On a recent visit to Hawaii’s Mauna Kea Beach Hotel, I was reminded of what makes a resort so special. White sand beaches, a blue-tiled swimming pool overlooking the sea and paths to walk near the ocean offer up memories galore.
Morning began with an extravagant breakfast buffet served on the oceanfront patio. My server offered me a slice of banana bread, presented in a napkin-wrapped basket. The bread awakened a taste memory that I had first enjoyed at the Mauna Kea decades ago on a family vacation. One bite and I was thrown back to the late 1960s, when my family visited the resort when it opened.
The chef said the secret to its intense taste was using blackened bananas for a fuller, richer, sweet banana flavor. This tasty tea bread has a distinctly exotic accent and is fit for breakfast, brunch or tea.
Don’t worry if you feel like whipping this up and you don’t have ripe bananas. Put the unpeeled bananas on a baking sheet and place them in a 250-degree oven for about 15 to 20 minutes until they are blackened and soft. Let them cool, then peel the bananas and continue with the recipe. I make this bread in a food processor, but you can also use an electric mixer. To toast the walnuts, place them on a baking sheet. Toast them for 5 to 7 minutes or until the walnuts are fragrant and golden brown. Then let them cool.
Contact Diane Rossen Worthington at www.seriouslysimple.com.
Mauna Kea Beach Hotel Banana Bread
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large, very ripe bananas
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
Grease and flour a 9-by-5-inch nonstick loaf pan.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together into a bowl. Set aside.
Puree the bananas in a food processor. Add the sugars, oil and eggs to the mashed bananas and process about 3 minutes or until light yellow and airy.
Gradually add the flour mixture and process until well incorporated. Add the vanilla and walnuts, and pulse a few times until incorporated. Transfer to the prepared pan.
Bake at 350 degrees for 55 minutes to 1 hour or until a pick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for an hour. Invert onto a platter, slice and serve.
Yield: 1 loaf.