Tag Archives: baking

banana pear bread with salted caramel

Banana Pear Bread

The basis of this banana bread recipe comes from Marilyn, my-mother-in-law. She is one of those bakers who has eighty percent of her recipe memorized and just fills in the blanks as she goes. I don’t know how she gets away with it, but she does. Anyway, last week, I bought four bananas. Two for eating, and two for banana bread. Unfortunately, I forgot to communicate that two of them were destined for more than just peeling and eating, and all but one remained when I finally had time to bake.

After mentioning to my husband that he ate too many bananas, he kindly left the fourth one alone. But you know, you sort of need a couple of bananas for banana bread. I didn’t feel like waiting another few days for a banana to go bad, so I decided to put a pear that had gone past its prime to work. And since I’d already subbed banana for pear, I decided to go all out with brown butter and salted caramel. Eighty percent basic, twenty percent do-what-you-want, Marilyn style.

I swirled some of the caramel into the batter, but it must have been too runny because it didn’t stay in the middle.  Instead, it sizzled up to the top and out to the sides and made for a sweet and salty crust. Totally works! I will most certainly be whipping up another loaf to tote to Thanksgiving.

Banana Pear Bread

Banana Pear Bread with Salted Caramel

For the Caramel Sauce

1 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup heavy cream

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 teaspoons sea salt


In a saucepan over medium low heat, mix together all of the ingredients. Stir the mixture as it begins to bubble, and allow the sugar to boil for about 7 minutes. Dip a spoon into the sauce and allow to cool over the pan to check its consistency. Sauce should be on the runnier side. When finished, remove from heat and allow to cool.

For the Bread

1/3 cup unsalted butter, browned

1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

3 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup of mashed banana (about 1 ripe banana)

1 small pear, diced


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour and loaf pan.

Add butter to a cold saucepan. Turn heat on to medium–stir butter as it melts, foams, and browns. When the liquid has turned a golden brown, remove from heat and let cool.

In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, and vanilla. Add in mashed banana and the brown butter. Stir.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet, a little bit at a time. Mix together until all of the flour is incorporated.

Pour half of the batter into the pan. Add a few dollops of caramel sauce and use a knife to swirled the caramel into the bread. Top with the remaining batter.

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Cover the bread with foil and bake for another 10 minutes.

Serve warm. With butter. Spoon some of the leftover caramel sauce on top and sprinkle on some more salt. Eat it all before anybody else knows you baked.



26 before 27

Le Relais Gascon

Another birthday is right around the corner and my heart is all aflutter as I ponder an updated yearly to-do list. (Check out my 25 before 26 list to see last year’s goals!)

The first item on the first draft of this year’s 26 before 27 list was “really, seriously try to master a sewing skill.” Sewing is one of those things I keep thinking I’ll enjoy. I want to sew an elaborate quilt or alter a vintage dress, but the fact is that I can barely sew a straight line–still! And when it comes down to it, I certainly don’t enjoy practicing the skills necessary to be successful at this art form.

I’ve since tossed the first draft and decided to come at my 26 before 27 list from a different angle. What if, this year, I stopped traveling down creative avenues I think I might enjoy eventually and instead, dedicated a whole entire year to something I know I enjoy doing everyday?

Mind. Blown.

If there is one thing in this world I love doing day in and day out, it’s cooking and baking. (I also love shopping equally that much but probably shouldn’t embark on 26-ways-to-end-up-declaring-bankruptcy-before-27!)

I have this strange motivation to master the art of carving a turkey. I’ve penciled my 18th attempt at French macarons into my calendar for next Sunday. I flip over the vibrant colors of fresh vegetables. I feel no stress in the kitchen and often spend an entire weekend in there. I also have a husband that is glad to eat anything and clean up any and all messes I inevitably create in the name of good food. It’s a win-win.

Because I love a good theme, I’ve decided to embark on 26 French recipes. Wes and I spent a couple of days in Paris two years ago, and it was by far my most favorite stop during our belated European honeymoon. Because pastries. And cheese. And wine. And pastries with chocolate. And baguette!

I want to make it all. I’ll start with the following 26:


Boeuf Bourguignon


Confit de Canard


Galette des rois

Coq Au Vin

Crème Brûlée


Croque Madame

Croque Monsieur

Duck a l’Orange


Gratin Dauphinois


Oeufs en Cocotte

Petits Fours


Quiche Lorraine

Saint Honoré


Soupe a l’Oignon

Tarte aux Fraises

Tarte flambée


*promptly renews gym membership*

…Bon appétit!

sundays are for . . .

1. Baking. http://www.endlesssimmer.com/2011/08/30/smore-than-you-can-handle/

2. Frantically calling your mom because you just can’t make RICE like she does. Rice–2:1 water to rice kind of rice.

3. Wishing you could freeze time and stay in this particular Sunday forever, and never let the fall semester begin…

4. Finding the perfect bed for the spare bedroom.

5. Sedating the kitty cat with Benadryl in order to give her a “sanitary shave” on her wittle witty wehind (little kittie behind) so she stops having an issue with…long hair…and…poop.

6. Taking a piece of Pinterest love and actually making it happen in my own home.

7. Watching as much Downton Abbey as I possibly can.

8. Finishing up a project here and a project there…

9. Reading under my favorite blanket.

10. Shamelessly perusing blog after blog after blog after blog. The three open in my browser right now:

Secondhand Sundays


Oh So Lovely Vintage