banana bash–three dishes you’ll want to make and one you will not

Those who’ve been here before may have read mention of neighbors who bring over a box of food every Sunday. My understanding is that their church has a community food bank, from which they take any leftovers home to share with friends and family.

It’s much like a CSA as I never know what a Sunday will bring. Near-expired dairy products, produce, cookies, bread–it’s been fun to receive this kindness weekly. We offer our thanks each time they bring bounty (though their being from Nigeria and ourselves born and raised Minnesotan means communication can be spotty) and when appropriate, share what we make with their gifts. (They once brought over a 50-pound (!) box of chocolate chips–you’d better believe they got a batch or three of cookies out of me.)

they dared me to use them all

they dared me to use them all

I share this here not so much as a personal anecdote, but rather to set up this post’s reason for being: four bunches of spotted bananas. Not four spotted bananas, no. Four bunches.

What to do? A loaf of banana bread wouldn’t even make a dent. Freezing (peeled or no, both work) would take care of what I couldn’t use, but I was up for a challenge, so put it out there on deLizious facebook that I needed banana recipes stat. And my awesome readers came through. Here’s what I did to use up three of those four bunches. (One went home with friends, so was not my problem.):

My friend Jill wrote about a smoothie her family enjoys on summer nights. Cleverly named Monkey Smoothies blend frozen banana chunks, chocolate sauce, peanut butter, and milk. I cut a few bananas up and froze them overnight, then followed Jill’s instructions the next morning. The shakes were dreamy and tasted much like a peanut butter cup would were it frozen and drinkable. Definitely a winner.

frozen bananas, pbutter, choc sauce, milk--yum!

frozen bananas, pbutter, choc sauce, milk–how could this be anything but extraordinary?

monkey smoothie: drink a candy bar for breakfast

monkey smoothie: drink a candy bar for breakfast

Fellow WordPress blogger Perky Poppy Seed opened new worlds for me with her “recipe.” She suggested slitting unpeeled bananas “banana split-style” and placing on a baking sheet. Next, the slits were filled with small pieces of butter, ground cinnamon, and a splash of rum (or brandy or bourbon) and roasted at 400Β°F-ish until the skins turn black. Finally, the puree is spooned from the skins and used wherever mashed banana is called for. This was a “wow” for me–any banana bread I’ve ever made (and I’ve made a fair number as I try not to repeat b bread recipes) could be made again with this spiked puree, taking on a slightly different flavor. This I had to try.

not going to win any beauty contest, but they smell heavenly

not going to win beauty contests, but they smell heavenly

I filled and roasted 10 of the bananas, placing them on a foil-lined baking sheet to avoid having to wash the pan. The fragrance was heavenly and the final puree was as amazing as I’d imagined.

this stuff is pure baking gold

pure baking gold

I immediately set aside a cup for my next project, which was…

bananarama cake!

bananarama cake!

Beki, of Beki Cook’s Cakes, is the instructor responsible for my personal best in making a cake look pretty. She responded to my facebook query with a link to her blog for what looked to be an amazing recipe. I followed this recipe mostly to the letter, though used the roasted rum bananas and sprinkled a touch of vanilla salt between frosted layers.

The cake was phenomenal, though Beki will most likely wonder if I left my fine decorating skills in her classroom. Alas, the finished cake was a bit more goofy than it was beautiful. (I could use my 7-year-old daughter as an excuse for the imperfect frosting, but she was really only responsible for one smudge in the lettering. I’ll take full responsibility here.)

one crazy--but tasty--cake

one crazy–but tasty–cake

But even without bakery-quality visuals, this cake was crazy good. I was finally able to stop myself after three slices (they were fairly small, but still!) and am even now remembering how moist and tender that cake was. How it had an earthy sweetness that keeps you coming back for more. I managed to part with half of the cake to share with our neighbors, which means the cake has already dwindled significantly. When it’s gone? I’ll make another as I have a good cup or so of the spirited puree in my freezer.

oh, this is good

oh, this is good

The one banana recipe I did not use (besides the one that read “open trash bag, throw away”–horrors!) was offered by the keeper of the Kirschner Cookbook Library, which I’ve written up here before. Megan posts great finds from this library at a favorite blog and she pulled from her archives to share Banana Sardine Boats. These scary salads are worth a click for the kitsch factor alone.

Left in my freezer, then, is about a cup of spirited banana puree and maybe 1/2 cup frozen banana chunks. I was thrilled to meet my banana challenge, though also had plenty of help from facebook readers. While the four bunches of spotty bananas are gone, I’m certain I will run across more sooner rather than later and I’d bet you will, too. So I ask you to keep the recipes and ideas coming. What is your go-to banana recipe when you find yourself with too many brown bananas? Please share as it’s more fun to go bananas with fellow food folk πŸ™‚

37 thoughts on “banana bash–three dishes you’ll want to make and one you will not

  1. Wow, I can’t believe I’m the first to comment. πŸ™‚

    That those recipes sound delicious! What a great idea for a smoothy. And those “baked banana boats”? Can I call them that? I will have to get that a try.

    • you got it fresh off the presses, Tracy. Thanks for coming by–you’ve been all over the place tonight! Let’s call them Boozy Baked Banana Boats πŸ™‚

  2. You’ve been busy — glad to see you found such great uses for your bounty of bananas! The puree looks amazing and I bet it smelled so good. Next time I end up with some brown bananas, that’s first on my to-do list. The cake looks tasty too, love the decorating job. Made me smile!

    • Gotta love a Go Bananas cake–haha. Thanks! You would really like this cake, I think, as it’s so moist. And it could be made up much more elegantly, so could pass as a cake for grown-ups, too.

      I think I will only use mashed rum or bourbon or brandy roasted bananas from here on out. Why anything but?

      Was looking through archives recently and found a post based on a BA recipe, so of course though of you πŸ™‚ Do you remember this cake from a last-summer BA issue?

  3. Hi Liz…how you have time to do all that is beyond me, but wow!! I think I might have to go get some bananas soon, and ‘accidentally’ forget about them! The smoothie sounds perfect! And as you say, the ‘spirited’ banana puree sounds amazing…I have be careful though…too much of either and that trench won’t fit!! πŸ™‚ Great recipes! Have to share the puree recipe with a friend who makes banana bread often!

    • thanks for hopping over, Bonnie! I seem to get carried away with favorite projects and the time usually gets taken from my sleep which is not good. The monkey smoothie was easy enough to stop drinking as we made a batch, drank it, it was gone. The cake, though, that’s a different story. It just sits there calling to me siren-like.

      Glad if you have new recipes in your pocket. Would love to know more about what you like to cook and bake. (if you like to cook and bake?) Thrilled you’re here πŸ™‚

  4. How nice of your neighbors to “share the wealth” with you all. I’ve volunteered at a food pantry and, try as you might, not all of the food goes out the door. Better that someone use it than to throw it away. I’m a big fan of any banana baked good, though I must admit sardine banana boats may be a peel too far. That purΓ©e certainly is a great thing to make when you’ve old bananas but not the time or inclination to make a cake or bread. If this was a banana test, you would have passed in flying colors, Liz. Have a great weekend!

    • Thanks, John! How do you find time to write such lovely and insightful comments? I’ve seen your posts and you have a lot of fans you must reach out to. Am honored to have you here πŸ™‚

      The sardine boats cracked me up–wonder if folks will one day sneer at foods we enjoy now? (“peel too far”–good one!)

      We feel very fortunate to have such kind neighbors. Totally different cultures and it’s fun to see their young boys (dark hair, skin, and eyes) running around the yard with our blond blue-eyed girls. Food and family bring people together–hey, that sounds a lot like your blog πŸ˜‰

  5. Holy bananas! (Teeheehee – you knew that was coming, didn’t you?) This was such a fun post Liz. I think that cake looks fabulous, for the record. And with vanilla salt sprinkled between the layers? Genius. πŸ˜€

    Loving your readers’ ideas – that smoothie sounds like a pretty great way to start the day to me! And I’m totally drooling over the idea of making my pb choc chip banana loaf with boozy bananas. YUM.

    • you were absolutely top of my mind when I was drowning in bananas, amb, and so this post is dedicated to you πŸ˜‰ I like having a few more banana tools in my pocket as making banana bread (even if switching up recipes) time and again seemed limiting. Figured there had to be more and yes indeed there was. Banana pancakes, for instance? Well, kitten, always appreciate you being here. Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚

      • Aww, thank you! I am honoured to have such tasty treats dedicated to me πŸ™‚

        And PS: I LOVE banana pancakes. Ina Garten has a fabulous recipe for banana sour cream ones. Meow. πŸ˜‰

  6. All of these banana recipes look and sound great. It’s nice to have good neighbors. Hopefully, when I move next month I will have nice ones. For some reason, I haven’t had bananas for a while, I think this post has inspired me. Maybe I will even try the banana boats because I like sardines. Cute cake! The last banana recipe that I liked was frozen chocolate peanut butter banana pops, similar to this: I just eyeball everything though.

    • Thanks, Sam–the pops look like fun. Was hoping people would think “cute” when they saw the cake instead of “whaaaa?” πŸ˜‰ Good luck with the movie. Those can be ordeals for sure. And thanks for being here!

  7. Ok, I love bananas…and I actually really like sardines. But why would ANYONE combine the two?! That aside, the cake looks divine.
    I also recently came into possession of an abundance of overripe bananas. I made some chewy [healthy, of course] almond-banana-oat bars with chocolate. Recipe should be up sometime in the next week or two! (I’m a bit behind on editing posts now that my internships have started. Oops!)

    • odd to combine bananas and sardines, for sure. Looking forward to your nutty oat bars WITH CHOCOLATE πŸ™‚ Good luck with the internships. (more than one? wowza)

  8. I think that I’ll pass on the Banana Sardine Boats. :)I enjoyed the links to the blog and post about the Kirschner Cookbook Collection. What an interesting library!

    • thanks, Sheryl. Good call on those Sardine Boats. You would love the Kirschner collection. So much history. Here’s a post I wrote for their blog–

      I’m very passionate about that collection! Glad you stopped in–thanks πŸ™‚

  9. You know that it is a classical recipe, roasting & splitting your bananas like that! I also love the rum here πŸ˜‰ & like to serve them with home-made ice-cream yum!! I love all of your appetizing & tasty recipes here, Liz! A lovely & fun post! Have a great & fun weekend! xxxx

    • glad to have been clued into this classic! These were roasted too far (or maybe because I started with overripe) to be served as-is alongside ice cream, but I can see it working with a less ripe fruit. New spin on a banana split! You’re so kind to stop by and say such nice things πŸ™‚

  10. You are so full of brilliant ideas! I love bananas tossed in the pan with a bit of butter and some sugar. The roasted bananas reminded me of a banana creme brΓ»lΓ©e I had seen some where online, where the bananas were split and baked with the custard inside and a caramelized sugar on top. How that was done I can’t remember but you just reminded me of it!
    Also I just realized you have a Facebook page after I read you mention it. I’m in! πŸ™‚

    • Thank you πŸ™‚ Glad you enjoy food for fun. High praise coming from you as I always enjoy how you spin your phrases.

      The banana creme brulee sounds phenomenal. Feel free to post it on deLizious facebook if you make it. So glad you’re on board. Will return the favor when I find you!

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    • got carried away for sure. Thanks for stopping by πŸ™‚ I can post to fb from wordpress, but I think they’re separate from there on out. Always appreciate seeing you no matter where!

      Lots to know about facebook and am sure I’ll never understand it all. Hope you have fun with it! Feel free to post your treats on deLizious as well as Perky.

    • Thanks, Jayne. Looks like you’ve read both banana posts (thanks for that πŸ™‚ ), so now you have a few more beyond-banana-bread recipes. DinnerofHerbs (above commenter) has a great banana-chocolate-almond-oat bar recipe I’d also highly recommend.

  12. Pingback: Funny Names in the News: A Very Special Birthday Edition! | The Blog of Funny Names


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