Crazytown Peanut Butter Banana Bread

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Let me clarify a point: when I say ‘crazytown’ I mean ‘holy cow, there is so much good stuff in this bread and my impatience doesn’t allow me to list it all.’ I DO NOT mean Crazytown the band that sang that maddeningly catchy song ‘Butterfly’ way back in the day.

But I won’t lie, I liked them. I thought Shifty was cute (for like a week HA!) I know every word to the entire song.

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I used to have problems. Don’t verify that with my hubby, he’ll tell you I still have problems. He calls it issues, I call it awesome!!

There is a whole lot of awesome going on in this bread: peanut butter banana bread studded with mini peanut butter cups, snickers, chocolate chips AND caramel. I added some whole wheat pastry flour, you know… to make it “healthy.” I told you, crazytown!!

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And I just couldn’t help myself, I never can leave well enough alone, I drizzled the top with melted bittersweet chocolate. Crazytown.

Come my lady, come come my lady. You’re my butterfly, sugar baby. Oh gosh…

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Crazytown Peanut Butter Banana Bread
Yields one 8×4″ loaf

Ingredients:

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or more AP flour)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1/4 cup vegetable oil (you can also use canola)
1 large egg
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 oz mini peanut butter cups (I used these)
8 mini snickers, chopped
2 oz milk chocolate chips
8 caramels, chopped

Note: I used an 8×4″ pan but you can use a standard 9×5″ you loaf will be slightly thinner and will bake faster, so keep an eye on it! Also, go nuts with the mix-ins: add toffee bits, different candy bars, nuts, toasted coconut, etc.

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350F. Generously grease your loaf pan  with butter or spray with non-stick cooking spray; set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together your flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt until combined, set aside.

In a large bowl stir together your bananas, peanut butter, oil, egg, sugars and vanilla extract. Whisk vigorously for about 30 seconds to ensure that everything is thoroughly combined. The batter will be a bit lumpy because of the bananas, that’s ok!

Pour your dry ingredients into your wet ingredients and, with a rubber spatula, fold everything together until just combined (the flour JUST disappears.)

Fold in your mini peanut butter cups, snickers and chocolate chips. Spread half of the batter into your prepared pan. Sprinkle the chopped caramels over the batter and give them a light press with your hand. Top with the rest of your batter and smooth the top with your spatula.

Bake for approx 1 hour or until toothpick inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached (always check your baked goods early, every oven is different and there’s nothing worse than a rock-solid loaf).

Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then loosen the edges of the pan with a plastic knife and remove from loaf pan, transferring bread to a cooling rack. Cool completely, or don’t, just don’t burn your tongue. Enjoy!

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Recipe adapted from Cookies & Cups

SMS – Chocolate Cream Caramels

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Howdy ya’ll, I’m Jeannette and I’m super excited to be your hostess tonight. And no, I’m not Texan ;)

Thinking back, I don’t think I was ever put into a position where my “job” as hostess inspired such anxiety within my soul. I am constantly fidgeting and moving in my seat as I type this. So if this post seems out of sorts or scattered (well, more so than it usually is) shush it. I’m nervous and I tend to ramble. :D

Most hostesses try to please everyone with their recipe choice: ease of instructions, ingredients on hand, time to make it, dishes dirtied, etc etc etc. Me, not so much. It basically boiled down to one thing, WWTFE: What Would The Fiance Eat? He’s picky and for once I wanted to make something he’d try without me having to bribe him with a new video game. Men. ;) But to my surprise, the steps are fairly simple and straight forward, the ingredients list is minimal, its all done in ONE saucepan, and WHOOO doesn’t like caramel?! So I think I did pretty well. Don’t you? Please say you agree. I’ll buy you a video game…….?

Moving on, caramel has never been my friend, when it comes to making it anyhow. The first few times I can blame it on the fact that I used a meat thermometer in place of a candy thermometer. (If there’s no difference between the two, I’m still blaming the thermometer). That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. But I love caramels and I had a vision of salted caramels dancing in my head and I was determined. Thinking nothing could go wrong, I decided to make BOTH flavors of caramel. I grabbed my handy thermometer, with bloated self-esteem in tow and got to work.

Only to botch the first attempt (the Honey Cream Caramels).

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It isn’t scorched, it isn’t inedible. It’s just hard. But the taste… oh my… it defines description. Deeeeelish. I assessed the situation and the problem and went on to try batch two (Chocolate Cream Caramels) and whatever I did, I did right!! I can finally add ‘candy making’ to the short list of things I have successfully accomplished in the kitchen! Hoorah!

Soft enough to chew, firm enough to get nice clean edges, tasty enough to eat an entire batch by myself. I hope you enjoyed these as much as I did. And if you didn’t master these, please try them again. They are worth it. Pinky swear!

I changed some things (due to forgetfulness and lack of ingredients, which I will note in red. Just in case anyone cares ;D)

Chocolate Cream Caramels

From the Sweet Melissa Baking Book

Recipe yields 2-1/2 pounds caramel (sixteen 2-inch squares or sixty-four 1-inch squares)

Ingredients:

1 cup light corn syrup

1/3 cup clover honey

2-1/3 cups sugar

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

2 cups heavy cream (I used 1-2/3 because I was short a tad)

1 tablespoon unsalted butter (I omitted simply because I forgot, oops)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

4 ounces of best quality unsweetened chocolate (I used Ghittard)

Instructions:

BEFORE YOU START: Lightly butter (I used Pam) an 8 x 8 x 2 -inch square pan.

1. In a large nonreactive saucepan over medium heat, combine the corn syrup, honey, sugar, salt, havey cream, and butter. Cook, stirring continuously, until the mixture reaches 248°F (I pulled it off the stove once it reached roughly 242°F) on a candy thermometer (firm-ball stage). Remove from the heat.

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2. Stir in the vanilla and 4 ounces of best quality unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped to the hot caramel mixture. Stir until smooth.

3. Pour the caramel into the prepared pan. Set aside, uncovered, in a cool place to firm up. (This is where I sprinkled on a bit of sea salt, if you like it.)

4. When firm, loosen the edges of the pan with a buttered knife. Turn out onto a clean work surface and, using a lightly buttered chef’s knife, cut into squares.

Wrap each square in wax paper. The caramels keep in an airtight container in a cool dry place for 2 weeks.

Well that’s my time folks. Head on over to the SMS board to learn any tips and/or tricks that were useful to the other bakers and make sure to check out the very talented assortment of SMS bakers on the SMS blogroll.

Good night everybody!
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TWD – Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart

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Oh boy, do I love food porn.

Fellow foodies know EXACTLY what I’m talking about, but for those of you raising your eyebrow and shielding your eyes…. “food porn” isn’t something sexually explicit. It’s simply wonderfully photographed pictures of food that are drool inspiring. Food that is shot so up close and personal that it gives you that Neanderthal reflex to want to grab it from the screen and run home with it, sharing with no one!

Food can be sexy, glamorous, supple… and any true food photographer knows that, and will abuse it to make you swoon. Or blush ;)

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What does this have to do with this week’s post, you ask? This tart is a PERFECT example of an ideal pupil for a food porn shot.

The crumbly, buttery-sweet shortbread tart dough laying beneath a salty, nutty-crunchy, amber caramel topped with soft, velvety smooth, rich, dark chocolate ganache that gives way to the mere pressure of the fork that begs to violate its perfection. See what I mean?

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Sleek and seductive.

This tart was easy to throw together (minus the fact that I burned the heavy cream the first time, oops). The crust came together in a snap and is DELIGHTFUL (I’m a crust gal so that was my favorite part). I let the caramel reach a DEEP amber color and I used chopped almonds instead of the suggested honey roasted peanuts (I skipped toasting them with honey to save time, but I’ll try this next time) and the ganache couldn’t have been simpler. I left it in the fridge overnight and its still amazing!! This is definitely a show-stopper.

Thank you Carla for choosing this great tart!! Visit Carla at Chocolate Moosey for the recipe.