Bananas' dark side is rich with appeal

March 12, 1997|By COOKING LIGHT

When bananas look as if they've had it, they're at their sweetest and perfect for desserts. Overripe bananas may not be the best for eating out of hand, but when it comes to cooking, they couldn't be better: They're easier to mash, sweeter (as the fruit ripens, its starch turns to sugar), and more intense in flavor.

Jamaican banana bread

Makes 16 slices

cooking spray

2 tablespoons margarine, softened

2 tablespoons tub light cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

1 large egg

2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup mashed ripe banana

1/2 cup skim milk

2 tablespoons dark rum or 1/4 teaspoon imitation rum extract

1/2 teaspoon grated lime rind

2 teaspoons lime juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

1/4 cup flaked sweetened coconut

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons margarine

2 teaspoons lime juice

2 teaspoons dark rum or 1/8 teaspoon imitation rum extract

2 tablespoons chopped pecans, toasted

2 tablespoons flaked sweetened coconut

Heat oven to 375 degrees. Coat an 8-by-4-inch loaf pan with cooking spray; set aside.

Beat 2 tablespoons margarine and cheese at medium speed of a mixer; add 1 cup sugar, beating well. Add egg; beat well.

Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt; stir well. Combine banana and next 5 ingredients; stir well. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with banana mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition. Stir in 1/4 cup pecans and 1/4 cup coconut.

Pour batter into prepared pan; bake at 375 degrees 60 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan. Cool a bit on a wire rack.

Combine brown sugar and 2 teaspoons each margarine, lime juice and rum in a saucepan; bring to a simmer. Cook 1 minute; stir constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in pecans and coconut; spoon over loaf.

Per serving: 187 calories; 5.4 g fat; 2.9 g protein; 32.2 g carbohydrates; 15 mg cholesterol; 105 mg sodium.

A madeleine pan, with its shell-shaped indentations, is a must for these French cakes. The pans can be purchased in cookware stores.

Banana-nut madeleines

Makes 2 1/2 dozen

1 cup mashed ripe banana

1 tablespoon margarine, melted

2 teaspoons dark rum or 1/8 teaspoon imitation rum extract

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

4 large egg whites

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sifted powdered sugar

3/4 cup sifted cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup macadamia nuts, toasted and chopped

baking spray with flour

2 tablespoons powdered sugar

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

Process banana until smooth. Add margarine, rum, vanilla and egg whites; process until blended. Combine 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl. Add to food processor. Pulse 2 to 3 times or until combined. Add nuts; pulse 2 times or until well-blended.

Spoon 1 tablespoon batter into each of 12 madeleine molds coated with baking spray. Bake at 375 degrees 15 minutes or until puffy. Remove from pan immediately; cool on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining batter. Sift 2 tablespoons powdered sugar over madeleines.

Per serving: 53 calories; 1.6 g fat; 0.9 g carbohydrates; 0 mg cholesterol; 31 mg sodium.

Rum-glazed banana cake

Makes 16 servings

1 3/4 cups packed brown sugar

2/3 cup stick margarine, softened

3/4 cup egg substitute

1 cup mashed ripe banana

1/2 cup vanilla low-fat yogurt

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

cooking spray

3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar

2 tablespoons dark rum or 1/4 teaspoon imitation rum extract

1 tablespoon margarine, melted

Beat brown sugar and margarine at medium speed of a mixer until light and fluffy. Add egg substitute, beating until well-blended.

Combine banana, yogurt, vanilla and cinnamon in a bowl; set aside. Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda. With mixer running at low speed, add flour mixture to sugar mixture alternately with banana mixture; begin and end with flour mixture.

Pour batter into a 10-inch tube pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan. Cool completely on a wire rack.

Combine powdered sugar, rum and melted margarine; stir until smooth. Drizzle over cake.

Per serving: 285 calories; 8.7 g fat; 3.6 g protein; 47.5 g carbohydrates; 0 mg cholesterol; 180 mg sodium.

Pub Date: 3/12/97

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