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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Banana Caramel

Spoon me up Scottie:

I really don't think it could be any more oppressive than it was outside today. Let me add that it is incredibly difficult to be comfortable in 90 degree weather when you work in a chocolate shop. The thermometer might have said "70" but it felt more like I had been marooned in the Arctic. Another round of thunderstorms temporarily dulled the throbbing heat but by the end of the day I was too tired to be inspired.

The two bananas speckling on the counter can certainly feel my pain. In this weather, even with that blessed air conditioning, they went from green to perfect to starting to spot in no less than 36 hours. While lamenting the fact that they were now "unsuitable" for cereal duty I remembered a recipe for a delightful, stove top sauce. It isn't a true caramel but it has some of the same ingredients and flavors (ie. brown sugar and butter). That said it isn't a true Bananas Foster either seeing as how liquor is expensive (you can put your lighters away) and optional. If you've got some on hand why not stir it in at the end, eh? Try adding a tablespoon once you have removed the sauce from the heat, stirring gently to not break up the banana. If not, with just a little toasted coconut this stuff is liquid gold.

I like it in crepes, covering a wedge of crisp white Angle Food, over pancakes or waffles, maybe drizzled on that yummy Sweet Cake. But today, after a cool shower and fresh pjs, I can't imagine anything better than a waffle cone filled with vanilla ice cream and a barely warm gooey spoonful of Banana Caramel sauce. Unluckily, the only ice cream in our freezer is a lonely 100 calorie ice cream sandwich (that's karma for you). If tomorrow is anything like today the first thing I'm doing after work is scooping up a quart of frozen yogurt and one very happy disposition. *Crosses fingers*

Note: adding a little lemon juice helps keep the bananas from turning brown but this sauce is best made just before using.

2 bananas
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3-4 tablespoons coconut, toasted
1/2 teaspoon orange zest, 1 teaspoon orange juice

1. Toast the coconut in a dry saucepan over medium heat, tossing occasionally. Remove to a separate bowl when it is lightly browned and fragrant.
2. Peel the bananas and slice 1/2" thick. Sprinkle with the lemon juice.
3. Melt the butter in the same saucepan over medium-low heat. Add the brown sugar, cinnamon and orange zest stirring until the sauce is combined and bubbly. Add the orange juice and stir until smooth and combined. The sugar should be totally dissolved by this point.
4. Add the bananas to the saucepan. Cook for 1-2 minutes, coating gently with the sauce.
5. If you prefer a thicker sauce remove the bananas and continue to cook until the brown sugar mixture has thickened, stirring often. Replace the bananas at the last minute and toss gently.
6. Remove the sauce from the heat and add the vanilla. Spoon over the victim of choice (ie a stack of pancakes or a bowl of vanilla ice cream) and top with the toasted coconut.

Updates: As of 6/4 this recipe has been updated to include 1 teaspoon orange juice and 1/2 a teaspoon orange zest. Really guys, you need it. The vanilla has been reduced to 1/4 teaspoon.

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