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Stretching the banana

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Bananas are great but sometimes, even the smallest combs have too many fruit that you can’t eat them all before they start turning soft and spotty.

The two that remained from my last buy were put in the fridge where they turned black. According to my favourite banana brownie recipe, I could have used both, but something’s wrong with my oven and when I bake an eight-inch cake, the centre doesn’t cook properly. I could use a ring mould but then the pieces wouldn't look like traditional brownies. So I halved the recipe, using one banana, and made the brownies in a loaf pan. Twelve good-sized pieces came out of that quantity.

Makes 1 loaf pan

½ cup (70g) all-purpose flour
¼ tsp baking powder
1 tbsp cocoa powder
Pinch of cinnamon powder
Pinch of salt
¼ cup (55g) unsalted butter, softened
¼ cup + 1 tbsp (75g) firmly packed soft brown sugar
1 medium egg
30g chocolate (at least 70% cocoa), melted and cooled
1 medium ripe banana, mashed (about 85ml)
¼ tsp vanilla extract
½ cup (55g) coarsely broken walnuts (optional)
½ quantity Quick Chocolate Glaze (recipe follows)
  • Preheat oven to 190°C. Grease the bottom and sides of a loaf pan.
  • Sift together the flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, beat butter until creamy. Add sugar and continue beating until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg and mix well. Beat in chocolate until blended, then beat in the banana and vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture until just combined. Stir in the walnuts, if using.
  • Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until brownies are just starting to pull away from the sides of the pan.
  • Cool brownies in pan, set on a wire rack. When completely cool, spread with glaze. Refrigerate before cutting into bars.
Quick Chocolate Glaze
Makes about ½ cup

60g semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tsp unsalted butter
⅔ cup sifted icing sugar
2 tbsp boiling water (approximate)
2 tsp glucose syrup (substitute with golden or corn syrup)
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp rum (optional)
  • Melt chocolate and butter in a glass bowl over simmering water or in the microwave. Off the heat, stir in sugar and water alternately, beating well (you may not need to use all the water). Beat in glucose syrup, then the vanilla. Stir in the rum, if using. The glaze should be glossy and pourable. If it is too thick, beat in drops of hot water to thin.

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