Caramelized Banana Bread – How Do You Define Love?

by cakeduchess on February 13, 2011 · 54 comments

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What would you do if your hubby came home with a bunch of fake flowers on Valentine’s Day? Would you laugh out loud?

If you were full of raging just had a baby hormones, would you maybe burst out in tears? Throw them out the front door and then go and stomp on them?

 
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.
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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!
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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)
2 eggs
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

Sugar Mixture:
In a small bowl, whisk together the 1/2 cup sugar, milk, sour cream, vanilla, and eggs.
Flour Mixture:
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.

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Whisk the banana mixture into the sugar mixture.DSCN6035

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.

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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.
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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.

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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! Winking smile

Happy Valentine’s Day my friends!

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Diva In The Garden February 13, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Well now, THAT looks amazing! Shall give it a whirl!

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Lael Hazan @educatedpalate February 13, 2011 at 3:30 pm

What a wonderful post! I could feel the pounds creep on my hips as I read it. I also adored your photos of Love!
In our house, Valentine’s Day, will be celebrated as a family. My two little girls (who would say they aren’t little anymore 7 & 11) are baking the desert. They are making lists as we speak. I’m not sure who is going to be elected clean up; however, cleaning up after a little girl’s baking session is definitely LOVE :)

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Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels February 13, 2011 at 3:53 pm

This is hands down my favorite post that you’ve done. I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoy hearing about the love you have for your family, it makes me smile. :)

The caramelized banana bread looks AMAZING! You are so creative to caramelize the bananas, I would have never of thought of that.

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Amy February 13, 2011 at 4:01 pm

Your banana bread looks heavenly! What a great idea to carmelize the bananas on top! I would love some of this with brunch!

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Sandra February 13, 2011 at 4:03 pm

What an amazing writing! Love for me represents family, and when we are all together, but on V-Day it is all about two of us. We enjoying every moment! Your kids are so cute, and banana bread to die for..love it!!!

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Kim at Coffee Pot Chronicles February 13, 2011 at 4:06 pm

Awww! Such a sweet and lovely story and your dad is so awesome to still wear his sweater no matter what the weather is. Your son is adorable as well and you and the hubby are so cute together.

Okay, I saw the banana bread but your wonderful story and the cute photos just took the cake…no pun intended. Haha.

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RecipeGirl February 13, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Whoa- this looks completely amazing! Decadent, for sure!

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Lauren at KeepItSweet February 13, 2011 at 4:37 pm

I also made a banana bread on the blog like that and loved it! The caramelized bananas make an amazing difference.

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Lizzy February 13, 2011 at 4:44 pm

Oh, I am getting SO hungry looking at that fabulous bread, Lora! Caramelized so perfectly. But, alas, no one but me likes banana bread…I my have to bake this for company one day. Happy Valentine’s Day…love the photos of your sweet family <3

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Barbara | VinoLuciStyle February 13, 2011 at 4:49 pm

What a lovely post and a reminder I need to take more than photos of food.

OK…I admit it, I’m not a huge fan of banana bread BUT if I can call this Bananas Foster bread than I’m there!

Happy Valentine’s Day!! XOXO

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briarrose February 13, 2011 at 5:36 pm

Awesome story…..one that he probably won’t live down ever. ;) It is the thought that counts of course.

Delicious banana bread. The caramelized bananas are an amazing touch. I can totally see how it would be addictive.

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polwig February 13, 2011 at 5:46 pm

I really have to be careful with your amazing cakes. I swear since Jan 1st your hangover cake has been made at least once a week. Now if I substitute it with this one I will be doomed. But it will totally make valentines day.

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Jill Colonna February 13, 2011 at 5:57 pm

I’m speechless just now after reading you, beautiful Duchess. The actual recipe of carmelising the bananas was already something special but your heartfelt writing of your Dad (that sweater and amazing cake), children (your son’s EYES!) and your hubbie just makes you feel glad to be alive and realise just how precious love is with such precious moments. You certainly know how to touch the heartstrings!

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Jamie February 13, 2011 at 6:08 pm

What a funny story and a lovely post, Lora! Delicious like the cake. My husband loathes Valentine’s Day as “THAT American faux holiday somehow adapted by the French for whoever knows what pathetic reason and forced on us!” But he always does something sweet for me: flowers, a pile of cooking magazines, a dinner out or a special lunch he prepares at home ONLY because he suspects it means something to me. THAT is love! xo Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

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sara @ CaffeIna February 13, 2011 at 6:30 pm

Oh my! Caramelized bananas? I would totally get addicted!
And I loved your story. At least you got flowers. I think I got flowers only once in 1 year and 1/2 :(
Oh well, he does other sweet things…

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Lo-mo February 13, 2011 at 7:58 pm

mmmm….Carmelized bananas….this looks fabulous! Thank you for sharing that sweet little story about love that lasts forever! I do love the pics of the family…at this point for so many of us, Valentine’s day really is a family affair!

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Brenda February 13, 2011 at 8:46 pm

What a sweet post (enjoyed the pics!) and a delicious banana bread. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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foodwanderings February 13, 2011 at 9:05 pm

Love the pics of you and your family, the little kiddie is absolutely adorable!! Cherish every moment as I am now just putting apackage for S through UPS:). Love the carmelization on the banana bread.

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Angela FRS February 13, 2011 at 9:16 pm

That looks absolutely amazing! Fantastic, decadent twist on a classic.

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Sandra February 13, 2011 at 10:30 pm

Yes it is the thought that counts and it made for a memorable story. Your Carmelized Banana Bread is dangerous. Be still my foolish heart! Double yum and a buzz.

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sliceofmylyfe February 13, 2011 at 10:32 pm

Beautifully written post. It kinda filled my heart with a lot of that love.
Caramelized banana bread, – I shall make in the honour of the wonderful post you shared with us!
Thanks and Happy Valentines Day.

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Kim - Liv Life February 13, 2011 at 11:30 pm

Lora, beautiful bread, beautiful post and even more beautiful pictures!!! My daughter, the banana-aholic, will devour this bread… nicely done!

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Chef Dennis February 14, 2011 at 12:29 am

Hi Lora
what a wonderful post! You had me at the caramelized banana bread, the rest of the post was just picture perfect! Thanks for sharing those special times with us!
cheers
Dennis

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Spicie Foodie February 14, 2011 at 12:36 am

Beautiful post and delicious recipe. It is good advice to find love and happiness in the everyday things. Not everyone is blessed like me and you to have date for Valentine’s Day but there is plenty of love to be found around us. Hope you have a great holiday and thanks for sharing a mouthwatering recipe.

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LaPhemmePhoodie February 14, 2011 at 1:17 am

Holy moly I thought I had tried everything with banana bread. Caramelizing the bananas is a great idea. Oh if only I had some ripe bananas right now I would make this a.s.a.p.

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Hester aka The Chef Doc February 14, 2011 at 1:24 am

Aw, happy Valentine’s Day to you, my dear! The bread is absolutely bananas, no pun intended. Caramelized bananas… I would have never thought! My parents have more than 10 bananas in the bowl right now; I think I’ll just steal away some to ripen and make banana bread :-)

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erikeats.com February 14, 2011 at 1:26 am

WooooHoooo! I don’t usually bake, but I might just have to do some this week. This really looks amazing. It kind of reminds me of Bananas Foster.

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Happy When Not Hungry February 14, 2011 at 1:28 am

Your banana bread looks amazing! I love all your photos and thanks for sharing that funny story about the fake flowers. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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baking.serendipity February 14, 2011 at 4:06 am

Your flowers story cracked me up! Thanks for the laugh and an amazing recipe! I can imagine this being ridiculously addictive. I’m definitely up for it :) Happy Valentine’s Day!

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Georgia (The Comfort of Cooking) February 14, 2011 at 5:47 am

Lora, you and your husband are such a gorgeous couple! This banana bread looks like an absolutely stunning way to give love to your family and a delicious treat to share. Thanks for the wonderful recipe… I’ll have to try it soon! Happy Valentine’s Day to you!

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Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen February 14, 2011 at 7:35 am

Such a heartfelt post, a real joy to read. I was laughing at the part where you said your husband bought you fake flowers b/c they would last forever like your love, such a sweet sentiment expressed in the wrong form! I hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day.

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MaryMoh February 14, 2011 at 8:23 am

What a lovely post to read and I love your banana bread. Love how cheerful your dad looks. Smiles are infectious……I’m smiling :D

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Annie February 14, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Oh wow! A beautiful post and beautiful recipe. Great work, it’s definitely getting a run in my oven! Xxxx

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Pretend Chef February 14, 2011 at 12:21 pm

Such an emotional rollercoaster of a post today, I laughed, I smiled, and I teared up. Such a heartfelt post. As for that banana bread… what!?! That is bananas. Literally. I am in LOVE. If only your husband came home with this instead of some fake flowers.

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A Thought For Food February 14, 2011 at 2:00 pm

First of all… that story is hilarious! And so incredibly sweet.

Second… your father is adorable! That sweater just made me laugh so hard!

Happy Valentine’s Day, Lora!

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Lindsay @Eat, Knit, Grow February 14, 2011 at 2:24 pm

Yum! Looks so amazing. Sweet story!! Happy Valentine’s day!

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A SPICY PERSPECTIVE February 14, 2011 at 3:43 pm

What a lovely heat-felt post! Love the family photos! My family defines loves for me, thick in thin, they hang in there with you!

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ravienomnoms February 14, 2011 at 6:07 pm

WOW, that is all I can say, just wow

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The Mom Chef February 14, 2011 at 6:08 pm

The recipe is absolutely phenomenal (and might just get made today), but the pictures and comments underneath it make the post. What a tribute to love and your family. Thank you for sharing those things.

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Kate @ Diethood.com February 14, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Lovely post, ammmmmazing banana bread (caramelized?!? WOW!), beautiful family!

My husband buys me flowers from the grocery store.
At least he buys me flowers, right? I Love that guy! :)

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All That's Left Are The Crumbs February 14, 2011 at 7:40 pm

This banana bread looks amazing. I can’t wait to try this.

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Claire Gallam February 14, 2011 at 8:13 pm

Happy Valentine’s! What a fabulous bread!

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Claudia February 14, 2011 at 9:47 pm

I can get into serious trouble here with caramelized banana bread. I might not want to share. Bad mother/bad wife. Beautiful posting – loved your gorgeous, smiling father with his sweater. Loved the point of the post. Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Raina February 14, 2011 at 11:22 pm

Love your fake flower story…lol That is too cute.

Love your banana bread with carmelized bananas..now that is just genius. I know my family would go nuts for it. Thanks for sharing it:)

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BakingWithoutaBox February 14, 2011 at 11:27 pm

Your family is just so darn cute!! Your little ones, I want to scoop up and take cutie pie portraits for their momma.
That caramelized banana is so bad. But looks sooo good!

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Lauren February 15, 2011 at 12:56 am

What a sweet post :) Your banana bread looks to DIE for. I just made caramelized banana French toast so this has me drooling already :)

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Susi February 15, 2011 at 2:21 am

Lora, what a beautiful post and family :o) I hope you enjoyed this Valentine’s Day with all of your loved ones!
Your banana bread looks amazing. You should have titled it “the ULTIMATE Banana Bread”, cause that what it looks and sounds like :o)

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Monet February 15, 2011 at 5:16 am

I must be very emotional tonight…your post made me almost start crying! Your family is so beautiful. Your children, your sweet papa, your husband…my, I’m melting! And then, of course, you tempt me with some amazing bread! Love, to me, is my sweet husband’s constant hugs, sweet whispers and huge smile!

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SMITH BITES February 15, 2011 at 1:33 pm

beautiful post, beautiful family – i especially love the pic of your father in his Christmas sweater with the huge plate of lasagna!! but more importantly, love that you recognize the love of your family and not to squander those moments Lora. the bread? it’s fantastic but i cannot make this because i will eat every. single. piece. and that would be very, very bad for my hips!!

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Rich February 15, 2011 at 1:51 pm

It’s more likely that I’d be the one bringing home the fake flowers and hoping she’d laugh out loud … hoping hard.

And this bread looks outstanding – I think she’d be a lot happier if I brought some of this home to her …

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Evan @swEEts February 15, 2011 at 2:13 pm

What a funny story, one that may have not been funny at the time but now you can look back at it and laugh a little :) Your pictures are wonderful as always. I hope you had a good Valentines Day Lora! Oh and this banana bread? amazing.

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Magic of Spice February 17, 2011 at 4:01 am

Your caramelized banana bread looks seriously dangerous ;) You have such a beautiful family, I hope you all had an amazing valentines :)

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kita February 17, 2011 at 4:43 am

A) your poppas adorable!
b) please come make banana bread for me every week or I’ll panic ;)

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Anonymous February 16, 2013 at 7:29 pm

It looks delicious, but did I miss the amount of butter added to the sugar/water in the skillet?

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