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Posts Tagged ‘bananas’

 

Hawaii has many, many bananas.  Anyone who has ever lived here can attest to the bounty of banana trees that permeate the yards and gardens of the islands.  Banana trees are incredibly low maintenance to grow, but they are high maintenance to maintain.  They grow prolifically in the mineral rich Hawaiian soil, full tropical sun, and Pacific rains, which is  exactly the challenge of attempting to tame them – they get big, bushy, and can take over if you’re not careful.  Most households with banana trees also have their banana tree machete to keep the trees at bay, to chop down the bunches of bananas when they are ready, and to hack away the trees that are past their prime.  We used to have banana trees of our own when we first moved to Maui, but now we are just the happy beneficiaries of the fruits of our neighbor’s banana tree labors.

This abundance of bananas explains Hawaii’s abundance of banana bread recipes.  As you drive along any rural road in the islands you will encounter numerous road side stands and shops selling auntie’s or uncle’s homemade banana bread – guaranteed to be the best in the islands.  Everyone has their favorite.  Over the years, I have amassed a large number of banana bread recipes in my recipe binder and I happily have plenty of opportunities to try them all out.

 

 

I made this bread last week when we were gifted with a large bunch of bananas from our friend who lives next door.  It has a particularly tropical flair due to the addition of coconut, lime, and macadamia nuts.  It was adapted from an old Cooking Light recipe.  If you want to take it a  step further and dress it up for dessert, you can quickly whisk together some confectioners sugar and lime juice to create a glaze to spoon over top of warm slices;  garnish with coconut and sliced mac nuts and – voila! – fancy dessert.   Personally, I like mine plain and simple, but I will warm up a slice in the microwave and smear a bit of warm soy butter over it to enjoy for breakfast before skipping out the door to work.   The beauty of banana bread, in my opinion, is in its versatility.

 

 

Coconut, Lime, and Macadamia Nut Banana Bread
Makes 1 loaf

2 cups flour
¾ tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
¾ cup sugar
¼ cup soy butter or margarine
1/8 cup canola oil
3-4 mashed bananas
¼ cup vanilla soy yogurt
3 tbsp spiced rum
3 tbsp lime juice
½ tsp vanilla
½ cup unsweetened flaked coconut
½ cup chopped macadamia nuts

Extra flaked coconut to sprinkle on the top of the loaf

1.    Preheat oven to 350F.

2.    Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt in a bowl and set aside.

3.    Cream together the soy butter/margarine and sugar with a mixer, then add the oil and mix until well combined.  Add in the banana, soy yogurt, rum, lime juice, and vanilla and mix until blended.  Add the flour mixture and mix at a low speed until just combined.  Stir in the coconut and macadamia nuts.

4.    Pour the batter into a 9×5 inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray and sprinkle the top of the loaf with the extra flaked coconut.  Bake for 50-60 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

5.    Cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a wire rack before removing from pan.

 

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This is one recipe two different ways. And yes, it is yet another recipe featuring the banana-cranberry duo. What can I say? I live in Hawai’i – that means I almost always have bananas sitting on my kitchen counter. I also still have those bags of cranberries lingering in my freezer, which are a constant reminder of my gluttonous hording every time I open the freezer door. Consider these cranberry recipes my penance, an attempt to atone for my rapacious behaviors. Happily, cranberries add a lovely burst of tart to what could otherwise become overly sweet concoctions.
I used this particular recipe to first make muffins and to then make a loaf of bread. I adjusted the recipe slightly from the muffins to the loaf, including the addition of chocolate chips to the loaf (mmmMMMmmmmm … you can’t go wrong with chocolate, bananas, cranberries, and walnuts ….) Before we get started with the recipe, however, I think that I should take a step back for a moment and explain some of my ingredient choices, which are certainly recurring items in my baked goods.
Vegan baking is decidedly different from the traditional form of baking in that it excludes that universal binder: eggs. Replacing other dairy items – milk, butter, and even cheese is easy given the abundance and wide availability of soy, nut, rice, and oat milks, soy butter (my favorite being Earth Balance), and soy cheeses such as Tofutti cream cheese. Eggs are the only things for which there is not a direct replacement. Eggs serve two purposes in baking: they bind together ingredients and they add moisture. There are many egg replacement options for vegan baking, including egg replacers such as Ener-G Egg Replacer, apple sauce, bananas, oil, and soy yogurt. I almost always use soy yogurt as I find it adds tremendously good moisture to baked goods (and it helps to avoid what is commonly referred to as “the vegan texture” – baked goods that are dense, dry, and crumbly. I have made it my personal mission to make baked goods that no one even feels the need to qualify as vegan – they are just damn good treats.) When replacing eggs, I use a ¼ cup soy yogurt per egg ratio. Often times I will also use just a little oil to assist with the binding of ingredients in a recipe.
One other ingredient that may leave a vegan chef scratching their head when it comes to replacing it is buttermilk. By adding apple cider vinegar to soymilk you can recreate the effects that buttermilk will have in a recipe. The vinegar acts as a coagulant in the soymilk and thickens it up nicely.
In this recipe I used both whole wheat flour and oat flour. You can buy oat flour at the store, but I just make it myself by processing whole oats in my Magic Bullet or food processor. You can also replace the oat flour with the flour type of your choice or just use all whole what flour.
The muffins served as dessert, breakfast, and a power snack with peanut butter smeared on top. The loaf was brought to a potluck barbecue and performed a blink-of-an eye vanishing act. I brought the loaf to the potluck pre-cut and separated with pieces of wax paper, which made it much easier to enjoy at the party without the hassle of having to cut the loaf.

Banana-Cranberry-Walnut Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

½ cup soymilk + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
½ cup soy yogurt
½ cup sugar
2 bananas, mashed
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp vanilla
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oat flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
½ cup walnuts, chopped
½ cup fresh cranberries

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Lightly grease your muffin tin.

2. Mix the soymilk and vinegar and set aside for five minutes.

3. Mix together the soy yogurt and sugar with an electric hand mixer until well blended. Mix in the mashed bananas, soymilk mixture, oil, and vanilla and mix until well incorporated.

4. Sift in the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until just blended. Fold in the walnuts and cranberries.

5. Fill each muffin tin to almost the top. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly browned. Turn out muffins onto a wire rack, cool, and enjoy!

Banana-Cranberry-Walnut-Chocolate Chip Bread
Makes one loaf (I used an 8 x 4” pan)

½ cup soymilk + 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
½ cup soy yogurt
½ cup sugar
3 bananas, mashed
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 ½ cup oat flour
¾ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
½ cup walnuts, chopped
½ cup fresh cranberries

1/2 cup chocolate chips
Oats for sprinkling on top of loaf

1. Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease your bread pan.

2. Mix the soymilk and vinegar and set aside for five minutes.

3. Mix together the soy yogurt and sugar with an electric hand mixer until well blended. Mix in the mashed bananas, soymilk mixture, oil, and vanilla and mix until well incorporated.

4. Sift in the flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and beat until just blended. Fold in the walnuts, cranberries, and chocolate chips.

5. Pour batter into the bread tin, smooth the top with a spatula, and sprinkle with oats. Bake for one hour, or until lightly browned. Turn loaf out onto a wire rack, cool, slice, and serve.

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Raw Papaya-Banana Pie

This is one of our all time favorite desserts, hands down. It’s raw, contains no refined sugar, and is just nuts and fruits. This is a pie that we have one night for dessert and then again the next morning for breakfast. Consider this one guilt free dessert whose secret identity is power food.

Raw Papaya-Banana Pie

Crust:
1 ½ cups raw almonds
1 ½ cups raw walnuts
3 pitted medjool dates
1 tablespoon agave nectar

Filling:
2 papayas (mangos also make an awesome filling)
2 bananas
1 ½ tbsp lime juice

1. Process nuts, dates, and agave in a food processor until well combined. The nut mixture should stick together when pinched. Dump mixture into a pie or a tart pan and press into place.  (I use a 9 1/2″ tart pan)

2. Process fruits and lime juice in food processor until smooth. Pour into prepared crust.

3. Freeze tart for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Slice and serve.

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Like my bread machine, my poor ice cream maker is also an unfortunately under utilized small appliance in my kitchen. In an effort to make use of what I’ve got (or else get rid of it), I pulled the ice cream maker out of its cabinet, took stock of what I had on hand, and decided upon a banana- cranberry soy ice cream. It just so happens that I have a few bags of cranberries in my freezer. You can really only get fresh cranberries at this time of year and, even though I have never been interested in cranberries in the past, this season I found myself snatching up bags at the store, only to get home and wonder, “What now?” about the berries. Even though my primary motivation for incorporating cranberries into this soy ice cream was to make use of my many cranberries, it was my belief that the tart of the fresh cranberries would undercut the sweetness of the banana, and the result was a delicious and unique dessert. My base for this dessert was the vegan soy ice cream recipe from The PPK.

Cranbanana Soy Ice Cream
1 cup soy yogurt

3/4 cup soy milk

1/3 cup brown rice syrup

1 tsp vanilla

2 ripe bananas

1/2 cup fresh cranberries

Puree all ingredients in a food processor or blender. Pour into ice cream maker and freeze per manufacturer’s instructions.

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If I were asked to name my least favorite breakfast food to make I would, without hesitation, answer “waffles.” It’s quite sad, really. I love the waffle. I love the crunchy exterior and the fluffy soft inside. I like the nooks and crannies that serve as little buckets of goodness that deliver the perfect amount of syrupy deliciousness to your mouth with each bite. Unfortunately, waffles also happen to be traditionally made with dairy and smothered in butter, which makes them verboten on most breakfast menus for a vegan. Most vegans simply compensate for this by whipping up their own bundles of waffle love in their home kitchens. I, however, have been challenged by the waffle. Something always seems to go awry with my waffle attempts – they end up undercooked, overcooked, burned, in pieces, stuck to the waffle iron, bland, tasting like baking powder, or just plain ugly and tasteless.

This morning Dan and I were discussing what to make for breakfast when he offered to make us some pancakes. The silence he was met with conveyed my thoughts, to which he responded, “No, really – I can do this. Just give me a recipe. It’s like a chemistry experiment.” Well, then – “Let’s do this together,” I say, followed by, shockingly, “But instead of pancakes, let’s make waffles!” Perhaps it was the comforting assurance of back up that led to my crazy talk. No matter, waffles it was … it was our mission.

We took stock of our fruit – apples, bananas, mangoes, and blueberries – and decided upon a peanut butter banana waffle, with just a touch of carob for a hint of chocolate undertone. Dan also insisted that no matter what kind of waffle we made we would have to incorporate Tofutti cream cheese, which I though would pair well with the peanut butter to create a rich, creamy, smooth tasting waffle.

I am happy to say that these waffles were the most perfect waffles I have ever been a part of making! I opened the waffle iron upon the first waffle with trepidation, expected to see the usual mess – but instead I was treated to the sight of a perfectly browned, fluffly waffle. This recipe turned out four big, beautiful waffles that all tasted delicious. Already we are planing another batch that will be a dessert waffle, topped with some vanilla soy ice cream.

 

 

Peanut Butter Banana Waffles

  • 1 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp carob powder (can substitute cocoa)
  • 1 pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 ripe mashed banana
  • 1/4 cup natural peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp Tofutti cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 cup vanilla soymilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla

 

1. Preheat your waffle iron per the manufacturer’s instructions.

2. Sift dry ingredients together into a medium bowl.

3. In a seperate bowl, combine the mashed banana, peanut butter, and cream cheese and mix. Add the oil and vanilla and mix until incorporated, then mix in the soymilk until well combined.

4. Slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until well combined. Your batter will be thick.

5. Lightly spray both the top and bottom waffle griddle and add 2/3rds cup of batter to the waffle iron, spreading out the batter slightly before closing the iron. Our waffles took about 4 minutes to cook up into perfect waffles, but be sure to check your manufacturer’s instructions for times. Repeat for each waffle, taking care to spary the iron with oil between each waffle so as to prevent sticking. Keep dine waffles warm by covering them with foil.

6. Serve with sliced bananas and warmed maple syrup.

Update:  These waffles kept us going all day!  PB + nanner waffles = power food.  Who knew?

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