September 2016 Recipe Redux Challenge:
First Cooking Recollections
Stir up some of your earliest culinary recollections. Did you stand at your grandmother’s elbow to learn to cook? Or did you learn by stumbling through a cookbook by yourself? Share a healthy recipe and the accompanying story about one of your first cooking memories.
Blueberry Muffin? Chocolate Chip and Hazelnut Muffin? Ohh..Banana Muffin? My eyes scanned the glass display carefully over the fresh goodies. The large muffins were beautifully encased in brown liners, just barely peeking above the top to reveal its golden brown top. I had an important decision to make.
The cashier was waiting for me ever so patiently. I hesitantly walked up and pointed at the banana walnut muffin. My weakness for banana cake had given in, even over my love for chocolate. Something about the hearty, warm, cinnamon breakfast muffin always made me feel content and satisfied. I chose a cosy corner at the bar table. The smooth wood tables complimented well with the comfy black stools. The best part was the large glass window in front of me where I could observe the bypasses outside. I picked up my banana muffin that had just came out warm from the oven and took a large bite, almost forgetting to peel off the wrapper. Mmmm. Gooey, sweet, warm… with the crunch from the walnuts -it was heaven. I knew I had made the right choice.There is always something ever so comforting about warm banana muffins or a slice of banana bread fresh out of the oven. The great thing about baking with bananas is just how versatile and simple it really can be. One of my earliest recollections of baking successes was a “Nutella Swirled Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Banana Bread”.
I remember sitting down one evening on a weekday with my cousin (who was staying over) talking about food — and you know how that turns out? The more you talk about it, the more you want it.
We all went to the kitchen on a scavenger hunt for some treats. One cupboard after the other, there was nothing…absolutely nothing. Our fridge and pantry was surprisingly bare – no cookies, chocolate. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a bunch of very very ripe bananas. An idea popped in my mind as I turned to the rest of the gang…how about making something with the bananas?
The handle on the kitchen clock showed that it was already half past 8 in the evening. This really needed to be quick.
With 4 sets of hands, the work was much faster.
“Don’t forget the cinnamon” one of us called out. It was crazy – Chopping, mashing, measuring, mixing was all going on simultaneously in the most chaotic fashion.
As we were just ready to pour the banana cake batter into the loaf tin, suddenly my sister said, “I really want chocolate? mm.. What about swirling in nutella?”
No one objected. Naturally. Next thing I knew a giant ladleful of nutella was going straight into the batter. Ooo..I was excited… it looked pretty amazing.
As I was just about to transfer the loaf pan into the oven, my cousin suddenly spoke up, “Wouldn’t adding in Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups taste great too?”
Chocolate and Peanut Butter in banana bread? Now that was a combination I had never heard of but that sounded even better.
Again no arguments. No resistance. No persuasion needed. We broke open the precious package of Reese’s chocolates we had brought from the States back home. It was difficult to find in Hong Kong. A rare treasure, but this was worth it. A bit more chopping and within seconds a cupful of that crushed peanut buttery goodness was added into the batter.
1 hour ticked by. 10pm. It was done. All that gooey, melty chocolate and peanut buttery goodness with that moist, pillowy banana bread – and I was speechless. Frankly, we were all speechless. The addition of peanut butter and chocolate was incredible. As amateur bakers, we felt proud.
I do miss the creative, care-free, crazy side of our younger selves. There was no worrying about messing up on recipes. My younger self was simply a passionate, young scientist who wanted to try everything. I was led by curiosity, fearlessness and confidence.
That memory became the night I realized how much potential I had in the kitchen. It also became the night I realized my love for banana bread. Since then I’ve whipped a plenty of pretty great-tasting banana breads, cakes, yet every time I cant help but let my mind wander back to this very moment – 4 crazy, hungry girls sitting around the dining table in their school uniforms; chocolate smeared all over our faces and hands; giggling and devouring their own homemade banana bread.
It was the possibly the best reese’s peanut butter cup – nutella swirled banana bread I had ever had.
And I have to say this beauty below is a runner up for it. It is our healthier, developed, more sophisticated version – with the wonderful flavor I still long to taste. Probably a mere reflection of the maturity, knowledge and experience we have gained since those rather wild, but fond times.
Best of all you don’t have to be a professional to make this – its all thrown in 1 blender. Perfect for those nights when you want something sweet, and all you see is some ripe bananas on the counter – now you will know what to do with them.
Adapted from Roastedroot
Ingredients – 1 loaf pan
- 3 bananas
- 3 tbsp tapioca flour
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3 tbsp honey/maple syrup
- Option 1: 1/2 cup dairy-free/paleo dark chocolate chips, 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- Option 2: 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
How to Make:
- Preheat oven to 375F. Grease an 8″ x 5″ loaf pan.
- In a blender, add in the peeled bananas. Blend till you get a smooth banana puree.
- Next add in the salt, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, coconut flour, honey, eggs, tapioca flour, vanilla and blend till well combined.
- For Option 1: Mix in chocolate chips and walnuts. Pour into the loaf pan.
- For option 2: Add in the coconut flakes and mix well. Scoop out half the batter and set aside. Add in the cocoa powder to the remaining half of the batter. In a prepared loaf pan, spoon in some of the plain batter, then cocoa batter – alternating till all the batter is gone. Use a knife to swirl.
- Bake for 45 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave in the oven for 5-10 minutes. (The toothpick should come out clean)
- Allow the bread to cool at room temperature for 30 minutes. Turn out from the loaf pan and slice to serve.
Zoe & Mia
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