dominique ansel’s banana bread

ansel banana bread

As you may have heard, the great Dominique Ansel recently released the recipe for his infamous cronuts. The recipe takes three days, four rises, a deep fryer, and something called a “butter block”. Oh, and let’s not forget to make the glaze and the flavored sugar.

While I may never eat (and will more likely never make) a cronut, what I was more interested in was his much simpler, more approachable recipe for the great and humble banana bread. Because the one thing everyone needs is yet another banana bread recipe, right?

I mean, it’s not like I don’t already have not one but two recipes for banana bread right here on this very site, but I was intrigued. I mean, how amazing can banana bread really be?

I became even more intrigued as I continued reading the recipe… no vanilla, no brown sugar, not even a hint of cinnamon. Clearly this was some sort of trick. Would Mr. Eats even eat a quickbread that wasn’t covered in streusel? I wasn’t sure…

I fought off my urge to tinker with every fiber of my being… No, Natalie, we aren’t adding vanilla. Or brown sugar. That “dash of cinnamon” is definitely off the table – If the great Dominique Ansel doesn’t need it, then neither do I gosh darnit!

ansel banan bread 2

After I congratulated myself on completing a recipe from start to finish by actually following the directions and not tinkering with a single ingredient… I tossed it in the oven and prepared myself for disappointment. I was ready to laugh and scoff and bring Chef Ansel down a peg.

Well color me wrong because this stuff is like banana gold. It turns out, apparently, that you don’t actually need any vanilla, or streusel, or cinnamon. All you need is bananas, flour, sugar, eggs and love. And lots of butter. You’ll definitely be needing that butter. And an over-sized loaf pan (my puny 8 by 5 would not do. Luckily I found some old larger loaf pan that, judging from the looks of it, I can only assume came from my mom or possibly a bomb shelter.

The loaf baked up with an incredibly light and tender crumb on the inside and a delightfully crisp exterior. I was a bit lazy about the banana-mashing so I still had a few chunks of banana, but i like it that way.

It is pure banana essence baked into loaf form and more than anything else – it is addictive.

Score one for Chef Ansel. I’m so sorry I ever doubted you.

ansel bread 4

Since I assumed that his cookbook would be full of cronuts and other complex things that frankly I get tired just thinking about… I had already decided that I wasn’t going to purchase it. However, now that I realize that there could be more gems in there like this banana bread,  I should probably just pre-order it now.

dominique ansel’s banana bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 eggs, room temperature
  • 4 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing pan

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 10" x 5" x 3 ½" loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl, whisking to combine.
  3. In a separate medium bowl, lightly beat the eggs and whisk in mashed bananas.
  4. Create a well in the dry ingredients and pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Gently fold the mixture until the ingredients are just combined.
  5. Add the melted butter to the flour and banana mixture, and stir until fully incorporated.
  6. Pour the batter into prepared pan and bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes.
  7. Allow to cool in the pan for 20 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack to complete cooling.

Notes

This recipe was found on Tasting Table

http://wee-eats.com/2014/10/18/dominique-ansels-banana-bread/

m4s0n501

blueberry-coconut coffee cake

blueberry buckle 1

I was recently burdened with an overabundance of blueberries. (What a hard life I have, I know)

As much as I love blueberries I was nearing the end of my week and still had more than I could eat sitting in the fridge taunting me, threatening me that they were going to turn at any minute. The worst thing about berries is that they turn from delicious to inedible in the blink of an eye.

What was I to do with these berries? How could I possibly relieve myself of this awful burden?

The same way I solve all of my other problems, apparently, with cake!

As though it was meant to be, I came across the Bon Appetit recipe for a blueberry buckle and the clouds parted and the angels sang and all was right in the world again….

blueberry buckle 2

And I thought I would kick up the summer appeal by adding a bit of tropical coconut… because coconut = summer, right? Something like that.

I’m not sure what exactly differentiates a buckle from a coffee cake or any other cake for that matter… then again, who does? According to this article, this thing isn’t even a buckle, anyway! I think this counts as “coffee cake” in my book, but if they want to call it a buckle, I’m down for that too.

“A cake by any other name still tastes as sweet…”

Right?

But this buckle/cake/coffee cake/sugar-flour-butter-baby was amazing.

This was one of the most tender cake/cake-like-items that I have ever put in my mouth. The fact that it was filled to the brim with tart-yet-sweet blueberries and topped with glorious cinnamony streusel just made it all that much better. This cake “buckle”  is just as suited to accompany your morning coffee as it is for you after-dinner scoop of ice cream.

blueberry coconut coffee cake

Prep Time: 14 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes

Yield: 1 9-inch cake

Ingredients

    For the streusel
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, chilled
  • For the buckle
  • 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut cream (or full-fat coconut milk)
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 12 ounces blueberries

Instructions

    Prepare for baking
  1. Prepare a 9-inch round spring-form pan with flour and butter (or use baking spray) and line with parchment. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  2. Make the topping
  3. Whisk all streusel ingredients together except butter.
  4. Cut butter into 1/2-inch cubes and cut into the streusel mixture until evenly distributed.
  5. Make the buckle
  6. In a small bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
  7. In a large bowl or stand mixer, beat butter with sugar on high until the butter is pale and fluffy, about five minutes. Beat in egg and vanilla until incorporated.
  8. Turn speed to low and add the flour mixture in two additions alternating with the coconut cream, just until incorporated.
  9. Gently fold in the blueberries into the batter and scrape the batter into the pan. The batter will be thick and chock-full of blueberries. Gently press the batter into the pan with your hands or a spatula until it covers the bottom of the pan.
  10. Top batter with streusel and bake 80 to 90 minutes until baked through. Cool at least 30 minutes on a wire rack still in the pan.

Notes

* You will want to use a spring-form pan here since you cannot turn out the cake (or you will lose all of the delicious streusel)

* Though blueberries are used here, feel free to use any fruit you like or no fruit at all. This cake is AMAZING.

This recipe was adapted from Bon Apetit, July 2014

http://wee-eats.com/2014/07/28/blueberry-coconut-coffee-cake/

whole wheat roasted banana muffins

roasted banana muffin 0985

I first made these muffins on a whim, I had two super-ripe (on the verge of garbage-can-ripe) bananas sitting in my fruit bowl begging not to be thrown away. I stared at them for a long time, thinking,  relatively certain that every banana bread recipe in the world requires more than two bananas. I could have made some banana pancakes, but at 7:00 PM on a weeknight (after we had just eaten dinner) it might have seemed just a touch odd to start making pancakes.

So, I pondered a moment and decided in a moment of genius to ROAST the bananas. In my big dinosaur brain I figured with SAT-style math equations that two ripe bananas plus the roasting power of the oven (divided by the square root of the deliciousness of regular banana bread) should equal the flavor of at LEAST three bananas… Then I decided to amp up the flavor with a bit of whole wheat flour and tweaked the moisture content just a bit to make sure the texture doesn’t go bananas on me (ha- get it? BANANAS).

Et, voila!

Banana bread was had. Well, banana MUFFINS, to be more exact. But in my world banana “muffins” are really just banana bread poured into a muffin tin.

roasted banana muffin 0998

They ended up being FRIGGIN DELICIOUS and I couldn’t wait to share them with you guys… except that I didn’t have any to share. Because instead of sharing them with you I shared them with my belly. So I had to buy some more bananas and play that dreadful game we all play when we want to  make banana bread: The Waiting Game.

Buy bananas now, eat banana bread in 5 to 10 days.

Must not consume all of the bananas before said day arrives.

I also fully intended, now that I had purchased a surplus of bananas specifically to make these muffins, to do that thing where you bake a slice of banana on top of the muffin and it looks super pretty.  Unfortunately, due to a fierce smoothie addiction that is apparently contagious (since FH caught it), I ended up with the same issue as last time – only two bananas.

No extra banana fanciness. Maybe next time. For now, make the bananas, maybe press a piece of sliced banana in the top and let me know what kind of magic happens. Throw on some streusel while you’re at it, or stir in some chocolate chips… Or, if you’re evil like me, trick your Future Husband (or person of your choice) by whispering to them menacingly after they’ve raved about how good the muffins are, “Psst – they have whole grain flour in them…” and watch the color drain from their face as they stare at you in horror for making them eat something (almost) a teeny bit healthful.

You monster.

roasted banana muffins

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Yield: 9 to 12 muffins

Serving Size: 1 muffin

Ingredients

  • 2 (or 3) ripe bananas
  • 1/3 cup neutral vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup all purpose flour (I used 2/3 cup regular all purpose + 1/3 cup whole wheat flour)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees.
  2. Place unpeeled bananas on a foil or parchment-lined baking sheet (for easy clean-up) and roast about 20 to 30 minutes until completely blackened. Remove from oven and cool slightly until cool enough to handle.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour(s), baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. In a large bowl, mash roasted bananas. Once the bananas close to room temperature, whisk in the sugars and oil until incorporated.
  5. Add the egg and stir to combine.
  6. Add the flour in two additions, and gently fold until combined, being careful not to over-mix.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the muffin comes out mostly clean with just a few crumbs clinging to it.

Notes

*If you would like to top these with streusel or just a bit of crumbled brown sugar, it will yield a slightly sweeter muffin.

*You can still see little chunks of banana in my muffin - if you don't want chunks just mash your bananas to be chunk-free!

*These were great with 2 bananas (which was all I had on hand) but if you want to add a third banana (mashed or chopped) I would keep the rest of the ingredients the same.

http://wee-eats.com/2014/03/11/whole-wheat-roasted-banana-muffins/

monkey bread

monkey bread instagram

Hey guys, remember this thing from my Christmas brunch?

Allow me to refresh your memory: it involves soft, pillowy dough, lots of cinnamon and sugar, and a warm, gooey, butterscotch glaze.  Is that jogging your memory at all?

Good.

You know those dishes that just instantly transport you back to your childhood?  You smell it cooking and suddenly you’re eight again at grandma’s house rolling pieces of dough around?

This is one of those dishes.

I know we all love to do all the things and make things from scratch, but sometimes it’s nice to just take it easy, ya know?

When I was little, monkey bread started with cans of biscuit dough and cinnamon sugar, then over the years taking bits and pieces from other family traditions the biscuits evolved into bread dough and the cinnamon sugar got amped up with pudding mix.

I know what you’re thinking, because I thought it at first too.  Pudding mix?!?

Yeah, wipe that skeptical look of your face.  It works, and it’s not only “good” but it’s like, irresistibly good.

So good that your fiance may have an intense internal debate on Christmas morning about which is more important: eating monkey bread or your relationship.

photo

He may then stare at you in still in his pajamas, lured out of bed by the smell of baking cinnamon,  like you’re the meanest person in the world for telling him that he has to wait for company to arrive before he can eat it.

This may force you to remind him that the only way he will have monkey bread in his future is if you’re still around to make it.

All theoretical, of course.

Oh, and the best part about this delicious magical breakfast bread?  You can assemble it the night before and then just bake it in the morning.  Doesn’t that just beat the crap out of getting up at the buttcrack of dawn to make some fresh cinnamon rolls or pull-apart bread?

Yeah, I thought so too.  I mean, I love my family, but we all have our limits.

So make this and it can be your “easy” dish, or your only dish, no one will care how long it took (or didn’t take) you to make it because it’s so gosh darn delicious.

FH and I were still eating it like five days later and IT WAS JUST AS SOFT AS THE FIRST DAY.  I swear this stuff is magic.

monkey bread

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 35 minutes

Total Time: 13 hours, 45 minutes

Yield: 1 bundt cake

Ingredients

  • 22 frozen dinner rolls, I use Rhodes
  • 1 small package cook-and-serve butterscotch pudding
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions

  1. Set out rolls to thaw slightly - I laid mine on a baking sheet lined with plastic wrap and then covered the tops with plastic wrap to keep them from drying out. It took about 45 min to 1 hour for them to thaw.
  2. Grease and flour a bundt pan. Melt butter in microwave and then stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla extract; let cool slightly to room temperature.
  3. Cut rolls in half and toss into bundt pan.
  4. Once half the rolls are in the pan, sprinkle with half of the pudding mix and pour half the butter mixture. Repeat with remaining rolls, brown sugar mixture, and butter.
  5. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.
  6. The next morning, preheat the oven to 350F and set bundt pan on the counter about 30 minutes to warm to room temperature (I actually set mine on top of the oven while it was preheating to try to get more lift out of it).
  7. Once ready to bake, place bundt pan on a sheet pan and remove the plastic wrap. Bake 30 to 40 minutes until golden brown and cooked through, covering with foil after 20 minutes.
  8. Remove from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Invert onto a rimmed serving dish (this is important, because there will be goo oozing everywhere).

Notes

*If you don't want to wait overnight, place your covered bundt cake on the counter and let rise until doubled in size (about 2 hours) and then follow baking instructions. The speed of the rise will depend on how warm your kitchen is.

*If you can't find (or don't want to use) frozen dinner rolls, you could definitely use homemade rolls - I recommend sticking with either white bread or brioche dough.

http://wee-eats.com/2014/01/27/monkey-bread/

 

monkey-bread-pin

pumpkin scones

DSC_0698 pumpkin scone

Because it’s the weekend and weekends are for staying in your PJs for as long as humanly possible.

And because it’s winter and therefore still considered an acceptable time of the year to eat pumpkin-flavored things.

And because apparently I think everything needs to be drizzled with icing.

Everything.

And because, if you haven’t noticed, Starbuck’s fancy new bakery line wants nothing to do with their classic pumpkin spice scones that I anxiously await every year, so I was likely to start getting the shakes if I didn’t somehow consume a pumpkin scone before the end of winter. 

These scones are smaller than the Starbucks variety, meaning you won’t want to run off of a bridge (as badly) once you realize you’ve inhaled the whole thing (or two of them).  They’re also taller (and craggy-er) than the Starbucks scone, which I find to be more enjoyable, personally.

DSC_0690 pumpkin scone

And while I considered using royal icing on them (I’m half-convinced that’s what is on theirs, or some sort of concoction that can only be made with high fructose corn syrups and/or various types of hydrogenated vegetable oils), royal icing is a bit much for the morning, wouldn’t you agree?

So I did the usual mix some powdered sugar with a little bit of milk and vanilla and drizzled it on top.  Then I thought I should also do a version with some pumpkin spice mixed in, and drizzled that on top, because PUMPKIN!

To review: these are not Starbuck’s pumpkin scones.  But they ARE pumpkin scones.  And they are delicious.

I made one batch of these (for me, that was about 12 scones) and then froze them to bake at my leisure.  Now I can preheat the oven while I make my coffee, pop in a scone, and have a scone breakfast ready in no time flat.  I  don’t even have to think about it.  Which is convenient for any of you who are planning to start a diet in January, you can bake one or two this weekend, and freeze the rest to reward your post-diet self! ;)

pumpkin scones

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 35 minutes

Yield: 12 scones

Ingredients

    For the scones
  • 2 1/2 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 stick (1/2 cup) cold butter
  • 2/3 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 large eggs
  • 11/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • For baking
  • 2 Tablespoons milk
  • Your favorite glaze* or cinnamon-sugar (if desired)

Instructions

    Make the scones
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and spice. Work in the butter until coarse crumbles form (I do this by grating the butter into the mixture, then using my hands or a pastry cutter to cut the butter in). A pastry-cutter is recommended, as you want the butter to stay as cold as possible.
  2. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, pumpkin, and vanilla until smooth. Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until moistened.
  3. Scrape dough onto a floured surface and divide the dough in half. Pat each half into a circle about 5- to 6-inches in diameter and about 3/4-inch thick.
  4. Transfer the dough circles to a parchment-lined baking sheet and cut each circle into 6 wedges. Cover and place in the freezer 1 hour.*
  5. To bake the scones
  6. Preheat oven to 425F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Place wedges onto parchment and brush with milk and sprinkle with cinnamon-sugar (if using).
  7. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until golden brown and the side of the scone looks dry and baked.
  8. Remove scones from oven and drizzle with glaze (if desired) or enjoy as-is.

Notes

* Once frozen, you may transfer the scones to an airtight freezer-safe bag for storage. Bake from frozen for same amount of time.

* Alternatively, you could probably bake these without freezing (for when you're short on time), but I haven't tried. I would estimate they would take about 15 minutes if you don't freeze them (but you might want to start checking around 10). If baking fresh, they may not raise as high as these did.

* For the glaze, I used 1/2 cup of powdered sugar mixed with 2 teaspoons milk and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. Stir until your desired consistency is reached, adding more powdered sugar to thicken or more milk to thin.

* For a pumpkin-spice glaze, add 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spice to your powdered sugar before adding the milk and vanilla. Prepare the same way as the regular glaze

http://wee-eats.com/2014/01/04/pumpkin-scones/

pumpkin scone pin