banana hazelnut pound cake

Banana Hazelnut Pound Cake | A Brown Table

Friends, I have a huge favor to ask of you. The nominations for Saveur magazine's annual food blog awards start today and if you like my work, I would be really grateful if you could take a moment to stop by drop my blog's name in their online ballot. Thank you so much for all your support and love thought the years! 

Now, let's get back to today's dessert, it's all about pound cakes. When I think of cakes that might fall into the comfort food/dessert category, I immediately think of pound cakes. They are simple to make and hearty, without the need for any fancy decorations (though you absolutely do something if you wanted to) and can be eaten as a snack or as a treat after a meal. Banana pound cakes are one of my favorites and this cake is extra special because it has one of my favorite nuts thrown in, hazelnuts! 

For all practical purposes when I bake with bananas they are generally overripe. The more ripe the banana, the sweeter the fruit and the aroma is even more intense. The fruity aroma associated with bananas comes from a chemical found in the fruit called isoamyl acetate. If you like to geek out on food biochemistry this paper has an interesting analysis on the different components of bananas and then there's this fun article on bananas from UCLA. Another fun fact about bananas, they are VERY, VERY, VERY and naturally mildly radioactive, they contain a radioactive form of potassium. You'd need to eat several thousands of bananas in one sitting to have any effect from radioactivity, so don't worry about it. 

Hazelnuts have one of the best aromatic flavors from a nut. I think I could consume them in any and every conceivable way. Most of the time, I drink black tea when I wake in the morning but when I do drink coffee, I'll get a hazelnut creamer to flavor it. Chocolate and hazelnuts are another fantastic combination (Nutella!). 

I'm guest posting over at my dear friend Valerie's blog Une Gamine Dans La Cuisine and sharing the recipe for this banana hazelnut pound cake. Valerie is one of my favorite bakers and she comes up with a lot of unique and fun flavors. When she asked me to share a recipe, I knew I would share one of my favorite desserts with some of my favorite flavors.

Banana Hazelnut Pound Cake | A Brown TableBanana Hazelnut Pound Cake | A Brown Table
Banana Hazelnut Pound Cake | A Brown Table
Banana Hazelnut Pound Cake | A Brown TableBanana Hazelnut Pound Cake | A Brown Table
Banana Hazelnut Pound Cake | A Brown Table

Here are some of my recipe tips when preparing this pound cake;

  • Use dark skinned overripe bananas for the best flavor. 
  • I used a trick I saw on America's Test Kitchen on PBS where they mashed the bananas and then microwaved them to release the liquid from the fruit. 
  • You can use raw or toasted hazelnuts in this recipe, they both work great. I kept the skin on to add more visual texture and flavor to the pound cake. 
Banana Hazelnut Pound Cake | A Brown Table

banana hazelnut pound cake recipe at Une Gamine Dans La Cuisine

rainbow chard rolls with sweet potato and chickpea stuffing

rainbow chard rolls with sweet potato and chickpea stuffing | A Brown Table

I'm off to Disney World to attend the Food Blog Forum, meet fellow bloggers, talk about food related stuff and make new friends. I've never been to either of the Disney spots in the country so this will be definitely be a new experience for me, one that I am looking forward to. On a side note, I kinda want to get Snoopy a lot of Mickey themed swag, I hope they have something for him that could become a halloween costume.

Folks, I have a guest post up and recipe for these stuffed rainbow stuffed chard rolls up at Whitney's lovely site, Jew Hungry. Whitney is one of the nicest bloggers form the West coast and her food is equally tasty. Ever since I saw these rainbow chards pop up at the market, I've been wanting to create a more winter inspired chard roll with Indian flavors. Plus sweet potatoes and green chickpeas are delicious to stuff things up with. So do head over to her site and give her some love.

rainbow chard rolls with sweet potato and chickpea stuffing | A Brown Table
rainbow chard rolls with sweet potato and chickpea stuffing | A Brown Table

milk and pistachio cookies

Milk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown Table

Just earlier this week, I was telling you guys about the impending doom of blood oranges going-out-of-season nightmare here but lo and behold, I checked the pot where I planted a dwarf morow blood orange tree and it's full of little flower buds that I'm hoping will bloom and give us some fruit next year! I'll be tending to those oranges like a protective hen watching over her chicks. Squirrels and bugs, stay away! 

This week, I have a little interview with Common Table Co where I'm sharing my thoughts on food and photography. I keep meaning to share this super useful post by Michelle who has made a pretty comprehensive collection of pie baking tips that you should check out and bookmark. 

I like milk flavored things and in cookies with tea, it's a bonus. I did a few experiments when making these whole-wheat cookies. I started with milk, then tried condensed milk and even evaporated milk but the flavor and sweetness from the milk were just not right plus, the more liquid you add the batter keeps getting messed up. I finally tried some non-fat dry milk powder which did the trick. It brought the flavor and natural sweetness of the milk into the cookie. These cookies aren't too sweet or buttery but they've got that nutty flavor from the pistachios along with the hint of milk. They're good with tea and/or coffee or just for those moments when you want a little treat. I strongly recommend adding pistachio extract but if it's hard to find use almond extract, the pistachio extract however really bumps the fragrance and flavor of the cookies. 

Milk and Pistachios Cookies | A Brown TableMilk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown Table
Milk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown TableMilk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown Table
Milk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown TableMilk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown Table
Milk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown TableMilk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown Table

Here are some of my kitchen tips when making these cookies;

  • Crush pistachios using a rolling pin in a small ziplock bag, less mess and it's easy. 
  • You can fold the pistachios in the mixer by mixing the final dough at low speed but I prefer the hand method, it gives me better control over the dough. 
  • Chill the dough before you bake, it will make give you a more flavorful and crispier cookie. 
Milk and Pistachio Cookies| A Brown Table

milk and pistachio cookies

yields: approximately 30 cookies 

ingredients 

1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

3/4 cup (5 7/25 ounces) sugar 

1 large egg, cold

1/2 teaspoon pistachio extract or almond extract

1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon (3/4 ounces) non-fat dry milk powder

2 cups (9 1/2 ounces) whole-wheat pastry flour 

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher sea salt

1/2 cup (2 1/8 ounces) pistachios, coarsely crushed

1. Place the butter and sugar in the mixing bowl of a stand mixer. Using the paddle attachment cream the butter and sugar on medium-low speed for about 4-5 minutes. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl using a silicone spatula. Then add the egg and continue to mix for another minute until combined. Add the pistachio/almond extract and mix for 10 seconds. 

2. In a large mixing bowl dry whisk all the dry ingredients from the milk powder to the salt. Add half of this mixture to the wet ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix on medium-low speed until almost combined. Then add the rest of the dry mix and mix until combined. Remove the dough and transfer the dough onto a cool surface such as a marble pastry board or a non-stick silicone pastry work surface or parchment paper. Flatten the dough with your hands and place the pistachios in the center. Fold the dough gently to combine the pistachios. 

3. Take a clean sheet of 12" X 16" parchment paper. Shape the dough into a log that is around 12" in length. Wrap the roll with the parchment paper starting from one end by rolling the paper over the dough. Wrap the roll with clingfilm, place it on a baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 4 hours to overnight. 

4. To bake, place a wire rack in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 350F.  Remove the cookie dough roll from the refrigerator and using a sharp serrated bread knife cut the dough into 1 cm thick individual cookies. Place the cookies on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a baking silicone mat, about 1 inch apart from each other. Bake one set of cookies at a time in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes until the edges just start to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and carefully transfer the cookies to a wire rack to cool completely before storing in an airtight container.