Update

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I’ve been at college for over two months now.

My most accurate way to describe it would be busy, busy, busy, but incredibly cool.

I’ve made a few desserts since I’ve arrived, but it’s hard to carve out time to take pictures. (And on a side note – there’s always someone to eat your desserts. It’s great!)

I’ll definitely keep posting, but expect my posts to be less frequent than before (although, not that I was particularly reliable before college).

Until my next post, enjoy a slice of banana bread! The recipe can be found here.

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Costa Rican Banana Cake

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I’ve been to Costa Rica twice.

The first time was in 2009, when a past Spanish teacher invited some of his other former students to join a group of his current students on a trip there. Most of former students (the people I knew) couldn’t go, which left just my friend Sonia and me.

By that point, even though I had taken Spanish for three years, I would still fumble during simple conversations. My parents allowed me to go on the conditions that I would speak solely in Spanish, but considering I was there with 20 other teens and a close friend, none of whom could speak much better than I, that didn’t happen.

Instead I spent close to a week making new friends (in English) and having fun, not a total waste I think! (Though, if you ask my mom and dad, they grumble and say, “Yeah, yeah.”)

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Me and Sonia in Costa Rica!

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This summer, I lived with a Costa Rican family for three weeks. My days were divided between community service and Spanish lessons, with the occasional excursion on the weekends.

Since I visited with my friend and her sister, I wasn’t completely immersed and did speak some English, but with twenty hours of Spanish classes a week, I definitely improved my conversational skills and learned a lot.

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When I’m at home, I tend to cook most of my meals myself, mostly because I’m impatient and can’t bear the lag between asking for food and actually receiving it.

In Costa Rica, my host mother generously set out plates of food for me three times a day, and for three weeks I happily ate black beans, flavored rice, cabbage salad, and vegetables, with the occasional caramel candy or slice of cake.

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During one of the excursions, I bought a Costa Rican cookbook from a giftshop, already dreading a life without homemade rice and beans at every meal. It’s filled with recipes for savory and sweet dishes, and all the recipes I’ve tried so far have been successes.

I’ll post recipes for rice and beans soon, but they were both devoured before I could take pictures. Luckily, I snapped some shots of this banana cake in time.

This cake is denser than most banana cakes I’ve had, and the recipe called for cloves and nutmeg rather than cinnamon, but it was still delicious.

Costa Rican Banana Cake [Queque de banano]

EDIT: Looking back at this recipe, I’m realizing how crazy its ratio for liquid vs dry ingredients is. I’m not sure how it baked up properly when I made it, but I’ve edited it to reflect this highly regarded recipe, and kept the spices so that it still has that traditional Costa-Rican™

taste.

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 1/3 cup mashed ripe bananas
  • ½ cup butter, melted & cooled
  • ¾ cups sugar (the recipe called for twice as much. I think ¾ cup should be fine)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and spices.
  2. In another bowl mash the bananas.
  3. Add the butter, sugar, eggs milk, and vanilla.
  4. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients.
  5. Bake in a greased 9×13 pan for about 40-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

Three Ingredient Banana Cookies

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These are quite possibly the easiest cookies to make, ever.

They are vegan, gluten free, and sugar free, yet still taste great and are fun to eat. I added some cinnamon and chocolate to make them even more fun.

When it comes to baking on school nights, I’m super lazy, so these were an easy way to use up ripe bananas. Plus, my dad was able to try them, something he isn’t usually able to do because he’s still on his raw food + fish (+ chocolate ice cream, but he’d deny it if you asked) diet.

If you have bananas and want an easy recipe to try, make these cookies. They’re not thick and buttery like most cookies, but they’re still delicious! I ate them with ice cream and melted chocolate – just because.

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Three Ingredient Banana Cookies

  • ½ cup mashed bananas
  • ¾ cup old fashion oats
  • 1 tsp cinnamon

Optional Ingredients (I added all):

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/8 cup chocolate chips
  1. Mash the bananas.
  2. Add ½ cup oats.
  3. Grind the remaining ¼ cup oats in a blender or food processor to create a fine powder, then add. OR, simply add the remaining ¼ cups whole.
  4. *OPTIONAL* Add in the vanilla extract and chocolate chips.
  5. Let the batter sit for 30 minutes.
  6. Scoop into round balls onto a baking sheet, flatten with your fingers, and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes.

Classic Banana Bread

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Last week I came home to six overripe bananas. They were sitting on the counter: mushy, with outsides spotted brown, and no one wanted to eat them.

So I did what anyone would do; I made banana bread. I used a really simple recipe (normally I use one that calls for creme fraiche among other specialty ingredients), and surprisingly, the results were really good!

I topped slices with strawberries and chocolate ganache, and wow, it was delicious!

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Classic Banana Bread

  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 ½ cups mashed bananas
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.
  2. In another bowl, beat together the oil, sugar, and vanilla.
  3. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time.
  4. Stir in the mashed bananas.
  5. Add fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, stirring until barely mixed.
  6. Fold in the chocolate chips.
  7. Bake in a greased loaf pan at 350 degrees, for about 45 minutes to an hour.