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. 



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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.  

Cornmeal Pancakes w/ Roasted Rosemary Figs, Oranges & Escuminac Maple Syrup

This recipe is in partnership with Escuminac Maple & Birch Syrup

All weeklong, I look forward to the weekends to indulge in a proper breakfast.  Not that the weekday doesn’t lend itself to a proper breakfast.  I thoroughly enjoy my oatmeal, yogurt & granola, smoothies and so on.  But, Corynne does not live by these foods alone. Also, my little one’s check-in mid-week to ensure they’ll have their “big breakfast” ready for them on the weekends.  So,we’re all on board!

I made these Cornmeal Pancakes w/ Roasted Rosemary Fig & Oranges in partnership with a wonderful maple syrup company called Escuminac.  The syrup is artisan-made, in the province of Quebec, Canada.  It is Pure Canadian Grade A Maple Syrup, 100% organic, and it received a Michelin Guide’s Top Rated 3 Award.  This syrup has a wonderful depth of flavor and is harvested at different parts of the season, thus producing three distinct bottles of maple syrup consisting of Extra rare, Great harvest and Late harvest (the darkest).  You can check them out at their website: and they're also available here

These pancakes were light, moist and had the flavor and texture of a corn muffin but in a pancake.  The batter whips up in minutes.  I tend to use my go to pancake recipe and swap out the flours to try something different.  The kids don’t mind as they’re used to my antics at this point.  Just as long as the pancakes look fluffy, they trust me. With Pancakes ONLY.   I added Roasted Rosemary Figs & Oranges as a topping.  Initially, I thought about just slicing the figs and oranges, and placing them on top.  But, some of the figs weren't ripe.  So, what better way to bring out the natural sweetness of unripe fruit.  Roast them.  I drizzled Escuminac’s Extra Rare maple syrup on top of the figs and oranges, along with olive oil and for extra depth of flavor, added rosemary. Why?  Because it just kind of made sense.  I often get bursts of inspiration and creativity that border along mad scientist.   That OMG, this would so work moment!  And, it did work.  My morning was solid.

If you have extra roasted figs and oranges left, place them on top of yogurt with pistachios (my suggestion) or ice cream . They are quite a treat.

Enjoy the rest of your morning!

Cornmeal Pancakes w/ Roasted Rosemary Fig & Oranges and Escuminac Maple Syrup
//serves 4

2 cups buttermilk
3 eggs
¼ cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cane sugar
1 cup corn meal
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda

roasted rosemary figs & oranges
6-8 mission figs, halved
1 medium-sized orange, cut in wedges
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 large sprigs rosemary, cut in half


To prepare pancakes, in a medium sized bowl, whisk the dry ingredients.  In another medium sized bowl, whisk buttermilk, melted butter, eggs and vanilla.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Prepare your griddle and add ¼ cup batter to your griddle.  Cook pancakes until golden and cooked through. 

For the rosemary figs & oranges, preheat oven to 400’. Slice in half the figs and arrange cut side up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  Cut the orange into wedges and place on the baking sheet also.  Drizzle olive oil and maple syrup over the top and tuck the halved rosemary sprigs between the figs.  You can also place them directly on top of the figs and oranges.

Roast for about 15 minutes and remove from oven.  Allow to cool.  Once cool, remove the orange pulp from the skin with a knife.  Garnish pancakes with fruit, maple syrup and yogurt.