Rum Spiced Banana Bread

rum, banana, bread, loaf, dessert, sugar, screech, newfoundlandSo if you have been following my blog, you would have realized that I made the lovely Portuguese orange cakes the last time and they were topped with sanding sugar.  And if you haven’t been following my blog, then sign up for updates so you don’t miss out on the fun and food.

Anyway, I bought the sanding sugar and, of course, had a little left over because I wasn’t sure how much I would need for the last recipe.  Needless to say, there may be a few more recipes coming your way which have sanding sugar in them.  Oopsee.

There were a few bananas which were going off and getting too soft to enjoy so they were placed in the freezer for later baking.  I don’t know how that happens.  It seems that the bananas go from green to overripe in days.  I have all the best intentions about eating them for breakfast, or throwing them in a lunch bag, but when I get around to it I just don’t feel like eating bananas that day.  So they ripen.

Banana bread has become such a common dessert and you’ll find millions of variations out there with a myriad of ingredients and extras.  I wanted something fairly simple (read: one bowl mixing) and a subtle nod to my home province of Newfoundland.  What would be easier than throwing in some Screech?  Booze is better in most things.  Right? Right? –crickets chirping–

The thing about banana bread is that your bananas have to be as ripe as you can stand it.  That’s the good thing about throwing them into the freezer when they reach the peak ripeness.  That way you can preserve all the sweetness of the sugars in the fruit, without all the peskiness of attracting fruit flies.

Don’t get me started.  I left some bananas out to ripen once and within a couple of days I was finding little fruit flies everywhere.  It was like that scene in Amityville where the flies are covering the windows.  Freaky.   Needless to say, I throw them into the freezer before things get too out of hand.

Preheat your oven to 350F and put the ripe bananas in your stand mixer and mix on low.  You want the bananas to be mushy, almost liquid-like.  The softer the better.  You’ll get more banana flavour if they are really ripe.  Still mixing on low, add the melted butter, sugar, eggs, and rum.

Then mix your dry ingredients.  You can throw everything in the mixer, but I personally like to mix my dry ingredients first to make sure everything is evenly distributed.  Mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt.  Add that slowly to the wet mixture and blend until clear.  That is, you don’t see any more flour in the batter.  Do not overmix as the bread will be too chewy.

Pour into a greased eight inch loaf pan and set aside.  In a small bowl combine a couple of tablespoons of sanding sugar and a little bit of the rum.  You want the sugar to absorb the rum, but not be soaking.  You don’t want the sugar to dissolve.  Sprinkle the sugar on top of batter and bake for 50 minutes on the middle rack.  Use the knife test to check for doneness.

Let the loaf cool in the pan on a rack for 10-15 minutes.  Remove from the pan an let cool completely.  Serves 8-10.rum, banana, bread, loaf, dessert, sugar, screech, newfoundland

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Rum Spiced Banana Bread
This light banana bread has the subtle flavour of rum and a pleasing sugary crust.
Course Dessert
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings
slices
Ingredients
Course Dessert
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 50 minutes
Servings
slices
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In stand mixer on low with the paddle attachment, mash the bananas until soft. The bananas should be very well broken down. Add the melted butter, sugar, egg, and rum.
  3. In a separate bowl combing the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, and salt. Mix thoroughly.
  4. With the mixer still on low, add the dry ingredients. Mix until clear. Pour the batter in a greased 8 inch loaf pan.
  5. In a small bowl combine the sanding sugar and a few drops of rum. Mix until moistened. Sprinkled the flavoured sugar over the top of the batter. Bake for 50 minutes. Check for doneness with a toothpick or until a inserted knife comes out clean.
  6. Let the loaf cool on a rack in the pan for at least 10 minutes. Remove from the pan and let cool completely. Serves 8-10 slices.
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Portuguese Orange Cakes – Bolinhos de Laranja

portuguese, orange, cake, dessert, portugalThe story of the Portuguese presence in Canada dates back to the Age of Discovery in the 15th and 16th centuries. Although it is not clear who may have landed in Canada prior to John Cabot’s historic voyage in 1497, it is believed that Diogo de Teive who set out from Lisbon in 1452, had previously explored the east coast of Canada. His exploration would eventually influence the likes of Christopher Columbus. It is well documented that Portuguese explorer Gaspar Corte-Real landed in Newfoundland in 1501. His statue stands proudly in St. John’s today.

Statue of Gaspar Corte Real in St. John’s, Newfoundland

Evidence of the Portuguese presence is manifest in the many places names of Portuguese origin in Atlantic Canada. Most notable perhaps is the name Labrador which is believed to be named after João Fernandes, a “lavrador,” (a farmer).

Some historians contend that after the Vikings the first attempt at a establishing a permanent colony in Canada was lead by navigator Alvares Fagundes circa 1520. The location of this settlement has never been found but believed to have been somewhere in Cape Breton. Although no permanent communities are known to have lasted, the Portuguese presence in Atlantic Canada continues to this day while men fish for cod on the Grand Banks.

If you have the time you can take the Baccalieu Trail. Baccalieu is derived from the Portuguese word for codfish.  This 230km trek will take through such charming places as Heart’s Content, Cupids, and Heart’s Desire.  You eventually find yourself reaching Baccalieu island off the coast.  Offshore, Baccalieu Island bears witness to the potential menace of the North Atlantic. The wrecks of more than a dozen ships lie under the waters that surround the island. Baccalieu Island Ecological Reserve has 11 species of seabirds nesting there, making it the most diverse seabird colony in the province. The island hosts 3.3 million pairs of Leach’s Storm Petrels, and thousands of puffins and black-legged kittiwakes and other birds each summer. The foxes that share the island with the birds rarely go hungry.

There’s even the Bacalao restaurant in the capital, St. John’s.  The owner, Andrea Maunder, celebrates the food and culture of the province while keeping the menu hyper-local.  Many of the menu’s ingredients are grown locally or hunted locally.  Drop by and give them a try.

I found this wonderfully simple recipe for these light orange cakes that take no time at all.  They are fluffy, light, and have the fresh orange citrus flavour.  Perfect as a dessert for a party or get-together.

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 2 muffin pans.
In a bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and orange zest.
In a separate bowl combine eggs and sugar and beat with an electric mixer for 3 minutes or until the eggs are pale yellow and fall in ribbons. Stir in orange juice, butter and vanilla until well combined.
Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. The mixture will froth a little. Pour the batter into the muffin cups filling them 3/4 of the way up.  Bake for 13-14 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Sprinkle the top of each cake with some sanding sugar and return pans to the oven. Turn the oven off and leave them in there for 2 minutes.  Sanding sugar is a coarser sugar.  Its crystals are larger and will give your cakes a nice crunch.
Allow the pans to cool 5 minutes then run a knife around the edge of each cake and gently unmold. Let the cakes cool completely.
portuguese, cake, orange, dessert, portugal
Print Recipe
Portuguese Orange Cakes - Bolinhos de Laranja
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Servings
cakes
Ingredients
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Servings
cakes
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 2 muffin pans.
  2. In a bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt and orange zest.
  3. In a separate bowl combine eggs and sugar and beat with an electric mixer for 3 minutes or until the eggs are pale yellow and fall in ribbons. Stir in orange juice, butter and vanilla until well combined.
  4. Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. The mixture will froth a little. Pour the batter into the muffin cups filling them 3/4 of the way up.
  5. Stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. The mixture will froth a little. Pour the batter into the muffin cups filling them 3/4 of the way up. Bake for 13-14 minutes or until the edges start to brown. Sprinkle the top of each cake with some sanding sugar and return pans to the oven. Turn the oven off and leave them in there for 2 minutes. Sanding sugar is a coarser sugar. Its crystals are larger and will give your cakes a nice crunch.
  6. Allow the pans to cool 5 minutes then run a knife around the edge of each cake and gently unmold. Let the cakes cool completely.
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Summer Savoury Biscuits

savoury, biscuits, bread, bun, quickAsk anyone from the province about savoury and they will tell you that it’s a staple in most Newfoundland kitchens.  Summer savoury is an annual herb and is hearty enough to survive the short Atlantic growing season.  It’s flavour is similar to the winter variety and is sometimes used as a substitute for sage.

Newfoundlanders use summer savoury mostly in stuffing, or as we call it, dressing.  This is the stuffing that you will find inside your holiday turkey.  One of my favourite uses is to have chips with Newfie dressing.  That is french fries which are covered in a deep rich brown gravy, then you add fried onions and dressing on top.  It can be found in most restaurants on the island.

There was a small place in Windsor called Hiscock’s.  Unfortunately the store is closed and a candy/ice cream shop is in its place.  Hiscock’s was famous for its chips and dressing.  They were open late into the night and one could go there after staying out with your friends and scarf back some loaded wedge fries.

Hiscocks, newfoundland, windsor, grand falls, drive-in, fast food, fries
Hiscock’s Drive-In

These fries were amazing.  Thick wedges of potatoes, battered and deep fried.  The outside was crispy and inside was light and fluffy.  The way a french fry should be.  These would then be piled into a takeout container the similar shape as those rectangular Chinese takeout containers.  Then you would choose your toppings.  My personal favourite was dressing and gravy with deep fried weiners.

Remember this was the time in my youth when I didn’t care about calories or what I ate.  I was a skinny teenager.  Oh how things have changed.  I would get the fries, dripping with lovely brown gravy, layered with the savoury dressing, and peppered with little pillows of weiners (these were deep fried too).  Heavenly and amazingly good.

Summer savoury can be used in other applications too.  I found a lovely recipe for biscuits and decided to add the savoury to the recipe.  Similar to a scone, these biscuits are light and fluffy, and are very quick to make.  They are perfect as a side to mostly any main, but they are best if you have something in a sauce or gravy.  That way you can use the biscuit to sop up the excess.

The original recipe calls for vegetable shortening, but you can use butter.  Preheat your oven to 450F.  Combine the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, sage, savoury, thyme and salt. Cut in with a pastry blender or forks the shortening.   PRO TIP:  Freeze the shortening and grate.  Then add to the dry mix.  Easier to get the small pieces covered in flour.  Add the milk and combine until the dough comes together.   Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead the dough until the flour in incorporated, about 8-10 times.  Try not to overwork the dough.  You don’t want gluten to form which would make the biscuits too chewy.  You can check out my post about bread rescue and it will give you some pointers on how not to overwork dough.

Flatten the dough until it’s about an inch thick.  I just used my hands, but you can use a rolling pin if you want.  Cut the dough into rounds and place on a greased (or Silpat lined) baking tray.   When I was a child I watched my grandmother use an old Swartz mustard glass dipped in flour.  Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden brown.  Transfer to a rack to cool.  My rounds were about 3 inches in diameter.

Swartz Mustard Glass

An aside. Back in the 1960s, you could get mustard in these really cool glasses with card suits on them.  I guess the Swartz mustard company thought that people would continue to buy their product to get a whole set. There were ubiquitous in most kitchens across the island.  I only remember a couple of glasses at my grandparent’s house, but they may have lost some along the way.

 

Enjoy these wonderful fluffy, savoury biscuits.  Don’t forget to drop me line and subscribe so you won’t miss out on any posts.savoury, biscuits, bread, bun, quick

Print Recipe
Quick Savoury Biscuits
These wonderfully light, fluffy biscuits are perfect for any main. Make lots as they will disappear quickly.
savoury, biscuits, bread, bun, quick
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings
biscuits
Ingredients
Course Side Dish
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 12 minutes
Servings
biscuits
Ingredients
savoury, biscuits, bread, bun, quick
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl: flour, baking powder, salt, and herbs. Mix well.
  3. Using a pastry cutter, or two forks, cut in the shortening until finely incorporated. Then add milk and bring together into a dough. Turn out into a lightly floured surface and knead 8-10 times. If the dough is too dry you may have to add a little milk.
  4. Flatten to about an inch thick with your hands or a rolling pin. Cut into rounds. Reshape scraps and flatten to cut out more rounds. Do this a maximum of two times or the dough will be too tough. Bake for 12-14 minutes until golden. Cool on rack. For best results serve slightly warmed.
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