cardamom chocolate chip banana loaf

I heart Donna Hay.  She is to me what … Martha & Nigella are to other people … I think she’s awesome (I also think her donna hay ipad app is pretty spectacular as well).

I heart that she makes things that I want to make, are easy to make, and that they actually turn out!  Plus … her food styling rocks my world.  Seriously … I’ve found myself thinking … how would Donna make this look?  It’s become a slight obsession.

And I’m totally cool with that.

Who wouldn’t want to make something that looks good?

And when you look at her recipes and realize … oh yeah – I can totally do that! 

Like this one.  It’s so simple … but so delicious.

I wouldn’t call this a banana loaf.  It’s more of a spice loaf with bananas on top … but it’s still delightful.  For realz.  This might become a new little gem in your recipe folder.  

Donna Hay’s original recipe was banana cinnamon breads.  I decided to change things up.  I flipped through my flavour bible and decided that pairing cardamom, chocolate chips and bananas would work well.

I was right (well … the flavour bible was right).

This is a real holiday recipe – spicy and sweet (the bananas and the chocolate chips) … plus it smells absolutely amazing while baking. 

And it’s good two days later … even when you’ve kept it in the fridge (I’m not a fan of keeping baked goods in the fridge … it sucks all the moisture out). 

Oh yeah … it’s super adorable – so again … another awesome hostess gift!  Or perfect for Christmas morning … or a couple of days after Christmas when you just want something good to eat without all the fuss.  This recipe will answer that need.

I decided to double the batch … I was seeing lots of friends and wanted to bring everyone a little lovin’ from my oven.  Doubling meant that I made 1 dozen mini loaves and 1 dozen extra large muffins.  Both turned out great – and their size meant that I was able to bake them in under 30 minutes.  AWESOME!

cardamom, chocolate chip & banana loaves / muffins

ingredients:

5 oz butter, room temperature

1/2 c. sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 c. almond meal (ground almonds … or hazelnut meal would work too)

1/3 c. buttermilk

1/2 tsp ground cardamom (or cinnamon if following the original recipe)

1/2 c. chocolate chips

2 bananas, sliced

melted butter for brushing

brown sugar, for sprinkling

Preheat your oven to 350 F.  Spray your mini loaf pans, or muffin pans with non stick spray.  Set aside.

In the bowl of your stand-mixer, beat together the butter and sugar until creamy and fluffy – about 5 minutes.  Add the egg  – beating well. 

Turn off the mixer.  Add the flour, baking powder, almond meal, buttermilk, and cardamom and fold in until smooth.  Toss in the chocolate chips and stir until they are evenly distributed.Grab your ice cream scooper and scoop the batter into your pans – I used 2 scoops in both the loaf pan and the muffin pan molds. 

Grab your bananas and slice them.  As you can tell – slice them however you want … I think thicker is better – since they will be caramelizing as the batter bakes … and you want them to keep their shape.

Gently brush the melted butter on top of the banana slices, and then generously sprinkle brown sugar on top of the melted butter.

Done!

Bake for 25 minutes – they will be golden and smell ridiculously delightful (you might want to bake them a little longer … resist the urge – you don’t want them to dry out … don’t forget – since there is no banana in the batter, it’s not overly moist to begin with).

Remove from the pan mold immediately.  You don’t want them to keep baking.  Allow to cool on a wire rack … these are great warm from the oven … but equally delicious at room temperature.

I think I’m going to make another batch of these this week … only perhaps I’ll make them into mini-muffins and bring them into the office … or just save them for myself :0)

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the baking elf

I’ve been asked a few times from friends … and friends of friends … if I do any holiday baking … for others (as in … is my baking available for purchase).

The answer is … I SURE DO!

My goal for the month of December is to bake every night.  If you’d like to help me achieve that goal … send me a little ol’ email (or if we are friends and you have my personal cell number – send me a text).  I’d be more than happy to help bring you a little holiday cheer.

Below you’ll find a few lists of what’s on offer.  But if there is something else that caught your fancy while checking out my blog … let me know.  I’d be more than happy, and open, to discuss.  Just try and keep it pretty seasonal :0)

You can reach me at lynnefrappier@gmail.com

Easy eh?  And think of all the time you’ll save by having me do all your baking for you!  You can think of me as your little kitchen elf :0)

*Back by very popular demand … SCONES!  As always, I am more than happy to provide baked scones or unbaked ones (baking instructions provided); allowing you the option to bake “home-made” scones on Christmas morning :0)

coconut-almond sticky buns

I am so excited about this recipe … I honestly did a happy dance the first time I made it.  And then again the second … third … fourth and fifth times I made them.

There’s lots of dancing going on in my little apartment :0)

You might think it’s silly of me to be so excited about sticky bunsBut these aren’t just any sticky buns.  These are THE BEST sticky buns.

No lies.

Why you might ask???

1.  Super easy to make.  I have gotten the “prep” time down to 7 minutes.  Anyone can whip these up first thing in the morning or in a cinch when company unexpectedly arrive.  Or on Christmas morning …

2.  They smell ridiculously delicious while they are baking.  It starts with the smell of toasted coconut & almonds.  And then becomes a sugary sweet spicy doughy loveliness … wanna sell your house?  Bake these!

3.  They taste great.  Who doesn’t love coconut & almond?  Or chocolate & cherry?  Or cranberry & white chocolate?  Yeah … all of those are options … all you need is a little imagination and the perfect sticky bun can be all yours.

4.  You too can have a Martha moment!  I know … I usually shy away from a Martha reference … however in this case … I totally embraced the Martha in me … baking the sticky buns and then placing them in a slightly larger holiday tin.  Holy Martha! 

5.  Holiday hostess gift … check!  Who needs to gift a bottle of wine when you can gift a tin of sticky buns????  I think you want to join in the dancing, lovely smelling, martha madness that these sticky buns can bring to ones life. 

*bakers note: if you don’t have a food processor, this can be done with a handheld mixer or a whisk.  don’t worry about some of the cottage cheese curds – they bake out :0)

*the recipe below is for 1 pan for sticky buns … but I have actually divided the dough in half and made 2 different types at once … just use smaller pans.

coconut – almond sticky buns

ingredients:

1 c. shredded coconut

1/2 c. slivered almonds (or chopped almonds)

* other flavour options: dried cherries & dark chocolate chips, dried cranberries & white chocolate

dough:

3/4 c. cottage cheese (4% is great – but 2% works as well)

1/3 c. buttermilk

1/4 c. sugar

2 oz (4 tbsp) butter, melted

1 tsp vanilla

2 c. flour, extra for rolling

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp b. soda

filling:

1 1/2 tbsp butter, melted

2/3 c. brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1/4 tsp ginger

* you can also swap the nutmeg for cardamon, or use chinese five-spice … just about any spice that catches your fancy

Preheat your oven to 350 F.  Spread the coconut and almonds on cookie sheets, and bake until toasted – about 7 minutes.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

Increase the temperature to your oven to 375 F or 400 F (depending on your oven).  Spray the sides and bottom of a 9 – 10 inch springform pan with non-stick spray.  Set aside.

 In the bowl of your food processor combine the cottage cheese, melted butter, buttermilk, sugar and vanilla.  Pulse until smooth – about 15 seconds.

Add the flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda and pulse until the dough starts to clump together.  It’s pretty sticky.

Done. Scrape the dough out and place it on a very well floured surface.  Knead the dough – about 5 times, you’ll notice how nicely it comes together (and super quickly) … Grab your rolling-pin and roll the dough into a large rectangle. 

Time to use your pastry brush and that second batch of melted butter.

Brush the dough with the melted butter, leaving a 1/2-inch border unbuttered around the edges. 

In a small bowl, mix together the brown sugar, ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg (or your choice spices): sprinkle the mixture evenly over the buttered surface.  Pat it gently, and then sprinkle the toasted coconut and almond on top.Once filled, roll up the dough.  Start at the long edge, and roll jelly-style.  With a sharp knife, cut the rolled dough into 12 equal pieces (I trim the slight excess dough at each end)Grab your springform pan and gently arrange each piece, cut side up.  Don’t worry if there are small gaps between each sticky bun – you want them to touch slightly. 

Ok … if you’re like me, you might think … both sides are cut sides!  Don’t worry, simply pinch one end and put the pinched end down.  You might notice that some of the almond/coconut mixture falls out … that’s ok, gather it up and then sprinkle the top of the sticky buns prior to baking. Bake until golden and firm to the touch, about 25 – 28 minutes (but there will still have that slightly raw middle … yum).

Allow to cool in the pan on a wire rack – about 5 to 10 minutes.  Remove the springform ring, and then transfer the sticky buns – all in one piece – to either a serving plate … or pull a martha and set in a parchment paper lined tin.  

Make a glaze (powdered sugar, lemon juice and a little milk – whisked together) and drizzle it over the buns.  That’ll add that extra hit of sticky to this buns.

Sigh.  I can’t wait to get home and dance my way through another batch :0)