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Friday, September 2, 2011

I bought a small bunch of bananas for something, but for the life of me, I cannot remember what it was I had planned to do with it. I know I wanted to use the fruit while they were still fresh (was it in a layer cake filling?) but now they have turned brown.
    On to Plan B then, although I only decided what it would be just now.
    While I was searching online for recipes, I thought I would look up a Banana Dacquiri. I don't actually know what it is but I like to deconstruct cocktails and make them into baked goods. I did find a recipe, but what interested me was a video on the same site. A man was blending a Frozen Banana Bread Cocktail which comprised a pear, banana, scotch, cinnamon and lots of ice. I thought I would try something similar using what I had on hand: a banana, a wedge of apple, cinnamon and a splash each of orange juice and rum. It was not bad although I think I might have been a little heavy handed with the rum.
    Fortunately, it didn't stop me from trying out this recipe for Banana-Pecan Biscotti from myrecipes, which got good reviews. The original recipe gives measurements in cups, and below are the weight quantities along with my own interpretation. (And yes, for my own picture of the biscotti, I did copy the way the picture is styled on the site. It was pretty and I am not averse to flattery by imitation.)
    The logs, when they come out of the oven after the first round of baking, have such a good aroma of banana and spices, I just wanted to have it all there and then. In fact, when I sliced the logs to make the biscotti, I kept the little pieces at the end for myself, and was not disappointed. I could not wait until they cooked completely especially since the aroma from the oven was again very appealing. It took every ounce of willpower not to pop a hot morsel into my mouth when I turned the slices over at the halfway point.
    I know what I'll be doing with the last overripe banana I've saved in the freezer. This is one time it paid to be forgetful.

Makes 2 dozen

230g all-purpose flour
90g sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon mixed spice
¼ teaspoon salt
70g mashed very ripe banana (about 1 banana)
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 medium egg
50g toasted pecans, chopped
  • Preheat oven to 180°C.
  • Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, mixed spice and salt in a mixing bowl. Combine banana, oil, vanilla, and egg in a medium bowl; stir into flour mixture with pecans (dough will be sticky).
  • Shape dough into 2 (20cm-long) rolls with floured hands. Place rolls on a parchment-lined baking sheet; flatten to 1cm thickness.
  • Bake at 180°C until surface is firm and pale brown, 20-23 minutes. Remove rolls from baking sheet; cool 10 minutes on a wire rack. 
  • Meanwhile, turn down the oven to 120°C. Cut each roll diagonally into 12 (1cm) slices. Place slices, cut sides down, on baking sheet; bake 12-15 minutes. Turn cookies over; bake an additional 10-12 minutes until nicely golden (cookies may be slightly soft in centre but will harden as they cool). Remove from baking sheet; cool completely on wire racks.
Postscript: Sept 4, 2011
I made the biscotti again, this time, substituting 30g of the flour with the same amount of dessicated coconut, and using chopped walnuts instead of pecans.

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