this bread is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s.

i don’t pretend to be a professional chef.  i cook like a poor man, and i pride myself on that.  i don’t use fancy ingredients, extensive chemical reactions, or obscure tools.  poor man cooking is based almost entirely off of improvisation and a deep knowledge of the ingredients i choose to use.

suffice to say, i am truly atrocious at baking.

i have the soul of a linguist, not a chemist.  i couldn’t follow instructions when cooking if my life depended on it.  and honestly, when cooking most things, that isn’t that much of an impediment.  sometimes things end up a little salty.  sometimes they end up too spicy.  sometimes the texture is a little bit crispier than i meant it to be.  it happens to the best of us.

baking, however, requires extreme attention to detail with irreparable consequence for negligence.  if you are making a pork roast and forget to add salt, your roast will be a little bit bland.  if you are making cookies and forget to add baking soda, you will end up with strange, wafer-thin, super crunchy single serving piles of opaque candy glass.

in other words, when cooking, the texture and flavor of what you cook are informed by the ingredients you choose to include and omit.  in baking, the texture and flavor of what you bake are informed by the reactions that take place while you assemble the ingredients.

in other words, i respect my girlfriend immensely.  she can whip up some absolutely amazing baked goods with what seems like nothing more than a flick of the wrist.  for a few months, she has been suffering from baking withdrawal (what with japan having no ovens big enough to fit pies, large cakes, or reasonably sized cookies en masse).  and so, when my piece of crap 1980s recycle shop toaster bit the dust, i decided to get a toaster oven that actually worked.

when i took it out of the box, it dawned on me that it was without a doubt bigger, shinier, more energy efficient, and more powerful than its predecessor.  as i set it up, it spoke to me.  it said, “poor man, use me to make baked meatballs chock-full of ham and garlic.  please.”

unbeknownst to me, it also spoke to my girlfriend.  and somehow it could feel the longing in her heart resulting from two months of oven deprivation.  it told her something entirely different.  apparently it said something along the lines of, “zoe, start making banana bread and don’t stop until the sight of bananas makes you physically ill.”

and so she did.  and it was amazing.

poor lady’s coffee bean banana bread

IMG_1018

you’ll need:

  • 1/2 to 1 cup butter (this is lenient.  i like a whole lot of butter.)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 to 4 large overripe bananas (more bananas=more banana taste)
  • 1 1/2 cup cake flour
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t vanilla
  • 1 bag (any size; you can never have too much chocolate) chocolate covered coffee beans
  1. preheat your oven to 177 celsius (350 fahrenheit).  if you have a toaster oven, you will probably want to wait to do this until later.
  2. peel the bananas.  place them in a bowl. start mashing.  mash ’em good.
  3. in a large bowl, mix butter, sugar, vanilla, and eggs.  beat in the bananas.  i like to hand-mix everything but you can use an electric mixer if you like, just make sure to leave the bananas a little lumpy so the bread will have little pockets of surprise flavor.
  4. in a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt.
  5. add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until thoroughly blended.
  6. fold in chocolate covered coffee beans.
  7. grease  3 mini loaf pans or line them with parchment paper.  fill the pans each about halfway.
  8. bake about 30 min in a toaster oven, longer in a conventional oven.  the toothpick test is a good one for this.
  9. when finished baking, take the bread out of the oven and allow it to cool completely before removing it from the pans.  or, if you’re like me, eat it immediately.  but not all of it, because this bread is even better chilled.

17 thoughts on “this bread is bananas, b-a-n-a-n-a-s.

  1. So this is caffeinated banana bread. Welp. Looks like I know what I’m doing next time a few scraggly bananas manage to survive my breakfasting long enough to get mushygross.

    Also, if the precision in baking mystifies you, try yeasted baking- waaaay more forgiving. I’m a committed baker. And bread baking speaks to this linguist in a way chemical leaveners never could.

    • oooo. perhaps i will try my hand at some rosemary bread, i have a whole boatload of that lingering around the house.

      and yes, caffeinated banana bread is amazing as it sounds. plus the coffee beans keep some of the crunch as well. it was, far and away, some of the best and most original banana bread i had ever had. i highly recommend giving it a go.

  2. Right! I wondered what the taste/texture effect would be of the coffee beans … no fancy ingredients, huh? :-) Well, I will try… TRY to find such exotica here in Cape Town … it sounds like such a great combination!

    • dude, i know you can do it! they have got to have chocolate covered coffee beans in cape town. they are more common than you might think.

      besides, if you find them it will be totally worth it. my girlfriend also makes an amazing peanut butter banana bread. if think that you might be a little easier to make, i’ll ask her to get that recipe together for me and i’ll throw it your way.

      good luck and happy cooking, nina!

  3. PS: oh, and the photos are great – perfect match with those lovely white-grey rough edged plates – I love crockery that’s handmade and differently shaped from the usual perfectly shaped matching factory-ware that’s so available…

    • thanks, those plates were my one of my presents this year for kappabashi christmas. my friends are going to be happy when i tell them you think they have good taste in crockery. ;)

  4. Wow, coffee banana bread! Sounds moreish! I used to bake often at home. But my husband begged me not to since he couldn’t stop pigging out on them and put on weight as the result. It was a shame because the smell of baking cake was so heavenly and made home even more homely… (^-^)

    • you just have to find those magical baking recipes that are actually good for you. i’ve yet to find any, but i’ll let you know when i do. ;)

      yeah, we’ve been slicing the banana bread and using it as a snack with a nice hot pot of coffee everyday when i get home from work. it is quite the comfort food.

      have you ever thought about adjusting your baking to be more dinner and less dessert themed? chicken pot pie, focaccia, or cheese biscuits maybe?

      • That’s a good idea! Even though I am more like a dessert person. I think Paul (my husband) is really greedy and can’t stop with just one slice. So he prefers to eat it out in cafe or restaurant…

    • thanks! they add that extra little kick you need sometimes in the morning. plus, the texture is to die for. soft banana bread and crunch coffee beans? magical combo.

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