June 4, 2012

Butterscotch Banana Bread

Have you ever found with particular books that fate has decided you either have to read it or own it? There's been a couple of books like this for me where I have maybe spotted it in a book store, or online and thought it sounded interested but then brushed it aside. It seems then that these particular books will pop up everywhere. I'll walk into other book stores and it will be there on the shelf beconing to me, or it will continuously pop up Amazon as a recommended book (this was the case with Emma Donoghue's book 'Room' which was fantastic). This happened to me with a cookbook about a year or so ago. Whenever I walked into a bookshop there it was - the beautiful cover of What to Cook and How to Cook it by Jane Hornby. So eventually I had to have it! It's been on display on my bookshelf since then - after the initial flicking through it - I haven't made anything from it.
I recently opened it up, and noticed a recipe for Butterscotch Banana Bread and I just so happened to have 3 bananas sitting in my kitchen that needed to be used. I usually don't cook a lot with bananas because of the gross factor, but I thought I could get through it due to the appealing adddition of butterscotch in the recipe name. Unfortunately though, at the time I didn't have any cream cheese so I couldn't make the caramel icing/frosting that usually goes with this bread. Still, I'm glad that I gave it a go - it tasted wonderful.
Butterscotch Banana Bread: 
3 medium, very ripe bananas
175g softened unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
175g brown sugar
1/2 tsp sea salt
3 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g plain flour
120g plain wholemeal flour
2 tsp baking powder
50g chopped walnuts, plus extra to decorate if you like
100g cream cheese

1. Rub a little butter over the inside of a 900g loaf tin, then line it with a strip of baking paper, leaving some overhang at either end. Preheat oven to 160 C

2. Peel the bananas and put them in a bowl. Use a fork to mash the fruit to a lumpy pulp.

3. Put the bananas, 120g of the butter, 120g of the sugar, the salt, eggs, vanilla, flours and baking powder into a large bowl, then use electric mixer to beat the ingredients until smooth.

4. Stir in the walnuts, then turn the mixture into the prepared tin. 

5. Bake the loaf for 1 hour and 10 mins, or until risen, golden and springy to the touch. Test if the cake is done by inserting a skewer into the middle of the thickest part. If it comes out clean, the cake is ready. If there are traces of batter on the skewer, bake for 10 minutes longer, then check again. Cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then transfer the loaf to a cooling rack and leave to cool completely. 

6. While it cooks, make the icing. Put the remaining batter and sugar into a pan with 1 tbsp of water. Put it over a very gentle heat, then wait until the sugar has dissolved. Let the mixture simmer for 3 minutes, until it looks like a silky caramel. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.

7. Put the cream cheese into a bowl, then add the caramel. Beat or whisk the two together to make a smooth, coffee-coloured icing. 

8. Spread the icing over the cake, then scatter with a few more nuts to decorate if you like.
Recipe Source:
What to Cook and how to Cook it.
Jane Hornby

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