Bananapalooza!

9 May

Megan has been saving her over-ripe bananas for a while now, and they were starting to overtake her freezer, so we finally got around to having a baking day dedicated to banana recipes. Yum!
We also had a friend helping us today — Thanks Tara. 😀

First, we made Chocolate Chip Banana bread from this recipe on AllRecipes.
Yummy Banana Bread cooling

Ingredients:
1 cup shortening (You can, as always, use butter instead. We didn’t, since unsalted butter is scarce around Becca’s kitchen until the next Costco shopping trip, and it still turned out very tasty!)
2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 tablespoons mayonnaise
6 very ripe bananas, mashed
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (We used pecans.)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease two 9×5 inch loaf pans.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Stir in the eggs one at a time, beating well with each addition. Stir in the mayonnaise and bananas. Stir together the flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Blend the flour mixture into the banana mixture; stir just enough to evenly combine. Fold in the chocolate chips and walnuts.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 50 to 75 minutes. Cool loaf in the pan for 20 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

We didn’t have two pans the same size, so only one of the pans was 9×5, the other was slightly smaller.
Ours took us a little over an hour to fully cook, the smaller one about 10 minutes less than the bigger one.
Make sure that you do leave them to cool in the pan. We were a bit impatient to get the first one out, and part of the bottom broke off 😦

Next on our list of banana recipes was Banana Apple cupcakes! This recipe was also from AllRecipes.
Ingredients
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2/3 cup shortening
1 1/4 cups white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup ripe bananas, mashed (This is about two average size bananas.)
2 apples – peeled, cored and shredded

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease and flour 24 muffin cups, or use paper liners. Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in the vanilla and buttermilk. Beat in the flour mixture, mixing just until incorporated. Fold in the mashed bananas and shredded apples. Fill each muffin cup half full.
3. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool.

These were super good, though the cupcakes broke apart a bit when you try to eat them. They stick to the liners. 😦

To frost them, we used a variation of this Brown Sugar Frosting. Becca has had a couple of ounces of cream cheese sitting in her fridge for a while, and she wanted to get rid of it, so we blended that with the confectioner’s sugar before we added the mixture from the saucepan.
Ingredients
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon white corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions
1. Cook all ingredients except confectioner’s sugar in iron skillet until smooth. Remove and add sugar. Spoon/drizzle over cookies. Frosting will harden when cool!

This recipe gave us a little bit more than we needed for the 24 cupcakes – a nice change from most frosting recipes, where you end up making enough for a hundred cupcakes! 😛
Waiting to be eaten

After that we made Banana Chocolate Chip cookies with Ginger from Piece of Cake’s Bog. These cookies didn’t come out looking quite right (We stupidly forgot to take a picture of the finished product!), but they tasted AMAZING. We also substituted the candied ginger for some powdered ginger, since none of us really like candied ginger much (Megan had a bad experience with it as a kid. :P). It gave us a nice, subtle hint of ginger. (If you want to go the same route, we used a couple of tablespoons of ginger. Adjust the amount according to your own taste preferences!)

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces mashed banana (about 1/2 cup, or 1 medium)
1 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup crystallized ginger, minced

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees with an oven rack set to the center position. Have ungreased baking sheets ready (I like to line mine with parchment or Silpat, but it’s not necessary).
2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl by hand, mix together the sugars, melted butter, egg yolks and vanilla until well-blended. Stir in the mashed banana. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry until nearly incorporated, then fold in the chocolate chips and crystallized ginger.
3. Portion tablespoons of dough out onto the baking sheets, 12 per sheet. Bake one sheet at a time for 14-16 minutes, or just until golden brown. Don’t overbake. Cool completely on the baking sheets on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Cookies waiting to go into the oven

Last, but not least, is possibly the best banana bread we (or at least Becca, as she insists on this) have ever had. It is incredibly moist and delicious.
Unfortunately, no pictures. So you will just have to make it to see! 😀
It is a variation on this recipe from AllRecipes. We substituted frozen blueberries for the raspberries, and it came out beautifully.

Ingredients
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
1 cup fresh or frozen unsweetened raspberries (do not thaw frozen fruit, fold it in while they are still frozen)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (again, we used pecans. We really like pecans.)

Directions
1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, combine the eggs, bananas, oil and water. Stir into the dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in raspberries and walnuts.
2. Pour into two greased 8-in. x 4-in. x 2-in. loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 55-65 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.

We used the same pans for this recipe that we used for the Chocolate Chip Banana bread recipe, even though it calls for two smaller pans. As a result, we can some flat looking bread. Live and learn (to match up your pan sizes to the ones in recipe ;))
Never the less, extremely tasty flat bread.

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2 Responses to “Bananapalooza!”

  1. Tara May 18, 2010 at 8:29 pm #

    All of these came out fantastic! 🙂

    Banana bread’s always been a favourite of mine (’tis classic!), but I never thought of bananas in cupcakes or cookies.

    Also worth noting is how easy it was to learn to bake with Megan and Becca…I’ve always been pretty good at cooking, but baking’s always been quite another story 😛 They make learning very easy…and fun!!

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