Kitchen Therapy


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The Violet Bakery Cookbook Banana Buttermilk Bread

 

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I have a lot of cookbooks and while I may not cook from them as often as I’d like, I can confidently say that if a book has a recipe for Banana Bread, there’s a good chance I’ve made it! Paleo, Vegan, Choc-Chip, alcohol infused… I’ve made them all. Probably in the same recipe at some point.

This banana bread has been voted by the family as their all time favourite.
And they’ve eaten the many variations I’ve made… so they do speak with some authority!
It comes from the Violet Bakery Cookbook.
The bakery that made the cake for the recent Royal Wedding of Harry and Meghan. It’s a book I’ve had for a while and never cooked from. However, the bunch of browning bananas sitting on my kitchen bench made this the perfect opportunity to get up and experiment.
With yet another banana bread recipe….

I made this bread twice. The first time with greek yoghurt and olive oil.
I did not have the 25cmx10cm loaf asked for in the recipe so I used a smaller tin, 23cmx10cm. The smaller tin added more height to the bread and even though I cooked it longer there was still some raw-ish texture under the bananas I had laid on top.

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The second time I made the recipe with buttermilk and vegetable oil.
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I bought a longer tin that the recipe calls for this time.
I followed the recipe and (obviously) the mixture spread more and cooked perfectly in the time stated in the book. Having said “obviously” I do need to add that sometimes even though the recipe is followed precisely, it still doesn’t work as it should! So it was great to see that this recipe did turn out as described in the book!

I loved the delicate, crispy layer of skin on the bread. The extra sprinkle of sugar before adding it the oven is no effort at all for great reward. It adds just as much to the aesthetics of the bread as it does the taste.

Verdict:
I have already made this recipe twice this week and I know I will make it again. I will definitely use the larger tin and having tried both versions, I think from now I will make it with the delicate extra virgin olive oil I buy for baking and cooking.
(Also, I can tell myself it is healthier by using the olive oil! I don’t care if I’m wrong 🙂 It makes me feel better so I’m sticking with it!)

*Also I need to add that I did not have dark rum in the house so I used my favourite Maker’s Mark bourbon whiskey. I’m not a drinker however I love the smell of this bourbon!
*The recipe calls for 6 very ripe bananas, the rest of the ingredients are all measured in weight (which I absolutely loved) however the bananas are not and they come in such varying sizes, so this step does my head in!
Having said that… the first time I used 5 bananas and the second time I used 3. I think the lack of banana weight inclusion as well as the change in alcohol is testament to the flexibility of the recipe.
*I’m adding the recipe here only because it is readily available on the internet and will include the small changes I have made.

RECIPE from the THE VIOLET BAKERY COOKBOOK
In her introduction to the recipe, Claire Ptak the author, talks about her initial resistance to add banana bread to her bakery menu. Now, some years down the track, this recipe has proven itself to be one of the most popular items in the store. 
BANANA BUTTERMILK BREAD

6 very ripe bananas
150g vegetable oil (I preferred light extra virgin olive oil)
200g dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon dark rum (I used bourbon)
2 eggs
75g cultured buttermilk or plain yoghurt (I used greek plain greek yogurt)
210g plain flour
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3 tablespoons caste sugar
butter, for greasing the tin

1. Preheat the oven to 180C / 160C (fan).
2. Butter a 25cmx10cm loaf tin and line with parchment paper.
3. Reserve half a banana for the top of the cake and mash the remaining banana well.
4. In a bowl, whisk together the oil, brown sugar, vanilla, rum, eggs and buttermilk or yoghurt. Add the mashed banana and set aside.
5. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt. Fold this into the banana mixture until just combined, then pour into your prepared tin.
6. Smooth the top with a palette knife or spatula and place the reserved banana half, cut lengthways, on top. Sprinkle with the caster sugar.
7. Bake for 40-50 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean and the top of the cake has set and starts to caramelise.
(The author states she sometimes uses a kitchen blowtorch to help this process along).
8. Leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Finally… and most importantly…
enjoy the most incredibly moist, yet delicate, banana bread you’ve ever eaten!
Just as I am doing as I write this x


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Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins

Winter is on it’s way out here in Sydney.
The days are getting longer and the temperatures are starting to average in the 20’s (degrees celsius that is).


I’m looking forward to summer fruits.
Peaches, nectarines and sweet juicy mangoes.
In the meantime, I’ve been using up left over bananas any chance I get to make banana bread.

I’ve experimented with recipes from Joy the Baker Cookbook, The Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook, Home Baked Comfort William Sonoma and the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook to name just a few.

 

What can I say… we’ve eaten our way through a lot of banana bread!
We’ve had heated debates about which one is the best, we all have a favourite.
I’ve even gone as far as making each version a variety of ways, with nuts, with choc-chips, with both and even with bourbon (thanks to Joy the Baker)!

I’m going to go off an a tangent here so bear with me… I do have an important point!

Lately I’ve found myself with the usual crazy schedule of kid related events, like the book parade at my son’s school.

 

However, in addition to all the running around I’ve also had a string of frequent visitors stopping by for cups of tea and coffee! And because I’ve been running around more than usual, I’ve taken to stopping by a cupcake bakery store that’s just opened at our mall to grab something sweet for my guests and I to share while we chat!

Aren’t they just soooo pretty!

Now these are tasty cupcakes. Some more than others. But tasty nevertheless!

 

But as I was chatting away I couldn’t help but think how much I’d prefer to be eating the Banana Espresso Chocolate Chip Muffins that I had made the night before.

I went through a phase of making these on a very regular basis a few months ago, my daughter took them to school and she and her friends were absolutely obsessed with these and kept asking me to make more!

 

They come from one of my most flicked through books, Baked ‘New Frontiers in Baking’ by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.

I cannot recommend these enough…

 

BANANA ESPRESSO CHOCOLATE CHIP MUFFINS 

 

1 1/2 cups mashed, very ripe bananas (about 4 medium bananas)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup whole milk
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder (sometimes I put up to 3 teaspoons, other times I just leave it out)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips (I use Cadbury Baking Chips and I can’t help wonder if this is what takes them to the next level irresistibility!)

 

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (or 180 degrees Celsius).
Spray a 12-cup muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, stir together the bananas, sugars, butter, milk and egg.

In a another medium bowl, whisk together the flour, instant espresso powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients. Pour the wet ingredients into the well and stir until just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Fill each cup about three-quarters full. Bake in the centre of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centre of a muffin comes out clean.

Move the muffin pan to a cooling rack, and let cool for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, remove the muffins from the pan and let them finish cooling on the cooling rack.

 

Muffins can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

These are honestly amazing!!!