Sunday, August 26, 2012

Bacon Banana Bread (Yup, you read that right...)

     So today was our monthly church potluck and Jessi actually had this Sunday off for once so we could both go.  After our first week back (Jess at her new stressful, but crazy job, and with me at school) we were going to be fairly lazy and take pecan shortbread cookies from a signature mix made up by the Prairie Home General Store.  But when I opened up the bag this morning and looked at the mix, there was no way it was going to be enough for all the people at the potluck.  Two hours until church, and no ingredients in the house to make much of anything.  Time for an emergency Wal-Mart run... 

     I'd been toying around with trying this recipe (by the sister of one of the guys that owns/runs Beer Advocate) but a.) it sounded a bit strange and b) we didn't want it sitting around in case it was any good.  In retrospect, maybe I shouldn't have tried it out on an innocent and unspecting crowd but in the end it worked just fine.  I won't repost the recipe, as it's available here, but I will mention a couple of deviations. 

     Unsurprisingly, I couldn't find any super-ripe bananas at Wal-Mart and had to settle for some that were at least almost entirely yellow.  I debated using a touch more sugar to compensate for lost sweetness, but in the end, decided against it.  Also, I used light sour cream, rather than full fat, and used regular light brown sugar (we had tons, and brown sugar is expensive) rather than the dark brown sugar that the recipe calls for.  Also (again because of cost) I also substituted walnuts for the pecans, but Jessi said she liked that better anyway, thinking banana/walnut is a better combination than banana/pecan. 
     We didn't have quite enough bacon either.  What we had was from Trader Joes (again, bought at the Prairie Home General Store) and I decided to use that, rather than buying extra bacon.  It worked fairly well in the end.  It's ultra thick-cut and uncured.  I'm guessing maybe we had half to three-quarters of a pound.  The result was a very subtle bacon flavor whenever you got some in a bite...for future reference, I might use a slightly sharper, smokier bacon, but probably wouldn't increase the amount used at all.  The bacon we just pan fried (slowly, over medium heat, turning often) then drained, dried, and pulverized in a food chopper.

Bacon = yum
      Even using the light brown sugar, the praline topping came out really well.  It's just brown sugar, butter, honey, with a couple good pinches of fleur de sel and a handfull of chopped walnuts thrown in after it boils and the sugar dissolves.  All in all, this was a really tasty recipe, and after we'd gotten a few odd looks, people really seemed to enjoy it.  We saw a couple people go back for seconds, and we only brought a small piece home.  In the end, we'll chalk this up as a win, although it's likely not something we'll make very often. 


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