Friday, April 5, 2013

Chai & Rum Banana Bread . . .

It's been quite a while since I've whipped up a batch of banana bread and shared it here, so today's treat is long overdue. This quick-bread has just a little bit of bite, thanks to a few of the typical chai tea spices--cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and allspice (no pepper or cloves here, but feel free to add in a pinch or two if that's your thing)--along with a modest splash of dark rum. Why the rum? Well . . . let's just say that bananas and rum are really good pals and leave it at that. 

Simple to throw together, this bakes up in about an hour, and smells fantastic doing so. Makes a  velvety-textured breakfast bread or snack. In fact, Nathan, my sixteen-year old, informed me a few minutes ago that this stuff's great slathered with peanut butter (who knew?). So, save those brown bananas! Yes, they are good for something after all. 

About this recipe . . . 

Adapted from a recipe in the May 2012 issue of Cooking Light magazine, you can certainly glaze this bread if that's the way you're leaning. Picture a thin rum-spiked icing, drizzling down the sides of this golden loaf. Yum, right? Of course. But, honestly, the brown sugar in the batter, not to mention the over-ripe bananas themselves, make this just sweet enough without pushing it into dessert territory. Sometimes, that's all the sweetness a girl craves, and such was the occasion. 

I made a few minor alterations to the original formula, including reducing the amount of sugar by about 25 percent, and using all brown sugar versus a combo of white and brown. I also added in a tablespoon of dark rum, just to jazz things up, fiddled with the spice amounts a bit, increased the salt by a mere smidgen, and used vanilla-bean paste instead of vanilla extract. And, as always, I reworded the recipe to reflect exactly what I did.

Chai & Rum Banana Bread

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a standard size (9" x 5") loaf pan. 

1 and 1/2 cups soft, very ripe banana (about 3 medium-sized bananas), mashed
1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt (I used Greek style, Chobani brand.)
5 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed (I used light brown sugar.)
2 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (I use unbleached.)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt (I used coarse kosher salt.)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla-bean paste (I used paste.)
1 tablespoon good-quality dark rum

In a medium mixing bowl, lightly whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices. Set aside.

In the large bowl of your mixer, using the paddle attachment on medium-low speed (or you can easily do this recipe all by hand, if you prefer), mix the banana, yogurt, melted butter, eggs, brown sugar, vanilla, and rum until very well combined, for a minute or two. 

Add the dry ingredients all at once to those in the mixer bowl and mix on the lowest speed just until combined, definitely less than one minute (over-mixing will make the bread tough). The batter will look a little lumpy. 

Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smooth the top if needed, and bake for 50 minutes; check the loaf by inserting a toothpick into the center. It should come out mostly clean. If it doesn't, bake for another five to ten minutes and check again. The top should be dark golden brown when it's ready. If it looks like its browning too fast, lightly cover the top with a sheet of foil.

Let the finished loaf cool in its pan, on a rack, for about five minutes before removing it from the pan. Let it finish cooling on a rack. Store well covered. 

(If you'd like to comment on this post, or to read any existing comments, please click on the purple COMMENTS below.)


~~louise~~ said...

Hi Jane!

Hope all is well by you. Things have been crazy around here but beginning to finally calm down:)

I love this blend of flavors and as usual, you have made this recipe your own I for one LOVE it!!!

Thank you so much for sharing...tell your son the peanut butter idea sounds awesome!

I'm off to Idaho for a few months but when I return, I will be sure to drop by to see what cookin! Louise

grace said...

this looks so soft and moist, and i'm sure the aroma is simply incredible. no black pepper? i usually see that in chai blends, but i suppose it's not for everyone. :)

Lynn said...

I can't believe how much I love your blog. I am a baker and crafter so I really appreciate that you take great photos and artistically present your baked goods. I will continue to aim towards having a blog like yours. I can't wait to make your banana bread. I've altered my mom's banana bread recipe to include chocolate chips and it is always receives compliments.

Jane said...

Hi Louise, Thanks so much for visiting! So great to hear from you. Do I really need to tell you how darn much I miss your blog? Heaven knows I'm not the only one, lady!
Sounds like you're doing well, in any case!
Take care,
Jane :)

Dear Grace-- You know, that's a good suggestion and next time I just might try it in this bread. Live dangerously!
Jane :)

Hello there Lynn,
Those are the nicest possible things you could say! Thank you so, so much. Very sweet of you. And as for your mom's banana bread, I know what you mean. Isn't it great how easy it is to customize quick-bread recipes like this? I love chocolate chips in banana bread. Can't go wrong with that variation. Keep on baking!

Debra Eliotseats said...

I am always on the look out for the next big thing in banana bread. This might be it! Thank you for sharing!

Betty said...

Lucky me, I have a bowlful of nicely speckled bananas just wanting some attention. This sounds so good, especially with the chai flavors! :)

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar said...

This looks so tasty!! Love the flavour combo!

kitchen flavours said...

Hi Jane,
Your banana bread looks good! I would reduce the sugar too, a habit of mine with almost every recipe I've tried!
chanlierr 515

cindy groshko said...

Since rum is never in our home can I substitute KAHLUA instead? Kahlua and banana's sounds pretty yummy to me. What do you think?

Jeannie Tay said...

Hi Jane, I just found your blog and have seen so many recipes that I would love to try! Including this banana bread which looks so fabulous!

Bunny said...

Now that's a banana bread loaded for bear! It looks wonderful and with all those warm wonderful spices plus the rum I can just imagine how good it is!

Baking It To The Top! said...

wow you are very talented and this bread looks amazing mmmm! I really admire and think your blog is beautiful- please join and follow my blog- I would appreciate your opinions!

Bakin' in Bermuda said...

Well, Jane.... this recipe came out nicely for me so I am happy! On the other hand, I am still trying to figure out the Honey Oat Sandwich Bread conundrum... determined!

Twinkle said...

Nice post. It is really interesting. Thanks for sharing the post!
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