Friday, January 16, 2009

Banana Almond Nut Bread

Although there is not a lot to choose from on island, I learn to appreciate what is here. It's a funny island. Although banana trees are abundant in fields that have long been abandoned from the volcano, most of the bananas are imported from Dominica. We much prefer to walk through the jungles in search of abandoned fields of banana trees ready for harvest!

We arrive home to a bunch of ripe bananas that had been left on our counter from our last guests. They were ready to be used now or never. Banana bread came to mind. Now I needed the ingredients that would make my creation.

Ashok's has a nice white flour in bulk. At most markets I can find the rest of the staples, raisins and almonds, baking soa and baking powder. I found a small package of slivered almonds and my small food processor works perfectly to gind them into a meal that I use for many recipes. Banana bread and almonds go well together! Always keep your ground nuts in the refrigerator to keep them fresh! Once the ingredients are assembled, the baking begins.

I have learned through past experiences that my food processor can be my greatest ally when it comes to make great baked goods. And I am fortunate that our home came with an old, yet reliable one. Into the food processor:

1/2 cup of soft butter cut into cubes.
Add 1 cup or natural brown sugar (found everywhere on the island)
Process until creamy

Now add 2 eggs and process until combined.

Mash two extremely ripe bananas in a bowl. Add it to the food processor and process until mixed.
Add 1 tsp of fresh lemon juice and a few tablespoons of vanilla soy milk, mainly ecause I can't find pure vanilla extract on island, I substitute the vanilla soy milk in its place.

In a separate bowl combine:

1-3/4 cups of white flour
1/4 cup of almond meal
3 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Mix dry ingredients together and add about 1/4 cup at a time into the food processor. Process between each addition. The dough should be sticky. If need by you can always add a little more vanilla soy milk for consistency.

Now chop about 1/4 cup of raisins into small pieces (it makes for a nicer flavor) and add to the batter. Briefly process just to combine.

Butter and flour a small bread pan. Pour and scrape the batter into the bread pan as best you can (it can get stuck on the blades.)

Bake at 375 for 40 minutes; then turn the oven down to 350 for another 20 minutes. Insert a toothpick into the center to check to see if it comes out clean. If the center is still wet, decrease the oven temperature to 325 for another 10 minutes or so until the center is dry and clean.

Let cool for 5 minutes before turning out of pan. Let sit another 10 minutes and slice. Eat it warm!!!

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