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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

banana rum bread with macadamia crumble.

It all started with this.

But then I thought caramelizing the bananas would dim the flavour of them, so I scratched that idea. My next thought was, since I wasn't going the caramelize the bananas, that recipe wouldn't be special anymore. There was no need to use that recipe. Instead, I kept the macadamia topping idea and used another banana bread recipe, Flour Bakery's. It's pretty well known and has many rave reviews. Plus, I had the book so why not?

I tweaked the recipe a little bit- quartering it for a mini loaf, swapping half the amount of melted butter for applesauce and adding rum to the batter.

This recipe has a really unique way to mixing up the batter. It's somewhat like a sponge-cake method- the eggs are whipped with the sugar, fats are drizzled in and the remaining ingredients get stirred in. This produces a spongey (duh), creamy and moist texture to the finished cake. Really different from other banana breads. My applesauce substitution worked without a hitch. I doubt that any moisture has been compromised.

I betcha really curious about the rum. Right after the banana bread came out of the oven, I could barely smell it. But knowing that quick breads like this are usually at their prime after 12 hours or so, I let it sit overnight and the next day, not only has the banana scent intensified, I could detect the rum too! The first few bites it may not be obvious, you would probably detect this cooling sensation that could only be alcohol, but it slowly shows. I think its a bit like a cross between rum and raisin and banana bread.

The macadamia crumble could have looked a bit more appealing, and its an oversight on my part. I initially mixed chopped macadamia nuts with brown sugar and cinnamon, and intended to sprinkle it over the batter before I send it into the oven, but I didn't predict that the batter would be so fluid and I was afraid that the nuts may sink. At the last minute, I mixed in a tiny bit of flour. As the crumble had no moisture as a binder, it merely formed a pale dry crust at the top of the bread. Panicking, I doused the top with a few teaspoons of water which seemed to moisten and dissolve the brown sugar into a crunchy crust. Not quite the caramelized look but it was an improvement. Still, I really loved the brown sugar macadamia crumble. One of the best combinations ever!

My only complaint with the recipe is that it is too sweet. It would really depend on how ripe the bananas you're using though.

I would like to urge you to try banana bread recipe, with or without the rum. You won't regret it.

Banana Rum Bread
adapted from the Flour Bakery Cookbook

My changes have been reflected below.

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup oil
1/4 cup applesauce
3 medium very ripe bananas, mashed
2 tbsp yogurt or sour cream
4 tsp rum or 1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup walnuts or macadamia nuts, toasted and coarsely chopped

Heat the oven to 325F. Prepare a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan.

Sift the flour, baking soda and salt together.

Whisk the eggs and sugar until pale, light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Drizzle in the oil while still whisking. Do not pour it all in at once because it would deflate the air out of the batter.

Add in the applesauce, yogurt or sour cream, mashed bananas and vanilla or rum, stirring until just combined. Fold in the dry ingredients and nuts until just combined.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 45 minutes to an hour, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.

You could cut into it after it has cooled 30 minutes in the pan, and then some more on the rack until completely cooled, but I advise you to have a little patience and wait until the next day.

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