There’s something about holiday shopping in big stores that makes me break out in pretend hives. Maybe it’s the tinny holiday tunes. Or maybe it’s the extra special junk that passes for merchandise. Maybe it’s that I’m a Grinch. Anyone with me here? If you are, pull up a cup of coffee or tea and let’s talk about an alternative – simple but good homemade gifts from your kitchen.
Let’s start with these adorable little mini cranberry banana breads with pecans. They’re filled with holiday spices and a special surprise – caramelized banana in brown butter. It makes them ridiculously good. And with a little splash of dark Rum they only get better sitting around, so no need to rush them out the door. You can finish that cup of coffee first.
All you need are two bowls, a whisk and a spatula. I bought these fancy schmancy mini gift pans and got a zillion for the price of maybe two or three in the fancy store at the mall. After they’re completely cool I wrap them in cellophane gift bags and give them to people I really like. We even save one for us just because, you know – they have to be taste-tested.
And let’s have a little discussion about distilled liqueur. Many of you ask if liqueurs are gluten-free. Depends, is the answer. If they contain artificial flavors then they might not be gluten-free. To be sure, always contact the company directly. But in general good quality distilled liqueurs are gluten-free. The distilling process removes any gluten. The dark rum in this recipe is gluten-free. It’s Myer’s Dark Rum. We tested it with our supply of handy E-Z Gluten Test Strips and it was negative. But our advice – if in doubt, leave it out. Or use rum flavoring. It’s all good – the recipe will still taste great.
|Cranberry Banana Mini Breads, Gluten Free||
- 210 grams AP GF flour (106 grams superfine brown rice flour plus 52 grams each superfine white rice flour and tapioca flour/starch) (heaping 1½ cups)
- 150 grams granulated sugar (3/4 cup)
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon mace
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- sprinkle of ground cloves
- sprinkle of freshly ground black pepper
- 30 grams unsalted butter, browned nutty brown (2 tablespoons)
- 200 grams pureed very ripe banana (2-3 medium)
- 1 teaspoon dark Rum (Myer’s or Captain Morgan)
- 100 grams vegetable oil (canola) (scant ½ cup)
- 3 extra-large eggs, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ teaspoon orange extract
- 50 grams raw cranberries, chopped (about ½ cup)
- 100 grams toasted, hand chopped pecans (scant 1 cup)
- Preheat oven to 350. Spray 5 mini loaf pans or one 9×5-ish loaf pan very lightly with nonstick spray. Place pan(s) on a baking sheet. Set aside.
- In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa, salt, mace, cinnamon, clove, and black pepper. Set aside. In a small saucepan brown butter until it is nutty in color. All at once add pureed banana and stir to incorporate. Mixture will bubble up slightly. Let it cook while stirring for about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and add dark Rum, stirring to incorporate. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
- In a medium small bowl whisk together vegetable oil, eggs, coconut milk, vanilla and orange extracts. Add the cooled banana butter Rum puree and stir to combine. In a very small bowl remove about ½ teaspoon of the dry mixture and toss with cranberries and chopped nuts. Set aside. Add wet ingredients to the dry and using a silicone spatula, mix from the bottom, folding until no dry material remains. Stop as soon as it is mixed. Let the mixture sit for a couple of minutes so that it hydrates. Add the cranberry, nut mixture and fold a few times to incorporate. Scrape mixture into prepared pans evenly – about ⅔ full.
- Bake about 20 minutes and rotate pan. Turn oven to 325 degrees and bake for about 15 to 20 minutes more or until a toothpick comes out with dry crumbs. Cool on a rack. Wrap in cellophane for gifting only when thoroughly cool.