Caribbean-Style Banana Bread w/ Sweet Orange Blossom Cashew Cream

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I’ve been wanting to make this Banana Bread recipe for a few weeks, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to top it with.  I knew I wanted something creamy but what flavor….?  That was the question.  Time was ticking as my bananas were at their ripest and I didn’t want to start over with a new batch of bananas to ripen.  As you can tell, I was very determined to get the perfect topping for it.  And then it happened…that aha! moment. I was looking through a couple of cookbooks searching for a dinner recipe, when I came across Bryant Terry’s Afro-Vegan Cookbook.  Let me just say, this book is amazing.  It a cookbook bursting with African and Caribbean flavors that are vibrant, colorful…a celebration if you will of plant-based foods with a taste of tradition.  I came across Bryant’s Sweet Orange Blossom Cream and I got my a ha! moment.  It was serendipity. 

Let me just say that I love banana bread.  It is a quick and simple classic quick bread, however I wanted to zhuzh it up a bit.  Give it life.  And life I did give it.  The orange blossom cream was heavenly on top of it.  I made a few changes.  Instead of silken tofu, I used soaked cashews, thereby making a cashew cream.  I opted out of using bourbon (the original recipe) as I wanted it to be more for breakfast or a snack.  However, if you feel the need to add the bourbon (Bryant uses 1 Tablespoon), go for it.  I also used maple syrup instead of agave, but feel free to use your favorite sweetener.  The absolute best part about this recipe is the Orange Blossom Water or Orange Flower Water.  It is a clear and perfumed essence made by the distillation of fresh bitter orange blossoms.  Get a bottle and take a whiff.  You’ll want to put it in your food, put it in your favorite drinks, spray your sheets, etc.  You can find Orange Flower Water at Middle Eastern markets or buy it here.  It is used in a lot of desserts such as baklava and Mexican Wedding cakes. 

Enjoy!

 

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Caribbean Style Banana Bread w/ Sweet Orange Blossom Cashew Cream//makes 1 loaf
Adapted from B. Smith's Entertaining and Cooking for Friends

¾ cup unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ cup white whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice
½ cup vegan butter
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 ¼ cup mashed ripe banana
½ cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Sweet Orange Blossom Cream//1 cup
Adapted from Afro-Vegan

1 ½ cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours, drained, and rinsed
¼ cup agave or maple syrup
¼ cup non-dairy milk or water (I used almond milk)
1/8 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
¼ cup freshly squeezed navel orange juice
Finely grated zest of 1 navel orange
1 teaspoon orange blossom water

To prepare the frosting, place the cashews, syrup, non-dairy milk or water, salt, and extract in a high-speed blender or food processor. Blend or process until the mixture is mostly smooth; in a high-speed blender, this will be about 2 minutes once you get to high speed, and in a food processor it should take about 4 minutes, with a few breaks to scrape the bowl down. Then, with the machine running, drizzle in the coconut oil. Continue blending till the frosting is smooth and emulsified. Transfer it to an airtight container to chill for at least 2 hours. It will keep in the fridge for up to 4 days.

For the banana bread, preheat the oven to 350° F. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan.  In a large bowl, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice.  In another large bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light.  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.  Then fold in the flour mixture, alternating with mashed banana, yogurt, and vanilla.  Stir in the nuts.  Pour the batter into the loaf pan and bake for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Transfer the bread to a wire rack to cool.  

Vegan Chocolate Espresso Mousse

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I couldn't let the year come to an end without a chocolate recipe.  So, here it is.  Vegan Chocolate Espresso Mousse with Goji Berries & Hemp Seeds.  This is by far THE simplest, creamiest recipe that you can put together.  Once you make it, you'll always make it AND it's healthy AND it will look awesome on your holiday dessert table.   

Enjoy your holiday's and Happy New Year!!!

 

 

 

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chocolate mousse
2 ripe avocados
1/4 cup Cacao powder
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1/4 cup coconut nectar sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 cup plant-based milk (I used almond milk)

In a food processor or blender, blend all ingredients until smooth. Pour into individual serving bowls. Garnish with goji berries and hemp seeds. Serve immediately.

Cardamon Tahini Granola

Part V: On-The-Go Breakfast Series 

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Hi guys!  Here it is.  The last part of this Breakfast-on-The-Go Series is granola.  Cardamom-Tahini Granola at that!  Granola is always part of my breakfast rotation and I love making it homemade. I can customize it however I like, utilizing what exists in my pantry at the time.  As a matter of fact, I haven’t purchased granola in stores for quite some time, as the ones I purchased contained a lot of sugar.  I am aware that there are healthier brands on the market that are like unto what you’d make at home, but they come at a price. 

The star ingredient in this granola is the tahini.  It adds a nice savory depth of flavor, so your taste buds will immediately know something’s up. It’s different but good different.  And, the sweetness of the maple syrup along with the cardamom (sprinkle additional on once the granola has cooled down) adds such a wonderful complexity to it.

The best thing about this granola is that my kids adored it and that’s saying something. They love when I make granola but it’s usually their way.  Either they didn’t notice the change in flavor or the chocolate morsels I added to it masked the tahini flavor.  They’re my biggest fans anyway!

For the assembly, I added persimmons because they’re in season, they’re beautiful and deliciously sweet.  Pomegranate seeds were also added for an extra pop of color and antioxidants along with flaked coconut.  This was truly a fun and exciting breakfast and super healthy.

Thanks for spending time this week on the breakfast series.  Let me know if there are other series that you’d like to see.

Enjoy!

Cardamon-Tahini Granola//makes 6 cups
Loosely Adapted from The Kitchn

3 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup raw hazelnuts
½ cup raw sunflower seeds
¼ cup flax seeds
1 ½ teaspoons cardamom
1 ½ teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup tahini
½ cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350°F.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, hazelnuts, sunflower seeds, flax seeds, cardamom, and salt together. Add the maple syrup, coconut oil, and tahini paste. Toss to coat.

Spread the granola mixture evenly onto a baking sheet and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. The granola is done when deeply golden and toasted. Sprinkle additional cardamom on top for extra flavor.  Cool completely and store in an airtight container at room temperature for about a week or in the refrigerator for several weeks.