Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Banana Bread with Quick Caramel Icing

I realize that banana bread is wonderful by itself. But I guess I'm always trying to make it a bit more like cake because I like everything sweet. The sweeter and gooey-er the better. The idea to put a caramel icing on my banana bread came from reading several recipes for banana cake with caramel frosting. The banana bread recipe I chose is the simple and basic Betty Crocker recipe. It was an ok choice but not one of my favorite basic banana bread recipes. The caramel icing recipe I chose was out of this world! And it was so quick to make. I was shocked at how little time it took. I loved it so much that I was eating it right out of the saucepan by the spoonfuls. Gosh it is wonderful but it sets up really really quickly so you have to use it immediately after cooking it on the stovetop. I think I will use this caramel icing for other recipes as well. It would be delicious on apple muffins or apple turnovers I imagine. Or maybe a pumpkin muffin or bread? The icing sets up quickly and settles into a slightly crunchy on the outside but still gooey on the inside texture. It's not really gritty because the icing is heated till boiling so the brown sugar melts. The icing recipe shown below calls for both dark and light brown sugar but I only had light so that's all I used. I can imagine that an addition of dark brown sugar would make it even tastier and more caramel like. On one large banana bread loaf I topped the icing with a huge handful of chopped walnuts. The other loaves, I just left iced, with no nuts.

Here is the loaf that I loaded on the chopped walnuts. I don't like my banana bread with nuts but I know many folks who prefer it. Hopefully they will like my new caramel icing addition!

Banana Bread

Betty Crocker

1 1/4cups sugar
1/2cup butter or margarine, softened
1 1/2cups mashed very ripe bananas (3 to 4 medium)
1/2cup buttermilk
1teaspoon vanilla
2 1/2cups Gold Medal® all-purpose flour
1teaspoon baking soda
1teaspoon salt
1cup chopped nuts, if desired (I didn't add nuts to batter)

1.Move oven rack to low position so that tops of pans will be in center of oven. Heat oven to 350°F. Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans, 8 1/2x4 1/2x2 1/2 inches, or 1 loaf pan, 9x5x3 inches.

2.Mix sugar and butter in large bowl. Stir in eggs until well blended. Add bananas, buttermilk and vanilla. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt just until moistened. Stir in nuts. Pour into pans.

3.Bake 8-inch loaves about 1 hour, 9-inch loaf about 1 1/4 hours, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Loosen sides of loaves from pans; remove from pans and place top side up on wire rack. Cool completely, about 2 hours, before slicing. Wrap tightly and store at room temperature up to 4 days, or refrigerate up to 10 days.

Caramel Icing

  • 8 tablespoons butter (one stick)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 whole milk
  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

  • Caramel Icing Instructions:

    Place the butter and the brown sugars in a medium-size heavy saucepan over medium heat. Stir and cook until the mixture comes to a boil, about two minutes. Add the milk, stir and bring the mixture back to a boil, then remove the pan from the heat. Add the confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Beat with a wooden spoon until the frosting is smooth.

    Use immediately (while still warm) to frost the cake of your choice or the frosting will harden. If it does harden while you are frosting the cake, simply place the pan back over low heat and stir until the frosting softens up.