Sunday, July 19, 2009

cuban-inspired banana bread


Speaking of Cuban-inspired banana bread, Jenn turned me on to a banana bread contest with a $500 purse. The rules are pretty easy: make your best, original banana bread recipe, take a picture of that loaf, and submit by the end of the month. I'm not much of an "original recipe" kind of gal - I'm still experimenting with the zillions of amazing-sounding and -looking recipes I run across every day. Still, $500 seemed worth it, so I decided to play around with the one version of banana bread I'd made before.

We had an almost-too-ripe plantain handy, and Josh suggested using it (I thought jokingly, but he was serious). I halved the recipe and decided one gargantuan platano is about equal to two medium bananas, so I added just one more medium banana that was on the verge of expiration. Bananas go really fast in the summertime! Using the dregs of the King Arthur vanilla was no mistake; I thought the depth of flavor of the bits of vanilla bean would enhance the bread, and since banana bread is always kind of black-flecked, it would be unnoticed visually. Unfortunately, as previously noted, I left out about half the flour. Oops. That made for a very dense, cake-like bread. I also added walnuts to the whole bread and chocolate chips to one half (so as not to upset the Purist's sensibilities). They were mini-chocolate chips, and I didn't use that many, so the effect was pretty subtle.

Surprisingly, it tasted good! I would definitely try this again. Knowing my error, I'm guessing the consistency had less to do with the plantain and more to do with the missing flour. If I wanted my kids to eat it, I'd leave out the nuts completely. They made me pick them out. Ever tried picking chopped nuts out of bread? I'm not sure how different the taste was between the plantain and regular bananas without a side-by-side comparison, but if I had a plantain going to waste on my counter, it would be worth another experiment.

Also, look at this chunk of plantain! I had to shoo Josh away to get the picture:

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