Sometimes inspiration comes in the form of the desperate need not to waste food. Sure, I could throw those bananas in the freezer, but there they would languish, forgotten, until they become freezer burnt beyond all recognition.
As I was baking up treats for the Great American Bake Sale I looked around my kitchen and realized I had both bananas and mangoes on their way to a sad end.
Ever the Type-A overachiever, I decided to add two more baked goods to our bake sale roster; Banana Toffee Walnut Bread and Mango Cardamom Hazelnut Bread. Before I even started mixing ingredients, I grabbed the silicone “dessert bar” pan out of my cupboard, and knew that finally, finally I was going to make that dastardly pan work for me.
You see, silicone bake ware and me, we go way back, and our history has not always been positive. But, banking on some advice I’d been given to always place the silicone ware on a baking sheet, and to be incredibly careful not to overfill the wells, I decided I’d give this little disagreement we had going on one more shot at resolution.
I’m glad I did. I made sure to so very careful to fill the wells just less than half full. I placed the pan in the center of a jelly roll pan, in the center of the oven. Twenty-two minutes later, perfectly formed mini-loaves emerged. Perfect for packaging in little cellophane bags for the Share Our Strength bake sale, and perfect for your kiddos to nosh on the way to school without too much mess.
If you’d rather make a large loaf or muffins, feel free to do so. The recipe is adapted only in taste, not quantity, from the original loaf recipe. And I’m sure it would fill cupcake wells quite as easily as it did the dessert pan.
In a couple of days I’ll share the recipe for the Mango Cardamom Hazelnut Bread, along with some tips about mangoes. Don’t be skerred of them! They’re a lovely fruit to have around the house. And they smell divine!
Mini Banana Toffee Walnut Bread
adapted from Chiquita Bananas
For the Bread
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 large eggs
3 very ripe bananas (peels should have brown flecks), mashed
1 cup Heath toffee bits
1/2 cup diced walnuts (optional)
For the Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk or half and half
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Bread
Preheat the oven to 350°F
Spray the baking pan with cooking spray.
Combine the flour, baking soda, kosher salt and ground cinnamon together in a small bowl and whisk to combine and aerate.
Mash the bananas in a small bowl and set the aside.
In a large bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, combine sugar and shortening and beat on medium-high until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition until fully incorporated.
Add the bananas and mix again until well incorporated.
Add the flour mixture and mix on low or by hand until just combined. Add the toffee bits and walnuts and stir again, just until well distributed.
Using a large spoon from your silverware set, scoop 2 spoonfuls into each well of the baking pan. Bake for 22 minutes.
Allow to cool in the pan until the pan is handle-able, then press from the bottom of the pan to eject the loaves from the pan.
For the Glaze
In a small bowl, add the powdered sugar, vanilla extract, and milk or half and half. Whisk together until all sugar is completely dissolved.
Use a pastry brush to brush the glaze on top of the bread – Chiquita recommends doing this while the bread is still warm, but I did it when it was at room temperature and it worked out fine.