Wonderfully Walnutty Banana Bread, Two Ways

Tuesday, October 31st, 2017

What’s a gal to do when suddenly she finds herself in possession of a ten-pound bag of walnuts? (Thanks, Gourmet Nuts & Dried Fruit!) Make banana bread, of course! (Bananas + walnuts are my favorite.)

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I started out with the classics: soft, spongy banana bread laced with a generous helping of chocolate chips and walnuts. Delish!

I could have stopped after polishing off that loaf in record time, but a) I still had a half of bunch of rapidly blackening bananas and b) I wanted to try a loaf out on Mags, the littlest and oldest of my dog-kids. Over the past few years, she’s slowly been shedding weight, to the point that she now looks almost painfully thin. Thankfully, I think this is more a result of her fussy eating habits than a health problem. I thought I was doing good by letting her eat as much as she wanted and not pushing her – so as to not make mealtimes a horror show – but apparently not. My new strategy is a mix of good cop/bad cop: cajole her to eat a set amount at every mealtime, but also mix things up with new and exciting foods.

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The result? Five different kinds of kibble in my cupboard, not to mention a bunch of canned food, and specially prepared dishes like roasted sweet potatoes, tofu battered in nutritional yeast, and sweet and sour soy curls. She is so spoiled, you guys.

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Mags is especially fond of baked goods, including banana bread. Since walnuts are a big no-no for dogs, I kept the batter kind of basic, without any add-ins. Instead, I dressed things up in the form of a topping, borrowed from the Big Boat Banana Bread from Laura Dakin’s Cookin’ Up a Storm. That way, I got the top half, Mags the bottom, and we were both as happy as clams in a vegan ocean town.

Recipes after the jump!

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Strawberry Banana Banana Bread

Tuesday, June 13th, 2017

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A page from Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt, just because.
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When the folks at Gourmet Nuts and Dried Fruit offered me some goodies for review, I jumped at the chance to try their dried strawberries. Along with the smell of wet dogs and chlorinated pools, nothing says summer quite like berries. Specifically, strawberries. And while these bad girls aren’t summer fresh, I thought they might just be perfect for baking.

The first thing I noticed upon their arrival is that they look much plumper than expected – kind of like the candied strawberries, minus all the extra sugar. They have a nice consistency, vaguely reminiscent of the fruit leather I make every fall.

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Since strawberry-banana is one of my all-time favorite flavor combinations – and I just so happened to have three brown bananas chilling on the counter – I decided to whip up a loaf of my crowd-pleasing banana bread. In addition to diced dried bananas, it also has a wee bit of strawberry extract (totally optional but also totally yummy). For something different, swap out a few tablespoons of the sugar for strawberry syrup. Or just add it in to satisfy your sweet tooth. It’s pretty great either way!

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Fwiw, the strawberries also go quite well in oatmeal – they’re a nice change of pace from my usual dried cranberries, and make an otherwise boring breakfast feel a bit more like junk food. (Remember those instant oatmeal packs you ate as a kid, with the dinosaur eggs? Yeah, like that!)

 

Strawberry Banana Banana Bread

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Ingredients

1/2 cup margarine, at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
3-4 very ripe bananas, mashed well
2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup plain or vanilla soy milk, mixed with 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 teaspoon strawberry extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
a dash of cinnamon
a handful of dried strawberries, diced

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Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 8″x4″ bread pan with non-stick cooking spray, or lightly coat with margarine.

2. Pour 1/4 cup soy milk into a small glass measuring cup. Add the 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar. Mix well and set aside.

3. In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugars. Add the wet ingredients – mashed bananas, soy milk, and vanilla and strawberry extracts – and mix well. Add the salt, cinnamon, and baking soda and sift in the flour, mixing until the batter is smooth and (relatively) creamy. Mix in the diced strawberries; toss in a second handful if desired.

4. Pour the batter into a prepared bread pan, evening out the top with a rubber spatula. Bake at 350F for 50 to 70 minutes, depending on the size of the loaf and your oven’s own quirks. You can check the bread’s progress by inserting a toothpick or knife into the loaf’s center; when it comes out clean and the top of bread attains a nice golden color, you’ll know it’s done.

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Big Boat Banana Bread

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

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Banana bread is pretty much my favorite use for overripe bananas – except MAYBE for banana bread banana ice cream! – so when I saw the Big Boat Banana Bread in Cookin’ Up a Storm, I knew it was just a matter of time before I tried it. Time to remember to pick up a bunch of bananas, wait for them to properly brown – while also not eating them in the interim – and then bake ’em instead of slicing ’em up for future ice cream. It took me at least three tries before I got it right, you guys. The instinct to turn ALL THE BANANAS into ice cream is strong.

The end result turned out quite tasty, though procuring bananas wasn’t the only misstep I encountered along the way. Exhibit B: The recommended bake time for this bread, which is 25 to 30 minutes. Considering that banana bread normally takes ~an hour to bake, I had my doubts. Actually I thought it was a typo but whatever. I checked as directed at 25 and 30 minutes, and to no one’s surprise, the batter was still wiggly and jiggly – not even close to done. After that I let it go for a half hour and then started checking on it every ten minutes or so. Ultimately I let it bake for 90 MINUTES before the toothpick came out clean. Even then, the bottom quarter of the loaf remained a little undercooked, as I discovered when I cut it open. (You can kinda sorta see what I’m talking about in the last picture.)

Also. This recipe makes enough batter to almost completely fill a 9″x5″ loaf pan. I wasn’t even sure it’d all fit! Anyway, it’s by far the thickest loaf I’ve ever made; I bet if I were to divide the batter between two loaf pans, it’d bake more quickly and evenly.

On the plus side, I am hella glad I lined the pan with parchment paper as directed. I hate hate hate trying to cram and jam parchment paper into deep pans, but it totally paid off here. While the lower portion of the crust ended up thicker than normal, the paper kept it from burning outright.

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Also awesome: The topping, which is an even mix of brown sugar, rolled oats, and crushed almonds (I used almond meal/flour). Even if I never make this exact recipe again, I WILL carry the topping over to other banana breads.

The bread itself is tasty enough, though a little plain; I think some walnuts or chocolate chips could work wonders with it.

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The center seemed to firm up a bit overnight, and it only got better when toasted. I reheated a slice in the toaster oven – about ten minutes at 350F – and it seemed a little closer to done after that. A little pat of margarine added with an extra minute to melt it = pure bliss. And a thick slice is actually hearty enough that it filled me up for an entire meal.

There’s a second recipe (Chocolate-Banana Fudge Cake) utilizing brown bananas that I’m curious to try, but I don’t know if I’ll get to it before writing a review. It took me a month just to get the bananas together for this recipe!

Chocolate Banana (Paleo) Bread

Monday, April 6th, 2015

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After our rather underwhelming experience with the Blueberry Pancakes from The Paleo Bread Bible, I was a little scared to try again. I mean, I hate wasting monies, and once I fall into a baking rut, it can sometimes prove difficult to pull myself out. But I didn’t want to write the cookbook off entirely based on just one recipe, so. Banana Bread it was. Chocolate Banana Bread, to be exact.

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And you know what? It wasn’t that bad! The batter’s super-easy to pull together, and the bread smells heavenly while it’s baking. It’s got almond flour, coconut flour, cacao nibs, and walnuts (which, strangely, are mentioned in the instructions but not the ingredients list. Yeah.) This time I used flax eggs (3 TBS hot water + 1 TBS ground flax seeds; whisk and let sit for ten minutes) instead of Ener-G, and it seemed to get the job done.

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Blueberry Banana Bread Pancakes & Bitch Magazine

Sunday, April 7th, 2013

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What better way to spend a lazy Sunday morning, am I right ladies?

The recipe’s from Betty Goes Vegan, which I’m really digging so far. I just have two BGV dishes under my belt, but still. The pancakes are thick and hearty, and really do taste a lot like banana bread. Probably more so if you leave out the blueberries – they steal some of the banana’s spotlight – not that I ever would. Blueberries are my most favorite of all the fruits.

If you only try one of my recipes this summer,

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

make it the Banana Bread Soft Serve ice cream. Seriously, I cannot tell you how much I love this stuff, whether straight out of the food processor

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or frozen overnight.

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Tastes just like banana bread. But healthier! And chilly! No hot oven required! What more could you ask of a summertime treat?

That second pic, by the by, represents my best attempt at staging. I feel like my food photos have gotten marginally better over the years, but I’m afraid I just don’t have an eye for this sort of thing.

Until I get a shiny new DSLR (recommendations?!?), though, I will continue to blame my sub-par photography on the camera. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

 

Banana Bread Soft Serve

(Makes about a quart of ice cream; updated from the original version.)

Ingredients

4-5 overripe bananas, peeled, sliced and frozen
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup chocolate chips
sugar to taste (optional)
a splash of non-dairy milk or creamer, if needed

Directions

1. Put the bananas in the food processor and pulse until smoothly blended. Most likely you’ll need to stir them by hand several times, as the frozen chunks tend to gather and become “stuck” on one side of the bowl. If necessary, add a splash of non-dairy milk or creamer to get things moving!

Alternately, you can allow the bananas to defrost on the counter top for 30 to 60 minutes beforehand, so that they’re easier to work with. Before putting them in the food processor, break them up into smaller chunks with a butter knife.

Note: Since introducing extra liquids (such as non-dairy milk) into the mix results in a slightly icier finished product, I prefer defrosting to non-dairy milk. If you’re in a hurry, pop the bananas in the microwave for 20 to 45 seconds instead.

2. If the bananas aren’t sweet enough for your taste (sometimes this happens if you freeze them before they’re sufficiently ripe), add a bit of sugar to taste. Any sugar works fine – white, brown, etc. – but I find that powdered sugar results in a smoother blend.

3. Add the vanilla, cinnamon, allspice, and chocolate chips and pulse until well-blended. Sample the batter and any extra spices to taste.

4. Transfer the ice cream to an airtight container. Enjoy immediately as soft serve, or pop the ice cream in the freezer for an hour+ for a firmer dessert. Store any leftovers in the freezer in an airtight container. If the frozen banana ice cream proves too hard to scoop, microwave it for ten seconds to help loosen it up (or let the container sit on the counter for ten to thirty minutes prior to eating, depending on room temp).

5. Serve with sprinkles, chocolate chips, or extra bananas to garnish – or sandwich a scoop between two slices of banana bread for a special snack!

Banana Bread Soft Serve, for dogs & their people! Also: Ralphie’s 10-year adoption day anniversary!

Sunday, July 17th, 2011

To Ralphie

Today is Ralphie’s adoption day anniversary! (Ten years, bitches! TEN!) Okay not really, it was actually on Thursday, but I totally screwed the pooch and missed it. Though we did squeeze in a combination morning walk / digging session that day, so it’s all good. I didn’t forget his big day; rather, he’s so nice that we’re celebrating twice! Yeah, that’s it!

Anyway, I decided to make the dogs a batch of ice cream to compensate/celebrate. Also, ’cause it’s 95 degrees F with a heat index of 115 out there. BRUTAL!

I’d been storing some overripe bananas in the freezer in anticipation of turning this awesome banana bread recipe into a frozen dessert – and then I realized that the dish I had in mind would be suitable for the dogs, too. So we split a batch!

Of course, this meant that I couldn’t add any chocolate chips to the batter, but that’s okay; since I only got the 3/4 cup of leftovers, I topped my scoop with a whole damn candy bar. YUM.

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And yes, this ice cream does taste a lot like the original banana bread. I bet it’d be even better with chunks of banana bread mixed in, but I’ll have to save that experiment for another day. I’m fresh out of bananas, yo!

Oh, and the best part about this recipe (aside from its healthfulness, that is) – no ice cream machine required!

Banana Bread Soft Serve

Makes two to three generous (human) servings, or about 20 large dog treats.

Inspired by Shane’s banana bread & hipsterfood’s two-ingredient ice cream.

Ingredients

5 bananas – the riper the better – frozen and slightly thawed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 cup carob chips (for dogs) or chocolate chips (for their people) – optional

Directions

Combine the bananas, cinnamon, vanilla, allspice and carob/chocolate chips in a food processor and mix until blended (but still a little chunky). Enjoy immediately or, if the ice cream’s on the runny side, chill in the freezer for 30 to 60 minutes for a thicker dessert.

If you’re making this for your dog friends, remember to omit the chocolate chips (carob chips are a nice replacement!) as chocolate can be deadly to canines.

For a slightly less messy dog treat, you can: spoon the batter onto a tray lined with parchment paper; roll it into small, bite-sized balls; or put it in an ice cube tray and freeze before serving.

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Bite-sized banana ice cream balls for the dogs.
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Peedee tries to sneak a treat!
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Ralphie, the man of the hour!
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* Please check out the Dog Food Disclaimer page if you have any questions or concerns, or before trying any dog food recipes on this site!

Chocolate Almond Banana Bread: A Delicious Coupling of Desserts

Monday, November 22nd, 2010

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Shane’s Super Awesome Vegan Bananer Bread

+

Chewy Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies

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=

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Chocolate Almond Banana Bread

Need I say more?

Nah, I didn’t think so. Recipe after the jump.

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Cookies, muffins and cakes, oh my! The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes by Kris Holechek (2009)

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010

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Book cover, The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes: Amazing Cookies, Cakes, Muffins, Pies, Brownies and Breads by Kris Holechek (2009)
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Earlier in the year, I happened upon a giveaway of The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes; publisher Ulysses Press was offering up a few copies of the recently-released book for review. Since I was already a fan of author Kris Holechek through her NOM! NOM! NOM! BLOG (and, perhaps more to the point, am unable to pass up a vegan freebie!), I jumped at the chance. Six+ months later, and I think I’ve finally tried enough of the recipes to offer up a review.

The 100 Best Vegan Baking Recipes features recipes for a variety of baked goods, grouped into the following categories: cookies; bars; muffins; quick breads; cakes; pies and tarts; pastries; yeasted treats; frostings, icings and toppings; and children’s recipes (“Kids in the Kitchen”). The recipes include some standards (Shorbread; Best Banana Bread; Basic Pie Crust; Rosemary Focacia; Going, Going, Gone! Gingerbread) as well as a number of more creative concoctions (Strawberry Lemonade Cheespie; Gas Station Pie; Garden Muffins; Mocha-damia Bars; Blackest Forest Cake). Each recipe is rated for difficulty and prep time, with one “whisk” being the simplest and five “whisks,” the most challenging.

In addition to ten sections listed above, Holechek begins the book with a handy introductory chapter. Particularly useful for novices such as myself, this “vegan baking 101” guide covers the fundamentals, such as the ups and downs and when-to’s of various egg replacers, sugars and sweeteners, and leaveners; the best way to melt chocolate; essential ingredients; and must-have kitchen utensils and gadgets. (Whereas I’d been resistant to buying cooling racks for quite some time, Holecheck – with no small help from Shane! – finally convinced me of the need.)

Over time, I tried a number of recipes, including….

The Lemon Almond Bling Muffins (page 66), which are flavored with almond extract and topped off with a delicious mix of lemon, sugar and raw almonds:

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Shane’s Super-Awesome Super Vegan Bananer Bread

Sunday, February 3rd, 2008

Mmmmm….banana bread!

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Looks yummy, don’t it? Keep reading for the recipe…

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