting with one and a half minutes, and stirring to melt completely. Let cool slightly.

Cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the banana mixture and incorporate well.

Add the flour mixture in two or three parts, mixing well in between to incorporate fully. Stir a little less than half the batter into the melted chocolate and mix well.

Using two large spoons, drop the white batter in the bottom of the pan, leaving room for some of the chocolate batter, then drop the chocolate batter over the white batter. Repeat this for a second layer. Take a butter knife or a spatula and make swirls in the batter all the way to the bottom of the pan. Bake for one and a half hours, or until a pick comes out clean from the center of the cake.

Cool in pan 15 minutes, then remove from pan and cool completely on a rack.

Banana Nut Bread

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon allspice
3 ripe bananas
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts, hazelnuts, or macadamia nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a bundt pan or two medium loaf pans.

Cream butter and sugar, add eggs and beat until mixed in.

Mix dry ingredients together.

Mash bananas with milk and vanilla, stir in nuts.

Mix flour in with butter mixture, add banana mixture and stir it all together. Pour into a prepared pan(s), bake for 50-55 minutes.

Cool in pan for five to 10 minutes, then turn out of pans and cool on rack completely.

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