Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bananas, Toffee and Rum!

Toffee, bananas and rum... could it get any better? That's what was going through my mind as I was preparing the Toffee-Banana Rum Bread I made today for the Weekly Wednesday Treat Day.

Along with your usual suspects found in banana bread, I did swap out some of the all-purpose flour with whole-wheat pastry to bump up the stats a tad. To get the infusion of rum, we mixed in a couple tablespoons worth into the wet ingredients - if you'd rather not use rum or don't want to buy any for just two tablespoons (those "nips" you can find would work well here!), you could certainly use rum extract, but lower the dose to 2 teaspoons.

To get the best sweet bang for your buck, let your bananas go as dark as you can before smashing them up to use in this recipe. I'll often buy extra and just set them aside to ripen and then freeze them to use at a later date. If you do this too, once you have thawed them, make sure you do not toss out the sticky juices that come out of the banana. Mash them right back in as you'd be throwing away all the good stuff you worked to get by ripening them.

I always remember Mom throwing nuts into banana bread, but I'd usually end up eating around as I was so darn picky growing up. However, nowadays I do like to add them as I realize how much they add to the bread, especially when toasted first! Toffee bits are used twice here - they first come into play as a generous hidden layer inside, while the rest are added on top before sliding the banana bread into the oven. Those coarse nuggets on top melt and bubble as the heat from the oven cooks the bread, creating a sweet, caramel-esque layer on top.

It seems that bananas can get lost when strong flavors are included in breads like this, but the combination of spicy rum and that buttery toffee seemed to accentuate the banana and allowed it to be the star, while they had their own little spotlight lingering through each bite. Moist, without being gooey or gummy in the center, this twist on banana bread was a fantastic change of pace to your ordinary loaf. Now we'll have to see just how many pieces actually make it out the door and to the office in the morning!

I'm trying to play catch up from the meals I didn't get a chance to post about a couple weeks ago... and we had one of our favorite types... breakfast-for-dinner! Which happened to be a perfect choice that night as I had a few other things to take care.

I didn't even have to dirty any bowls to make it, but I did bring out our blender to create the batter for this Dutch Baby Pancake!

A simple combination of eggs, milk, flour, sugar and a splash of vanilla were added to the jar and blitzed to smooth out the batter and add some air to the eggs. Instead of cooking this on the stove, the batter was poured into a skillet of warmed butter and set in the oven to bake. Turn on the light so you can see the magic happen, because as the heat hits the skillet, the batter explodes up the sides of the pan, making for quite the experience to watch! Jeff looked and out flooded a million questions - "What the heck happened? Is it suppose to do that? Isn't it going to spill out all over the floor of the oven? Am I going to have to clean it?". So, after I assured him everything was good and he wasn't going to be stuck cleaning, he pulled up a chair, with Gus in his lap, and watched the pancake grow!

Sadly though, seconds after we removed it from the oven, it deflated rather quickly and were not able to get the effect on camera - it actually looked a little sad and wimpy out of the skillet too! See?

To brighten up the pancakes, we squirted over fresh lemon juice and showered the top with granulated sugar for a little crunch - also top it off with just a few thin pats of butter before serving for a little richness. This pancake is not "weightless and fluffy" like a buttermilk pancake, but a bit more dense, hearty and egg-y. However, that fit it quite nice with having it as a dinner treat! You could probably get 4 servings out of this, but Jeff and I ate through two and then proceeded to dip into the third before we knew it... such an easy and tasty dish!


  1. What a great idea to add rum to banana bread!

    I've had that pancake with jam in the middle, topped with whipped cream. Big yum!


  2. Sounds like a tricked out banana bread! I don't have rum, but now I want to run out and buy some to make banana bread.

    I've made those pancakes before and I love the custardy texture it has.

  3. Quinn - it really added a nice punch!

    Christina - Tricked out indeed!

  4. We always had dutch babies growing up and we had ours with butter and powdered sugar. So good.

  5. Thanks for the bread recipe- tried it this weekend (sans whole-wheat pastry flour) and really enjoyed it! I thought it might be too sticky-sweet, but it wasn't- nice combo of flavors.

  6. Unguren - So good indeed!

    Stephanie - Glad you were able to give it a try!