Thursday, 13 September 2012

Chocolate, Pecan & Banana Slices

I could have called these brownies. But that wouldn't have been a fitting description. You see, last week someone brought some banana brownies along to eat after lacrosse practice and I wish I knew who did...but I seem to have forgotten everything about that day other than how amazing these brownies tasted. In all their gooey goodness.
So the idea of doing something similar was born. But as much as I love proper brownies (especially when they're still slightly warm and come with some ice-cream), I don't find them especially easy to handle or to transport or even especially nice to eat the next day when they have cooled down. This is why I made these, a slightly dryer, slightly denser, fudgier (is that even a word?!?), and infinitely easier to handle cousin of the chocolate brownie :)
Oh, and in case you are wondering why I weigh the banana - I have a tupperware container in my freezer that is home to slices of banana. Whenever I buy too many and they start becoming slightly over-ripe, I just cut them into 1-2cm slices (so they are easier to portion later on) and freeze them. That means when I decide to bake something with bananas or that I want to make banana soft-serve as I am walking up the stairs, I don't have to run to the supermarket but can just use the frozen ones.

Chocolate, Pecan & Banana Slices
125g Dark Chocolate
125g Butter
125g Sugar
125g Flour
125g Pecans, roughly chopped
200g Banana (mashed)
2 Eggs
1/4 tsp Fleur de Sel
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1 tbsp Bourbon (optional)

Preheat your oven to 175˚C and line a brownie tin (something close to 20x20cm will do) with baking parchment.
Melt the chocolate and butter. You can either be old-fashioned and use a bain-marie or, if you're lazy like me, just melt them in the microwave. I don't see why you shouldn't do that because the whole thing is going to be warm later on anyway as it is baking. I put things into the microwave and heat it 30 seconds at a time (shorter intervals towards the end) until nearly everything is melted.
Whisk until you have a smooth texture, then add the eggs and banana. Whisk until the biggest lumps of banana are gone.
If you like bourbon, add some now. I find booze makes everything better and the bourbon works really well with the banana flavour, and the chocolate flavour, and it will work really well with the pecans, too. Just saying...
Stir in the sugar, salt and vanilla extract and make sure things are properly combined until you add the flour.
Once the flour is mixed in, add the pecans and pour the batter into the tin.
Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a cake tester comes out relatively clean - you still want some moist crumbs but you don't want the batter to be relatively liquid anymore either.
Allow the cake to cool for a bit before you cut it into slices - it breaks quite easily while it is still warm.
Personally, I really like these with a glass of milk, or coffee, or tea.

What is your favourite sports-related food? Is there something you can't live without after a competition or do you have a post-training ritual or something similar?

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