31 March 2008

Bananas and walnuts and variations

My daughter loves pancakes. That's one breakfast that's super easy to make, goes down fast and without too much prodding. But then again, each bag of pancake flour seems to last for forever and a day. Sometimes, just the sight of that bag of pancake flour in the pantry bugs me. There isn't any rational reason for that, but it just irritates me how it never ever seems to get used up. I use less that quarter of a cup each time, and it takes for ever to finish each packet.

Then one day, I saw this post in Mahanandi, and followed the link to this recipe. I couldn't have asked for more.

The first time, I followed the recipe exactly. It was awesome. Another time, I thought I'd make muffins for breakfast using the same recipe. I left out the sugar this time around. The pancake flour and bananas were sweet enough for these delicious muffins. I used more bananas, and reduced the oil as suggested in the original recipe. And since the kids kept spitting out the walnut bits, I powdered them coarsely. No chunk(ie)s for my little monkeys.

Banana and walnut muffins
makes 8

1 cup pancake flour
1/2 cup - walnuts (coarsely powdered)
2 bananas (peeled and mashed smooth)
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp milk
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 pinch nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven to 160° C.
Stir together flour, baking powder, spices, and nuts.
Mix the wet ingredients.
Make a well in the flour mix, pour the wet mix. Stir until just combined.
Pour into muffin cups, and bake for 20 mins (till done)

Try pureeing the bananas in a blender. That gives these muffins a smoother finish.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

And then I wondered what would happen if I left out the milk and oil too..

I read somewhere on the Fatfree Vegan Blog that applesauce is a good substitute for butter and other fats in baking. I checked in a few stores here, but couldn't find any. So I shelved my ideas for fat-free baking for a while.

Then one day, a friend, D, called and asked if I was free, and whether she could drop by. I thought I would bake this cake for tea. And took a deep breath, and decided to make this dish the fat-free way. I pureed an apple, and stirred that puree into the batter. The final result was good. It was wonderful with afternoon tea, but not sweet enough to classify as a cake. I called it a Banana-Walnut loaf.

Banana Walnut loaf

1 cup pancake flour
1/2 cup - walnuts (coarsely powdered)
1/4 cup cashewnuts and almonds (powdered fine)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp dry ginger
1 pinch nutmeg
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 bananas (peeled and mashed smooth)
1 apple (peeled, cored and pureed)

Preheat oven to 160° C.
Line a loaf tin with baking parchment.
Stir together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, walnut powder and almond-cashewnut powder. Make a well.
Pour pureed apple and bananas, and vanilla essence into the well.
Mix well.
Pour into prepared baking tin, and bake for 40 minutes (or till a tester inserted into the loaf comes out clean).
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This particular experiment resulted in totally mixed reactions. D, who was over for afternoon tea, said it was great and found it difficult to believe it had no fat and refined suar in it. My daughter took one bite, and said she didn't like it. The baby spit it out. The other half said it was a good 'fat-free, sugarless cake'.. go figure...

Will I make this again?? Of course I will... I personally think it's a great thing to have around for a guilt-free snack.
But wait, there's more.... The next day, as soon as she got back from school, the older one suddenly asked for 'banana cake'. And had seconds and thirds. After she was done eating, I had to ask her why she didn't eat any the previous day. "Amma, yesterday the cake was not tasty. Today it is. Make it this way from now on."

And since Akka was eating some, the baby too ate some. And later in the evening, pointed to the cake tin asking for more.

Kids!!!! They'll drive me nuts one of these days.... And I can see the occasional gray hair too....


bee said...

vidya, you don't need to stock instant pancake mix at home. you probably have all the mix ingredients already.

6 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (check expiration date first)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons sugar

this is from food network.

bee said...

in lieu of applesauce, you can use mashed banana, soft tofu, or ground flax.

yogurt works too.

Divya Vikram said...

Hi Vidya..nice reading ur post..Guess the muffins n loaf tasted great..wil try them soon..Ur kids look too cute.My hugs to them..

Suganya said...

Like Bee said, stocking pancake mix is not necessary. Also, I make about a big batch of pancakes and freeze in small portions. Good to go for 3 months.

KayKat said...

Yep, I use the same recipe for my pancake mix :)

And silken tofu works fabulously instead of applesauce - in fact, it makes for a really creamy texture.

Srivalli said...

Talk abt the occasional gray hair, I see them very predominant...glad your kids loved it...

SMN said...

Vidya.. that muffin luks great

Hima said...

recipe sounds interesting. I will give it a try as it is sugar free as well.

Dhivya said...

yummy!love these

Vidya said...

@bee: hey, thanks for those really awesome t tips.

@suganya, kaykat: will keep that tip in mind :)

@divya, srivalli, smn, hima, dhivya: thanks for hte kind words :)

Miri said...

Your daughter has good taste ;) BUt seriously, these kind of breads taste better the next day. I made a pumpkin walnut bread and put in half a ripe banana in lieu of the egg. When I ate it first I didnt think much of it, it tasted great the next day - and yes my daughter who refused to finish her piece the day before, had two the next day - our own discerning in house critics! LOL!

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