Friday, January 28, 2011

Chocolate Caramel Banana Bread

Chocolate Caramel Banana Bread e3-w

I love the way food seems to play a central part in the life of Molly from Orangette - the way she recounts stories of her childhood, her stints in Paris (lucky duck), those first few heady months with her then husband-to-be, even the death of her beloved dad, all of them interspersed with memorable dishes, aromas and tastes. 

The way she and her mom ate at an intimate home-style restaurant in France, the way her dad tried to sneak caraway seeds into everything, the pickles that her husband is addicted to and her own love affair with all things vegetable makes for a very charming read indeed. You feel as if you are there, part of the family, sitting around the dinner table, sauce dripping down your chin, but it's okay, you don't care, because you're amongst people you love and who loves you.

Family is a central theme throughout the book and it's clear that Molly had a very special relationship particularly with her dad. Something I envy, truth to be told, but she recounts it in such a way that you can't feel jealous; instead you walk away feeling warm and fuzzy inside as if that was you she was speaking of, as if somehow you lived parts of her life. 

Chocolate Caramel Banana Bread b2-w

This is a book you can read over and over again and come back to nibble at a piece here and there (easily done, as it's broken up into many sections, rather like blogposts), perhaps make a recipe or two or simply become lost in the magic of life. What I like about her recipes is that they don't try to be trendy or fancy in any way, they are all tried-and-tested favourites, guaranteed to work every time. You can see it in the way she describes the recipes, in her instructions - be careful of this or that - and ultimately of course, the proof is in the pudding. 

Take this banana bread for example, a recipe she gleaned from a good friend who frequently used to make a choc-chip ginger version.. Molly begged the recipe off her and it has been in regular rotation since. Easy to see why too. How can anyone go wrong with chocolate? But it's more than that - the texture in this particular banana bread is flawless - just moist enough without being horribly dough-y if you know what I mean? In Afrikaans there's a lovely word to describe it: kluitjiesrig. Exactly what you don't want in a banana bread. Instead you get a lovely banana flavour, lightly moist crumb and of course the oozy bits of chocolate and caramel to sweeten the deal even further. Sold yet?

{I am submitting this to This Book Makes me Cook where the chosen book for Dec/Jan was A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes from My Kitchen Table by Molly Wizenberg.}

Chocolate Caramel Banana Bread g2-w

Chocolate Caramel Banana Bread
Adapted from A Homemade Life
Makes 1 loaf

Now I know the title says bread, but really this could easily pass for a cake. You don't even need icing (and this coming from the world's biggest sweet tooth). The Rolo's are absolutely magnificent in combination with the bananas - if you can't find Rolo's, substitute with another caramel filled milk chocolate. It should work equally splendidly.

6 tbsp (90g or 3 oz) butter
2 large eggs
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup plain yoghurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups white bread flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
3 x 48g packet Rolo's, cut in half

1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Place butter in a small microwaveable container and microwave on medium-high for about 30 seconds or so or until melted. Set aside. 
2. In a large mixing bowl beat eggs with a fork until foamy, then add bananas, yoghurt, vanilla extract and butter, stirring to combine.
3. In a seperate bowl sift dry ingredients together (flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and ginger), then add to the egg mixture, stirring until just combined. 
4. Fold chopped Rolo's into the batter, then transfer to a greased (standard-sized) loaf pan and bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour. 
5. Remove from oven and cool in the pan for approximately five minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and allow to cool completely before slicing and serving. Of course, it's just as good eaten while still-warm and with the chocolate and caramel oozing out...

Other good mix-ins for banana bread are shredded coconut, pecan nuts or even peanut brittle. Experiment a bit and have fun - I'm sure you won't mind "testing" the results. Molly suggests crystallised ginger instead of the ground ginger that I used - it sounds absolutely fabulous and I'll definitely try it that way next time.


Lisa on January 28, 2011 1:44 am said...

My mouth dropped open when I saw your recipe. Rolos in banana bread, why have I never even considered such an idea? This sounds exquisite. I have a linky party every week on my blog called "Sweets for a Saturday" and I'd really like to invite you to stop by this weekend and link this amazing bread up.

Joanne on January 28, 2011 2:33 am said...

Mmm another cookbook that I desperately need to buy. I wish more of my memories revolved around food like that...but then I'd probably be obese. This sounds wonderful! You're right...can't go wrong with chocolate and caramel!

Adele on January 28, 2011 3:21 am said...

Gorgeous banana bread! The good thing about this recipe is that because it's called bread and not cake, you can have as much as you want. We all know that bread is really really good for you. Great review, thanks very much.

Valerie Gamine on January 28, 2011 4:46 pm said...

Wow! This look so deliciously moist!
Thanks for the book review too. :D

Umm Mymoonah on January 28, 2011 6:21 pm said...

Looks so soft and moist, love to have a few slices.

Bombay Foodie on January 28, 2011 7:58 pm said...

Banana breads seem to be popular this month! This looks delicious.

Juanita on January 28, 2011 9:29 pm said...

Never in a million years would have thought of putting Rolos and banana bread together! Unique.

nina- My Easy Cooking on January 29, 2011 4:05 pm said...

Marisa, flip, this looks so lekka. The only thing missing is the cup of coffe, but I am sure you were sipping at it in between shots!

Anonymous said...

I want to make this so bad. Rolos are awesome and they look like they go beautifully in this! Wonder how I can make it gluten-free and still get the same texture...

Aparna Balasubramanian on January 30, 2011 4:08 pm said...

This banana bread looks gorgeous, I have to say. Never tried it with caramel though. And yes, the book's a very good read.

Mardi Michels on January 31, 2011 3:39 pm said...

ROLOs in banana bread? You have got to be kidding me! This looks amazing and will be added to my roster of "to bake SOON"!

Linda Harding on January 31, 2011 7:06 pm said...

It's my last one...but you can have it. And have it I will! Looks wickedly decadent, Marisa!

Alida on February 01, 2011 9:26 am said...

This looks so incredible M! I hate you right now! :)

Mindy on February 01, 2011 7:34 pm said...

This looks so good. I have Molly's book and love it.

Colleen on February 10, 2011 6:06 pm said...

Pouting now.....where's my last rolo you are supposed to save for me??? What a gorgeous recipe....Im salivating now...xx

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