Spicy Pecan Banana Bread

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Yesterday, I shared some sriracha-maple pecans on my Instagram feed. The pecans are coated in a mixture of maple syrup and sriracha, making for a sweet-savory combination that is seriously addictive.

Seriously. I cannot stop eating them.

The pecans are delicious enough on their own, as a snack, but I had to put ‘em in some banana bread. This spicy situation began this weekend when we went to Salt & Straw for a waffle cone with Sean’s brother and girlfriend, who are visiting this week. This month at Salt and Straw they have a spicy banana walnut ice cream…gah! it’s so good! It’s so good that Sean and I both got a scoop. Which is major since we almost never order the same things–so we can share, obvs. As we were enjoying our treats, I immediately told Sean I wanted to make a bread version using pecans.  Thus, this banana bread.

Plenty of chopped pecans get folded into the banana batter–that also contains a bit of sriracha for a little background hint of savory-spice. The sriracha isn’t super pronounced here, it just brings a bit of salty-heat that plays so nicely with the sweetness of the bananas in the bread and the maple syrup on the pecans. Then, more of those spiced pecans stud the top of the bread so you get a bit of sweet-crunchy-spice in every bite.

Spicy Pecan Banana Bread

Adapted from this recipe.

For the pecans:

2 cups whole, raw pecans

1 tablespoon sriracha

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 teaspoons granulated sugar

For the bread:

4 very ripe bananas

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled

1 cup sugar

1 egg, beaten

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon sriracha

1/4 cup milk

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Line a baking sheet with parchment and spray a 9×5 inch loaf pan with coconut oil spray or other cooking spray. Line the sprayed loaf pan with parchment, leaving an overhang on two sides, secure the overhang with binder clips. Set both pans aside.

In a bowl toss the pecans with the sriracha, maple, and cinnamon until evenly coated. Spread onto the prepared baking sheet and bake in the oven for 13-15 minutes. Remove the pecans from the oven and toss with the 2 teaspoons of sugar to coat, cool slighty. Chop 1 cup of the pecans coarsely and set aside while you make the batter.

In a bowl mash the bananas well and mix with the cooled butter, sugar, beaten egg, vanilla, sriracha, and milk until well combined. In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Fold the banana mixture into the flour mixture until just combined. Fold in the chopped pecans. Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan and arrange as many whole pecans (from the remaining 1 cup of pecans) on top of the batter as you’d like. Bake in the center of the preheated oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the bread comes out clean. If the pecans begin to get too dark part of the way through, tent the bread with foil and continue to bake until done. Cool on a rack before slicing and serving.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola

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So, I have never been a fan of oatmeal, it’s always been a little mushy-mushy for me. However, these days, I’ve been eating it a lot lately because I know oats are super good for you and it’s a hot, easy breakfast to make on these chilly Michigan mornings. Since I’ve been forcing myself to embrace oatmeal, I usually have it with a little maple syrup and maybe a few pecans or walnuts mixed in, for a bit of sweetness and texture. The other day, though, I was out of my usual mix-ins and opted for a spoonful of peanut butter…and it was so good! So, it got me thinking that peanut butter might just be a great addition to my favorite granola.

And, surprise, it totes was.

I mean, you can’t really go wrong with nutty, creamy peanut butter, crunchy oats, and little chocolate chips. Can you? I don’t think so.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Granola

I use both honey and maple in this recipe, though you could use just one sweetener if you like. The coconut oil can be subbed for olive oil, if you prefer. Also, chia seeds can be substituted with flax and the mini chips can be replace with whatever chip or chopped bar you like. 

3 1/2 cups rolled oats

1/2 cup sunflower seeds

2 tablespoons chia seeds

scant 1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup honey

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter

1/3 cup coconut oil

1 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 325˚F and line a baking sheet with parchment.

Pour the oats, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon into a bowl.

On the stovetop in a saucepan heat the maple syrup, honey, peanut butter and coconut oil until the peanut butter and oil are melted and the mixture is nicely combined. Pour the peanut butter mixture into the oat mixture and stir to coat evenly. Scrape the mixture onto the baking sheet and spread in an even layer. Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10-15 minutes so the peanut butter does not burn, until golden and crisp. Remove from the oven and cool completely before mixing in the mini chocolate chips. Store in an airtight container for well over a week.

 

Savory Maple Beer-Battered Apple and Onion Rings

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When I was in grade school I struggled with reading and by third grade I dreaded it. So, my mom, knowing I was falling behind and embarrassed to not be at the level of my peers, hired a reading tutor and things totally changed for me…I began to love reading and would get lost in a book for hours. The first book series I ever fell in love with were the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I loved the pioneer spirit and, surprise, all the food imagery. One of the best books in the series for food imagery was Farmer Boy, a book about her husband’s childhood growing up on a farm…it is full of hearty farm meals and his favorite dish was made up of apples and onions. Since reading the book for the first time I have been enamored by the sweet and savory pairing.

These beer-battered, maple-seasoned, apple and onion rings are so savory with an addictive, shattering crispness. There’s just a hint of sweetness from the apple rings themselves and from a few liberal dashes of Tonewood Maple’s* savory Maple Seasoning. Tonewood is a maple company that collaborates with maple producers to provide pure and delicious maple products with a focus on family-owned farming and sustainable stewardship. I really loved this seasoning both in the batter and sprinkled on top, it made for a very autumnal batch of onion rings with the twist of apple and maple. In addition to the seasoning, there’s beer in this batter for extra lightness and a little bit of brown rice flour that gives these rings an utlra-crisp edge. I totally suggest sandwiching both and apple ring and onion ring together for the ultimate in savory-sweet goodness. A drizzle of maple-laced sriracha is the perfect sweet-spicy condiment for these rings.

Savory Maple Beer-Battered Apple and Onion Rings

You can purchase Tonewood products here and use the discount code HGPVOCT for a Buy-One-Get-One offer on the maple seasoning I used here. From Tonewood:

Through collaboration with expert sugarmakers, Tonewood produces pure maple syrups and other specialties that are single-sourced, unblended, and free of additives.

…By funding climate change research, local farming efforts, and sustainable forest stewardship, Tonewood seeks to preserve family-owned maple production.

If you don’t have brown rice or regular rice flour, all-purpose may be substituted. For the beer I used a lighter wheat beer to keep the beer-flavor mild. To cut the apple rings, just use graduated sizes of biscuit or round cookie cutters. If you do not want to buy any maple seasoning a mixture of garlic powder, salt, pepper, and a teaspoon or so of maple syrup is a good substitute.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 cup brown rice flour, plus 1/4 cup more

2 teaspoons of Tonewood Maple Seasoning (check name), plus more for sprinkling

1 egg white

1 cup beer

1 large, sweet onion sliced into rings and separated

1 large apple (I used a Honeycrisp), sliced into rounds

Canola oil for frying

Maple Sriracha Drizzle

2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 -2 tablespoons sriracha hot sauce


In a mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and 1/4 cup of the rice flour with the maple seasoning to combine. Then whisk in the egg white and beer until a smooth batter forms. Set aside while you cut out the apple rings. Using a few sizes of round cutters, cut out apple rings and place on a plate with the separated onion rings. Place the remaining rice flour in a shallow dish. Prepare a plate with several layers of paper towels and set to the side.

In a deep skillet fill with a generous 1-inch of canola oil and heat to about 375˚F. In batches, dredge the onion and apple rings in the rice flour to coat lightly, then dip into the beer batter before gently lowering the rings into the hot oil. Cook the rings on both sides until golden and crisp. Remove from the oil and place on the paper-towel lined plate and sprinkle with additional maple seasoning while still hot. Serve immediately (with extra beer!).

*Tonewood kindly supplied me with the Maple Seasoning and a few other ingredients that will show up in a later post. As always, all opinions are my own.