Sometimes Things Freeze in the Arctic (Mochi Cake With Black Bananas)

Mochi Banana Bread_n

A delicious way to use the unusable, banana mochi bread has the moistness and flavor of banana and the dense, rich texture of mochi cake. Slathered with cream cheese this is a delicious afternoon snack.

Guided by a philosophy of not wanting to waste anything, we are sometimes the recipients of fruit past its prime. This week boxes of bananas arrived for snacks for our students at Tikigaq School in Point Hope, Alaska. Unfortunately, many had frozen on the plane on the way up. Most people will not eat thawed-out, blackened bananas. And then there are people like us.

The obvious response to these bananas was banana bread. I have a tried and true fruit bread recipe which I’ve used for bananas, blueberries, cloudberries, and pears. But this is the time of year to be a bit more creative in order to use up pantry items. With this in mind, I give you mochi banana bread. Mochi is a Japanese creation which uses sweet rice flour to make a dense, rich, but not-too-sweet dessert. With previous success baking a chocolate mochi cake, I wanted to give bananas a try.

The results of this experiment were a sugary-crisp crust enclosing the nicely dense banana bread I was going for. Blog worth! (Of course, we only publish the good stuff!)

Banana Mochi Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup mochiko (sweet rice flour)
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 cups smashed overripe bananas (about 6)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (substituting applesauce will lighten the bread)
  • 1 tsp Penzeys double strength vanilla extract (or 2 tsp regular vanilla extract)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9″ x 5″ loaf pan. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, thoroughly mix dry ingredients.
  3. In bowl of stand mixer, mix together all wet ingredients until thoroughly mixed.
  4. Stir dry ingredients into wet. Mix until just incorporated.
  5. Pour batter into loaf pan.
  6. Bake for 55 – 60 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean.
  7. Cool loaf pan on wire rack until it can be handled. Then remove loaf from pan and continue cooling on wire rack.

Banana Bread with Crunchy Walnut Streusel

We brought these beautiful loaves of banana bread to a staff potluck, supplying cream cheese for a spread. They were an instant hit.

I have a tried and true banana bread recipe. It’s actually a fruit bread recipe in which I swap out the fruit and the spices. The recipe results in bread that is moist and flavorful. With an impending potluck, I wanted to amp up the recipe and my thoughts turned to coffee shop offerings where muffins and slices of sweet bread covered with streusel topping are always among the favorites. We love to slather a thick slice of this bread with cream cheese and then press the cream cheese into whatever crunchy walnuts may have fallen off. This makes for one decadent slice of bread!

Banana Bread with Crunchy Walnut Streusel

Makes two loaves

Ingredients

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups mashed bananas – the older the better

Topping

  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp butter, room temperature

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda. Set aside.
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat granulated sugar, applesauce and 1/2 cup of melted butter together. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Stir in vanilla.
  3. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just moistened. Stir in bananas.
  4. Prepare streusel topping. Mix 1/2 cup flour, nuts, brown sugar and 4 tbsp butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Set aside.
  5. Pour banana bread batter into two greased 8 in. x 4 in. x 2 in. loaf pans. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.
  6. Pull loaf pans out of oven and pack streusel nut mixture on top of loaves. Bake for an additional 30 – 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire cooling racks.

Pour yourself a big cup of coffee. Cut a thick slice of this bread and smear a generous amount of cream cheese onto it. Sprinkle any crumbs that have fallen off your slice back onto the cream cheese. Put on some coffee shop music. Close your eyes, take a bite, and imagine yourself in coffee shop in one of the world’s great cities… or in a hometown bakery.