July 26, 2010

fridge find

It's a challenge for me to be creative. Some people can naturally come up with magical, surprising, clever, and innovative concoctions as well as amazing execution and presentation of said concoctions, but not this gal. I need to be prompted.


To make matters worse, I get bored easily--I like a little variation in the things I bake. So it's a vicious cycle--I want to make and eat new combinations of flavors, but I can't come up with them. Vicious, I tell you.

My latest inspiration came in the form of some primordial ancient archaic old caramel dipping sauce lingering in the deep recesses of the fridge. What to do with this thickened and gloppy goop? I daren't actually use it as a dip--that'd be just asking for trouble. I opted for mixing it into a muffin batter, as I'm wont to do.

These turned out better than I ever could've hoped. There was just enough caramel flavor to be detectable, and the crumb was moist yet cohesive.


I got some rave reviews from a couple of handfood connoisseurs, so I think I might be on to something with this use for aged caramel dipping sauce. The only problem is that I have to wait another year or two for a tub to reach the ideal point of almost-rankness.

Close-to-Crusty Caramel Banana Bread
(based loosely on this recipe)

2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup caramel sauce or topping
2 bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350F.
Lightly grease a muffin, mini-loaf, or 9x5-inch loaf pan.
In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, stir together the melted butter and sugar. Stir in the eggs, caramel, mashed bananas, and vanilla until well-blended. Stir this banana mixture into the flour mixture; stir just to moisten. Fold in the pecans and pour or spoon the batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 18-20 minutes for muffins, 25-30 minutes for mini-loaves, or 60-70 minutes for a large loaf, or until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean.

65 comments:

theunappreciatedbaker said...

You always have such great ideas! It's so great that you managed to salvage something from the fridge. Had I read this last week I wouldn't have thrown out the caramel sauce in the back of my fridge!

Barbara said...

The main problem I have with those ancient jars in the back of the fridge, is they have often lost their labels!
So kudos for finding one that you actually KNEW what it was and then putting it to such good use, Grace.
Looks all caramelly to me, a plus in any dessert. :)

bellini valli said...

I aspire to be a handfood connoisseur and taste test all your creations.

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

Aww Grace, thankyou for the ever so kind shoutout! And I think you are so creative and where can I put in an order for this aged caramel sauce? ;)

Pam said...

I love all things caramel-ly!! Though I never have any hanging out in the fridge, it's gone as soon as I make it!

jose manuel said...

Espectacular la foto, y supongo que de sabor increible. Saludos

A Plum By Any Other Name said...

Ha, your can-do spirit is inspiring. I am all about experimenting with "leftovers." What doesn't kill you makes you a better cook, am I right?!

bhdancegirl said...

Am I missing something? When do you add the caramel sauce? To the batter or drizzled on top after baking?

Von said...

hehe...I'm just like you! I'm not a creative person =[ I shudder everytime I'm asked to do something creative- which is why I always hated music and art assignments......
And, I get bored eaily too! haha..
This bread sounds delicious! Such a shame caramel sauce is something that has never appeared in my house.....

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

This bread looks so smooth and scrumptious! That carame sauce is a great addition.

Cheers,

Rosa

oneordinaryday said...

Great way to jazz up those banana muffins!

hannah {thepastrykook} said...

what a great idea mixing leftovers into the batter! we should never waste food. haha

TKW said...

Now, I think mixing leftovers into a batter is quite innovative! I wouldn't have thought of it! Looks delightful!

ovenhaven said...

Good on you for turning leftover into something so drool-worthy! Looking at the leftovers in my pantry, I think I'd probably end up with something even the birds won't eat :P

shaz said...

Recycling at its best:) I think all your flavours are awesome Grace. And loved the hidden links, I clicked on each one just to see who you were talking about :)

lisa is cooking said...

Now I'm kicking myself for throwing out some old caramel sauce just recently. Banana bread is a perfect place for it. Sounds great with the pecans too!

Angie said...

I love not wasting food, this is a great innovative recipe to dress up boring banana bread.

Deeba PAB said...

This is just my kinda bake... well done indeed. Looks so good! Love the caramel in there!

Lisa-Marie said...

Often the best baking is the using up of things to make something new. This looks delicious!

Marjie said...

If it's banana bread, I'm all for it. Caramel is just a huge added bonus.

sweetlife said...

caramel and banana..oh I'm in...I always have caramel in my fridge, gotta keep my hips happy, lol

sweetlife

Lucie said...

I was just thinking I wanted to bake a loaf of something tonight...and now this? Oh, Grace. You must be telepathic!

grace said...

All weekend I was trying to figure out what to bake with some ripe bananas and NOTHING seemed worth it or inspiring... until now :)

I'm all about the caramel-banana taste.

Foodessa said...

Grace...did you just mention CARAMEL...next to chocolate...it's hands down my favourite sweet flavour.

You pulled off a great quick dessert...love it ;o)

I think it's time to re-design our fridges...so that we can see everything at all times ;o)

Ciao for now and flavourful wishes,
Claudia

Juliana said...

Grace, this banana creation sure looks very tempting...looks so moist and love the caramel in it :-)
Perfect combination!

The Blonde Duck said...

I think the bananas in my fridge mean this is destiny.

scrambledhenfruit said...

Now you've inspired me to go and rummage around in the back of my refrigerator to see what's lurking there. This looks fabulous- caramel and bananas should be delicious together. Thanks for sharing :)

Faith said...

You come up with the best recipes, Grace! All your cakes and breads always look so perfect. This one is another winner and I love the banana in there...it just so happens that I have a couple of bananas that are waiting for something like this! :)

Abby said...

That crumb looks perrrrrfect. I love banana and caramel together. Definitely a cake that makes you lick your fingers after you take a bite!

Pam said...

What I would give for a thick slice of this bread right now.

Cheryl said...

You crack me up! Looks yummy and I do believe I have a tub of old Caramel in my fridge from something!

foodhoe said...

my goodness that looks delicious, I would think it would be especially good heated in the oven to crispy edges and topped with a scoop of ice cream...

Emily said...

Caramel banana bread?! What a fabulous idea! This looks terrific.

tasteofbeirut said...

like all your creations this one sounds irresistible! Great idea to use up that jar,

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Genius, I tell you, sheer genius! And here I am with bananas browning on the counter. Thank you!

marla@familyfreshcooking.com said...

You having a hard time being creative??? Never! Your baking ideas are always so well thought out and grand. Caramel.....I am sold :) xo

pigpigscorner said...

I love your ideas! and I'm so jealous with the textures of your cakes!

Chef Dennis said...

thats always the problem I have when I make something out of product thats on its last leg..It comes out so good that everyone wants it again....well it looks absolutely delicious....so you might have to try it again with new caramel....maybe add a shot of bourbon to help age it!

Julie M. said...

You are absolutely creative with your recipes! Look at this beautiful quick bread. I am a caramel lover as well so this tops my list on all fronts. Nice work!

Robin Sue said...

Ah ha! My son was just asking me to make him some banana bread and I was thinking about adding some dulce de leche. So we are thinking alike right?!

Joanne said...

Hmm so what you're saying is that I need to go out right now and buy some caramel and let it FERMENT before I throw it into this banana bread? Oy. I don't know if I can wait that long! It looks amazing.

Xiaolu @ 6 Bittersweets said...

I love creative uses for old ingredients, especially to save them from the trash. This looks so good I might even use fresh caramel sauce or even make my own for it. Yum!

Carolyn Jung said...

Oooh, it's almost like a banana split -- but in cake form. ;)

Mimi said...

This recipe is a good reason to make caramel sauce.
Mimi

Albany Jane said...

Dude, caramel in bread. YES.

The Teacher Cooks said...

What a creative way to use the caramel. Yum!

Nutmeg Nanny said...

I have always wanted to be creative too. Although I think you are plenty creative :) Now. Caramel in bread. Awesome! I would loooooove some of this right now. I'm starving!

Angie's Recipes said...

You are not creative? Oh, Grace...don't be so hard to yourself. I wouldn't come up with idea of using caramel sauce to top the banana cake...

Cara said...

ha! awesome use of caramel sauce and great post - I loved clicking through all of your links.

Gloria said...

Look delicious Grace! gloria

vanillasugar said...

well thank you darling.
i love making new food recipes. mostly my cravings take over and viola i have a creation or a diaster.
as far as you, you are far too hard on yourself. i think you are very creative. i mean look at all the sweet and salty recipes you've come up with? hello?
i need to make banana bread--it's been months now. can you imagine deep frying it? oh man

laura said...

Oh, grace - you make me laugh! Congratulations for saving the poor old caramel from complete caramel death (I think death for food is any morsel landing in the garbage rather than a tummy!). This looks delicious!

tamilyn said...

I seriously said the same thing about myself, although not quite as eloquently as you!

Yum-caramel and a spoon is all I need!

Amanda said...

AAHHHHH!!! I cant believe my blog is included in that awesome round up above... I clicked on those links and LOVE the sites you choose.. but of course...

I love YOUR site the best! ;)

Blessings-
Amanda

Hungry Dog said...

I love it when I can use up something old and turn it into something new and delicious! So satisfying! And I pretty much like caramel anything, so nice job all around.

Deborah said...

Anything with caramel is a winner in my book.

Chef Fresco said...

You sure are good at tempting me with all those close-up shots! Geez louise I want a bite of this now! Nice addition of caramel. :)

krissy @ thefoodaddicts.com said...

why do you always have to take such great closeup photos of your goodies? it's like taking a microscope to look at the lovely nooks and crannies of the dessert before digging in. so delish.

Sophie said...

I so love your close ups on food,...especially on your own baked goods,...drool,..drool,..drool,..and so easy to make too!


A divine cake with all of that caramel!

eatme_delicious said...

Love this idea to add caramel to muffin batter! Well adding caramel to anything sounds like a good idea to me. ;)

pierre said...

your photos are very tempting !!tx for the sharing ! Pierre

Kerstin said...

You always have great ideas and this one is no exception and is so perfect for using up that very last bit of caramel at the bottom of the jar!

Judy@nofearentertaining said...

Those look incredible and thanks for the link love! I wish I had some more of the caramel lying around now...

Y said...

You, uncreative? I'm just going to blame that crazy talk on a case of too much caramel. Not that you can ever have too much caramel in banana bread. IN banana bread! Wowza.

Trissa said...

Aged caramel sauce - LOL! That's hilarious - like wine, the older it is the better it tastes??