Tag Archives: brown sugar

Banana Nut Bread

Banana Nut Bread

Okay, I’ll admit it.  I’m a bit of a snob when it comes to Banana Bread.  I hate the “wet”, “goobery” Banana breads, or those that are too dry or have no NUTS.  Seriously, why would you even eat Banana Bread without any nuts?  Well unless you’re allergic to nuts like my husband Grantley.  I usually make one loaf with nuts and one without.  It makes me sad to look at the Banana bread without nuts but its better than having my husband gasping for breath while I look for the Epi Pen to inject him with!  So, I came up with my own version.  The texture is just right, the topping just crunchy enough to make you want to keep eating it.  It’s truly delicious if I say so myself.  The key is to get the acid from the overripe Bananas balanced with the baking soda and then also adding baking powder for additional leavening.

Ingredients at a glance!

Mix the Bananas with baking soda, this will balance out the pH and make a much better bread, trust me!

Add all the ingredients except for flour and baking powder.  Slowly add in flour and baking powder mixture until well incorporated.

Hand stir in the pecans.

Divide batter into two loaf pans or you can use one pan, it will just take a bit longer to cook all the way through.  I prefer two pans since I can choose to add the nuts to one pan and leave it off the other one (provided I remembered not to add Pecans to the entire batter earlier!).  Sprinkle some brown sugar and pecans over the top of the batter before popping it into the oven.

Take out and cool in pan for about 5 minutes before taking out of the loaf pans and setting the bread on a cooling rack.  Freezes really well.

Here’s the recipe:

Banana Nut Bread

3 overripe Bananas

1 tsp baking Soda

1 Cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup buttermilk

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter at room temperature

2 eggs

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 cup nuts (I prefer Pecans)

Some brown sugar and additional Pecans for sprinkling on the top

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Add baking powder to flour, mix together and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl mix the Bananas with the baking soda.  Add all other ingredients except nuts and flour/baking powder mixture.  Mix with an electric mixer at medium speed until well blended.  Slowly add in flour until mixed.  Hand stir in pecans and pour into one loaf pan sprayed with cooking spray or divide batter into two loaf pans evenly.  Sprinkle top with brown sugar and pecans.  If using one pan, bake for 60 minutes.  If using 2 pans, bake for 45-50 minutes depending on oven or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.  Cool in pan for 5 minutes before taking out and cooling on a cooling rack.

Pati Shapta Pitha (Bengali Style Crepes)

Pati Shapta Pitha (Bengali Style Crepes)

Every year during the months of January through March the first crops of rice are harvested and readied in Bangladesh.  The first fresh rice harvest is used in making many different kinds of desserts called “Pitha”.  The tastes are delightful and the season is especially nice and cool.  I loved this time of year growing up, not only because the weather was great but because we got to eat all kinds of Pithas that we never got to enjoy at any other time of year.   Even though we have access to rice flour all year long, it’s especially nostalgic for me to make Pithas in the early part of the year, just because it reminds me of my childhood when things were simple, uncomplicated and filled with simple joys of being with family and friends.

This particular Pitha is called “Pati Shapta” which loosely translated means to make flat and roll.   Which is exactly what this is;  a Bengali crepe!

Pitha (Crepe part):

6 cups All Purpose flour

2 cups Rice Flour

½ cup sugar

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

2 eggs

10 cups water

Sift together all- purpose flour, rice flour, salt and baking powder together.  Add sugar to the mixture and mix well.  Add beaten eggs then slowly add the water whisking to prevent any lumps.  The mixture should be a rather thin batter.


8 tablespoons of butter (1 stick)

2 Large Cinnamon sticks

5-6 Cardamom pods, crushed

1 ½ cup Sooji (Farina)

1 Cup Desiccated Coconut (just look for smaller flakes instead of long stringy flakes)

¾ cup brown sugar (or date palm sugar otherwise known as Jaggery, if you have that handy)

1 quart half and half

Let’s start with the filling.  In a heavy bottom 5-6 quart dutch oven heat butter until melted.  Add Cardamom pods and cinnamon sticks and stir fry until fragrant.  Add the Shooji (farina) and cook over medium high heat stirring constantly.

When the color reaches a light  toasty brown color and begins to smell nice and toasty (about 6-8 minutes), add the desiccated coconut flakes and stir fry another 3 minutes.  Slowly add in the half and half to the mixture and continue stirring.  Mixture should start thickening very quickly.

Slowly add brown sugar ¼ cup at a time and tasting as you go along to make sure the sweetness is not too much.  You can add more sugar to make it sweeter or less depending on taste.  Continue stirring until all the liquid is absorbed and the filling  becomes a soft paste like consistency.  Kind of like smooth peanut butter.  Take out the Cinnamon sticks, remove from heat, cover and set aside.

Heat a  5 inch non-stick frying pan over medium high heat, brush the bottom of the pan with a little bit of vegetable oil and pour ¼ cup of batter in the middle and quickly tilt the pan in a circular motion to coat the bottom of the pan and place on back on the heat.  Little bubbles should start appearing all over the batter.  Within  35 seconds or so, the crepe should be ready (do not flip it over).

Take off the heat and place about 2 tablespoons of filling on one edge of the crepe and roll it into a tube.

Lightly flatten.  You can enjoy it warm or at room temperature. Makes about 50 Pithas.  Since each person will at least eat two, it will serve about 20-25 people.