A Perfect Day for Bananabread*

*I chose this spelling for referencing reasons

I have been obsessed about cooking with bourbon lately: Caramelized onions with bourbon, bacon and bourbon beans… So when I bumped into this recipe for bourbon and chocolate bananabread, I knew I had to try it one day soon.

I’d never tried baking bananabread as I usually eat all the bananas before they are ripe enough for baking, plus I am the only one at home who is crazy about this North American delicacy. I was also afraid of not making it as good as the one I can get from a breakfast place close to my house.

But screw my fears and banana-hungry stomach! This was bananabread day! So – armed with the recipe, a bottle of booze and bananas on the verge of decaying – I marched into the kitchen after a whole week without baking anything thanks to the high temperature and 98% humidity level in Montreal last week.

I do believe that baking is a science and a much less merciful process than cooking, but I also do believe in feeling how the things are going and making adaptations in case something doesn’t seem right. Yes, I can easily screw up a loaf of bread by doing this, but I can also save it from disaster. All that to say that I made some changes to the original recipe, so I could make it more suitable to our taste.

Because we don’t like sweets that are too sweet and because ripe bananas are basically sugar in a creamy-yellow form, I started by cutting down on the quantity of sugar. At the same time, I used dark chocolate and while adding it to the dough, I adjusted the amount to what seemed enough for the loaf.

It’s not that I did not make any mistakes. When removing the bread from the pan, it broke in half, in a way that the top landed on the plate and the bottom stuck to the pan. With help, the bananabread was finally set in a plate where we could cut it and have a slice, or some, with a nice cup of coffee.

I also remembered that the breakfast place nearby serves their bananabread with a bit of sour cream with honey, so I decided to make my own version and had some whipped cream with maple and bourbon on the side. Both recipes right below the picture.

A slice of bananabread is cut on a plate. There is an amount of whipped cream on top of the slice. In the background there is a cup of coffee and a couple of bowls.
Bananabread with whipped cream and a cup of coffee is all we need for a nutritious breakfast

Bourbon Chocolate Chip Bananabread

Ingredients

260 g all-purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

100 g unsalted butter

100 g sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cup of mashed ripe bananas (2 bananas and a half in my case)

1 teaspoon lemon juice

4 teaspoons bourbon

130 g coarsely chopped dark chocolate

Directions

Heat oven to 350 F (175 C) and grease loaf pan.

In a bowl, mix the flour, baking powder and salt.

In the stand mixer bowl with paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy.

Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each addition. Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix in the bananas, lemon juice and bourbon. Mix until well-combined.

Add the flour on low speed until it’s incorporated. Fold in the chocolate.
Pour the batter in the baking pan and spread evenly. Bake for 45-60 minutes (check if it’s baked inserting a toothpick in the loaf. When there is no batter on it, your bread is ready).

Remove from the oven and let it cool for 20 minutes before inverting onto wire rack. I dare you, I double-dare you not to it until it’s completely cool.

Bourbon maple whipped cream

Ingredients

50 ml whipping cream

1 teaspoon maple

1 teaspoon bourbon

Directions

Put all ingredients in a bowl. Whip it good until it reaches the desired consistency.

A Perfect Day for Bananabread*

If I knew that you were coming I’d bake a cake

Today while shopping for food we felt like having something sweet. After analysing the options in the stores we went to, it was decided we would bake a chocolate cake. While my girlfriend prepared lunch, I went crazy on Pinterest looking for recipes when she remembered a recipe she used to make when she was a kid and that is written down on a notebook in our kitchen.

A yellowed page with a handwritten recipe for chocolate cake in red ink. The text of the recipe is in Portuguese.
The handwritten recipe for chocolate cake

The recipe was invented by an aunt of hers and followed step by step, as it was my first time baking a cake. The original measures were divided by three, as we didn’t want to end up with a lot of cake to eat. I have also added a little less sugar than indicated, as it’s a matter of taste. I would try replacing it with maple one day, though. Since the amounts of ingredients were cut, instead of using a cake pan, I chose a muffin tray, which was possible to fill out and have some leftovers to be licked from the spoon/mixer attachment.

There is a dish with two small cakes on it. In the background, we can see a mug in the same pattern as the dish, as well as a small ceramic milk jug
Two small cakes ready to be eaten with some coffee

Aunt’s chocolate cake

Ingredients
Reminder: this is the full recipe. For 6 small cakes (not sure I should call them muffins or cupcakes), I used one third of the ingredients.
3 eggs
3 cups of flour
3 cups of sugar
1 cup of cocoa powder
100 grams of butter
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 cup of coffee
1 cup of milk

Directions
1. Whip the egg whites until they’re firm. Save it for later.
2. In the mixer bowl, put the sugar, cocoa powder, coffee, butter and yolks. Mix well and let it rest for a bit.
3. Add the flour and milk, and mix again. Once all is integrated, let it rest.
4. Add the whipped egg whites and baking powder. Mix it well.
5. Put the dough in a cake pan or muffin trays and bake at 305 Fahrenheit (about 175 Celsius) until the middle is cooked (use a knife or the pointy object of your choice to check as the time will vary according to the size – for one muffin tray, it took about 30 minutes to be ready).
6. Serve, post a picture to Facebook and link to this page. “Eat it” – Weird Al Yankovic.

If I knew that you were coming I’d bake a cake

Recovering a cake

I have mentioned on my previous (and first) post about my first baking adventures, including “cuca de banana”, a typical cake from the south of Brazil. The recipe I used is long lost, as I probably gave away the book that contained it before moving to Canada.
Luckily there is wonderful/terrible thing called the Internet, so I placed a search and ended up with an excessive number of recipes for the cake (changing bananas to apples, as it is cold and I was lazy to go out). Going through the ingredients in the top results and automatically discarding any that mentioned margarine, I locked on this one (link in Portuguese, but I’ll post it in English below).

Picture of the printed recipe attached to a box with herbs over a flower pot with lavender
My recipe holder -at least during winter when the rosemary, parsley and lavender are in the kitchen.

No lemons were harmed in the making of this recipe -laziness to go out striking again. The recipe itself if very straightforward. Just add everything in the mixer following the right order, let the dough rise, cover with apples (or any fruit) and bake. As it is usual for me, I used less sugar than what the recipe asked for, so this cake could go well with either a nice cup of coffee or probably pork -if the caramel is removed. Speaking of caramel, that was my first attempt at it and as punishment, I’ll have to spend three hours a day this week reading the Larousse des Desserts by candlelight, whilst kneeling on corn. I guess I’ll have to try that again sometime.
And this is the final result. The topping is a bit bitter due to the caramel, but overall, I’d call it a success.

Picture of the cake on a plate and two small plates and mugs around it
The cake, whole and ready to be eaten with some coffee

Recipe

Ingredients

5 grams of dry yeast
3/4 cups of water
10 tablespoons of sugar
1 egg
5 tablespoon of butter
2 cups of flour
5 grams of salt
Lemon zest
1 honeycrisp apple
Caramel*

Method

1. On the mixer’s bowl add the yeast to water. Let it rest for a couple of minutes and add the sugar. Leave it alone for 10 minutes.
2. Add the egg, butter, and lemon zest. Mix everything and start adding the flour with the salt little by little, until the dough is homogeneous, but not too firm.
3. Spread the dough in a greased and floured baking cake pan.
4. Let it grow for 30 to 50 minutes, go learn how to make proper caramel.
5. When the time is up, add the apples to the top, thinly sliced with any other ingredients of your choosing (nuts, caramel, raisins…)
6. Set the oven to 150 degrees Celsius (305 degrees Fahrenheit) and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.
7. Enjoy!

*To prevent ruining caramel for you, I am not giving my recipe.

Recovering a cake