Maybe I did one of those things. It’s been a few years. My memory is failing me at this moment. But bless his heart, it was dark outside when he bought them. He was driving home from work and stopped at one of those side of the road classy flower sellers. In defense he said, “They’re plastic and will last forever…like my love.” It’s the thought that counts.
That was a totally true story. A love story.
All is good in the name of love when you bake something comforting for the ones you love.
We make a banana bread almost every week. My kids slightly panic when more than a week passes without a banana bread. My hubby likes to have it with his tea for breakfast. I like to eat it hot out of the oven. Then I don’t really care about it too much.
Things changed when I started to make this bread. Why did I have to caramelize bananas? Adding them to the batter was a BAD idea. Couldn’t I have left well enough alone. It was perfect before. I used my banana bread recipe and was inspired by a recipe I saw in Rachel Ray magazine.
This version of my banana bread is dangerous. Better if I make it only once in a while. It is ADDICTIVE!
Caramelized Banana Bread
1 1/2 cups of flour (I sometimes add 1/2 whole wheat and no one knows the difference)
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
4-5 large bananas, ripe but not too mushy
3/4 cup sugar (1/4 cup to make the caramel, 1/2 cup for the banana bread mixture)
1/4 cup canola oil
2 tablespoons of sour cream (if you don’t have it, it will be fine without it)
1/4 cup milk
In a small bowl, whisk together the 1/2 cup sugar, milk, sour cream, vanilla, and eggs.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, sea salt (regular salt is fine too), baking soda, and baking powder.
Prep your bananas:
Preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a 5 x 9 inch loaf pan. Trim the ends off of 4 bananas to fit crosswise in your loaf pan. Cut the bananas lengthwise in half.
Save the end pieces of the bananas and put them in bowl with another banana cut into slices.
Caramelize the bananas:
In a large, heavy skillet, bring 1/4 cup sugar and 2 tablespoons water to a boil. You want to cook until the color starts to turn amber. As soon as it’s changed to an amber color, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter. Remove from the heat and swirl in the butter with a fork. Add the long banana pieces and the other pieces that are cut up to the pan. Add the long pieces cut side down and cook over low heat for 1 minute. Reserve the smaller banana pieces to be mashed in the banana bread mixture. Put the whole sliced bananas cut sized down arranged crosswise in the loaf pan and pour on the remaining caramel on top. Then crosswise, cut side down.the remaining caramel on top.
In a small bowl, mash the smaller caramelized banana pieces.
Whisk the banana mixture into the sugar mixture.
Add the dry ingredients to the banana mixture and whisk together until nicely combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl while you are mixing with a spatula.
Bake at 350 F for 30 minutes and lower temperature to 325 F and bake for about another 25-30 minutes. Bake the bread until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Invert the bread carefully onto a platter. If some of the bananas become detached from the top, carefully reattach them to the top of the bread. ENJOY!
As I’ve been married for almost 11 years, I forget the pressure that is felt on Valentine’s Day. I remember the days when I was single and dreading not having a date. If I was dating someone, I was always expecting something incredible. Left feeling disappointed, I got smarter and realized it was better to be with my good friends having a wonderful dinner.
This past week I’ve been reflecting on what is love. There are a myriad of ways to define “love”. What has made my heart fill with joy recently?
My sweet daddy on this past Christmas day with his Sicilian creation. Seeing his face light up for the picture with pride. Wearing the same sweater he wears every Christmas. Even if it’s 85 degrees. That is love to me.
Going to our little friend Juliana’s princess birthday party in December. How sweet was her face when we sang her Happy Birthday. She got her Hello Kitty cake and nothing else mattered.
What else made me joyous recently? Spending New Year’s Eve for the first time in years with my husband. My mom watched my little guy and my daughter and I visited hubby at work. My daughter helped me pick out what to wear. She assisted me with make-up tips. While I listened to her telling me all about her outfit and how she would do her hair, I saddened and felt a tear well up in my eye. I suddenly realized she no longer was that little girl wearing princess high heeled sandals and tutus. Time flew by much too quickly.
What defines love for you? What makes your heart fill with joy?
I hope your Valentine’s Day is as lovely as you are.
Find love and joy in the simple moments. Bake a banana bread and share it with a friend. Maybe your special someone will like the caramelized bananas in this recipe. Mine did!
Happy Valentine’s Day my friends!