Hawaii Dreaming: Macadamia Nut Banana Bread
Mood music: Hawaiian rollercoaster ride
Aloha! I grew up on a lot of banana bread, so I thought that I had "tasted it all". However, after my recent trip to the Hawaiian island of Kauai, I found out that I was 1) completely wrong, and 2) about to become obsessed with this new recipe of banana bread.
As it turns out, I have been missing two secret ingredients that are complete game changers: buttermilk and macadamia nuts. (A possible third secret ingredient could simply be being on vacation in Hawaii, but that is a more expensive ingredient).
I am a recent convert to buttermilk, which I think tastes fairly unique (read: gross) on its own, but it's amazing in pastries. I found a pie crust recipe that turns out flawlessly every time and I definitely give buttermilk the credit for it. This banana bread is my first time cooking with macadamia nuts, and they are so aromatic and delicious.
While we were in Kauai, we ate a similar style of freshly-made banana bread made by Hanalei Bread Company every single morning. I know that it was freshly made because we bought all of it each day...that's how good it was! I highly recommend stopping by Hanalei Bread Company if you ever get a chance to visit Kauai; they have fantastic pastries, rustic breads, and more. But if you don't, or just want to relive its deliciousness at home as I do, this recipe will do the trick!
I found a great copycat recipe by comparing the ingredients listed on their banana bread's packaging. The Hanalei banana bread list apples as an ingredient, which I am guessing is to add moisture, but the recipe below honestly doesn't need it, it is amazingly moist, sweet, and fragrant, with the perfect added crunch that makes it beyond delicious. If you manage to not eat all of it right when it comes out of the oven, just know that it gets even better the next day when the sugars break down some more and become syrupy-sweet, almost like it has honey in it. Highly recommend making a double batch so you have some to share!
Macadamia Nut Banana Bread
[Adapted from Trisha Yearwood's cookbook: Georgia Cooking in an Oklahoma Kitchen ]
3/4 cup unsalted butter 1 1/2 c. sugar 2 large eggs 4 ripe bananas, mashed (the ones with brown spots are the sweetest!) 1 t. vanilla 2 c. all-purpose flour 1 t. baking soda 1 t. salt 1/2 c. buttermilk 1 c. macadamia nuts, half chopped and half kept whole (either roasted or raw will work)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 loaf pans or 4 mini loaf pans.
With an electric mixer or stand alone mixer, cream butter and sugar together until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time. Beat in the bananas and vanilla. Sift flour together with the baking soda and salt and add to the mixture alternately with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour. Fold in half of the macadamia nuts that are roughly chopped.
Pour the batter into the loaf pans (I like to add parchment paper so that it comes out more easily; see photo above), sprinkle the other half cup of whole macadamia nuts on top of the loaves, and bake for 50 minutes if you are using large loaf pans, or about 30 minutes for mini loaves. Check 10 minutes early to see if your knife comes out clean, as every oven is different. Cool slightly in the pan before turning the loaves out onto wire racks to cool completely.
Try it out! See if you like it and let me know what you think in the comments.