Caramelized Banana Bread

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My little brother recently came over for a visit and while searching in our freezer for a bucket of ice cream to dollop atop of his chocolate brownie he discovered my stash… My stash of over-ripe bananas that is! Jeezwhat did you think I meant?

He proceeded to make a disgusted face at the poor bananas, and then make fun of me for hoarding bananas like some sort of crazy banana woman. The sibling love is real… what can I say?

I think his look of disgust came from not from his discovery of the banana stash in the freezer, but from the fact that the bananas were very, very ripe… like I’m talking dark, dark brown … like way past just the spotty phase of banana ripeness. Oh who am I trying to impress? The bananas in my freezer are pretty much black – I’ll admit it looks super kinda weird, but black bananas really do make for the best banana bread. {don’t judge…}

“What do you even have those for!?” he asked me – with some serious disdain in his voice I might add. It’s okay – I’m used to the brotherly abuse. Besides, getting to see the look on his face when I explained to him that I would use those gross very ripe bananas to make a loaf of banana bread that I would then proceed to feed to him, was well worth enduring a little mocking from his end.

Needless to say he was completely outraged {and disgusted} at the very idea that I would dare to use “rotten” bananas to make him banana bread. Now because he is my baby brother, and has recently moved out from my parents nest {and is therefore now finding himself in the situation of learning how to feed himself properly} – I resisted the urge to punch him, and decided to instead take this as an opportunity to explain to him the way of the banana bread world.

Major big sister points earned for the week? I’m going to say yes 😀

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So I simply said to him – “little brother, when it comes to banana bread, the browner your bananas the better.” He again looked at me as though I was crazy, and immediately jumped to the conclusion that I was just being a rotten big sister and trying to pull a fast one over on him. After years of pranks between siblings, I have absolutely no idea where he would get such an idea :p

Anyways, after much convincing and a little visit to my best friend google, I finally proved to him that I was telling the truth about the brown banana situation. I then pointed out that if he should ever dare to waste an over-ripe banana in his house, that he should expect to be scolded because brown bananas are a commodity never, ever to be wasted. Into the freezer with the over-ripe bananas we go!

Even after explaining all of this to him he still seemed to think that my stash of over-ripe freezer bananas was a little out of control, {which I refuse to believe is actually possible.} Does anybody else have a freezer that is chock-full of over-ripe bananas? I mean if you have the extra space why not, right!? The possibilities with over-ripe bananas and baking are seemingly endless and as such I am of the opinion that you can never have too many kicking around the house. Agreed?

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Now moving on to the good stuff – this Caramelized Banana Bread… oh yeah.

Have you ever caramelized bananas before mixing up your banana bread batter before? Well get prepared to not want to make your banana bread in any other way, ever again because this banana bread is seriously addicting.

The caramelized bananas just add the most incredible flavour to your banana bread. It brings out this incredible nutty, rich, caramelly flavour that is just downright irresistible. Honestly I have no more words. All you need to know is it’s delicious, so make it happen.

Caramelized Banana Bread

Makes: 1 8 x 4 inch loaf

Things you need…
1/2 cup butter (divided)
1 cup brown sugar (divided)
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tbsp bourbon
3 very ripe bananas
1 tbsp buttermilk
1 3/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
coarse sugar for dusting (optional)

How to make… 
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees; butter & flour a loaf pan and set aside.

Peel your bananas and slice them into 1/2 inch slices; set aside.

In a skillet you are going to brown 2 tbsp of the butter. So over medium-high heat, melt your butter and swirl it around in the pan until it it becomes golden brown and fragrant. At this point, add in 1/4 cup of your brown sugar and the maple syrup to dissolve and then stir in your bananas.

This is where we caramelize those bad boys. First your bananas will begin to release all of their sweet and delectable juices so the mixture will appear quite runny. Gently move the bananas around the pan every so often to prevent them from burning for about 5-10 minutes until your bananas are a golden brown and the mixture is quite thick and gooey.

Your bananas will probably have broken down quite a bit, but there will still be some chunks so transfer the bananas to a bowl and give them a good mash up. Set aside for a minute to cool.

In a separate bowl cream the remaining butter with the remaining brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Add in egg,  vanilla, and bourbon; beat until fluffy. Add in the mashed banana in 3 stages, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of your bowl as you go.

Mix together the buttermilk and the baking soda. The acidity in the buttermilk will activate the baking soda and ensure that you get a nice raise on your banana bread. Pour the mixture into your bowl and beat to combine.

In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Quickly add in two additions to your wet ingredients and beat on low speed until just combined.

Spoon batter into prepared pan, being sure to scoop out every last bit of that banana bread batter goodness. Sprinkle with coarse sugar if desired and place in the center rack of your oven. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until the top is golden and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean – with just a few moist bits clinging to the skewer.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool to desired temperature before serving… { for me this is usually all of about 15 minutes because I simply can’t wait any longer to get my paws on it. }

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How we do…

Now you can serve up this baby just the way it is… or top a slice up with some butter and jam… or you can do it up my favourite way and eat your slice with a little bit a healthy helping of caramel sauce drizzled on top…. mhmmmm. 

But seriously no matter how you slice it {bad pun most definitely intended} this Caramelized Banana Bread is a winner – but be forewarned… after you have a slice, you may never be able to make another banana bread without first caramelizing those bananas. It’s okay though – you will just be that person who makes the most killer banana bread around town … are you ready for all that praise ?? Remember – “with great power, comes great responsibility”… Haha just kidding ! 😀 😛

Once again, thanks for stopping by lovelies and I hope you enjoy this one!

Happy banana bread baking {and eating}!

KP xoxo

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