This jam is delicious on biscuits, toast, scones, yogurt, ice cream and is another great use for ripe bananas!
Banana jam? Oh my goodness, YES!!
Back in March, I received a really fun email. It was an invitation from KitchenAid to "a retreat" in Nashville. It didn't take me long to RSVP to the awesome opportunity. I mean really, who (if they have any kind of culinary affection) wouldn't love to spend a few days immersed in all things KitchenAid?
So, in mid-April, I packed a suitcase and headed to Music City. There were twelve bloggers in attendance from all over the country, and it was really fun getting acquainted with these talented foodies. The two days we spent together were beyond incredible; we not only experienced the wonderful food scene in Nashville, but were given the opportunity to learn about all the latest equipment the ingenious team from KitchenAid had been dreaming up.
One of the highlights of the retreat was the day we spent at The Food Sheriff, a state-of the-art test kitchen, equipped with all the latest KitchenAid equipment. The morning was spent with Chef Jonathan Waxman, who has received the 2016 James Beard award; Best Chef: New York City for his restaurant, Barbuto. He gave us a wonderful cooking class and prepared an amazing meal for everyone to enjoy. We also had the pleasure of visiting Adele's, Jonathan's Nashville restaurant one evening. I'll be sharing my favorite recipe from Adele's in a future post.
And the afternoon? It was almost too good to be true. Try to envision the fun that would result from twelve foodies loose in a kitchen with every dream machine imaginable! That's how we spent the afternoon. The wonderful folks from KitchenAid had arranged to have all kinds of fresh and staple ingredients available for us to work with.
They gave us free reign in this incredibly equipped kitchen. We mixed, shredded, blended, pureed, simmered, sautéed, diced and baked our way through the afternoon. Had you been a little birdie in the room, you might have laughed at the excitement as we tried each new piece of equipment. You also might have gone crazy over the delicious aromas wafting from The Food Sheriff that day.
My friend Julie, from Lovely Little Kitchen (check out her blog, it's "lovely"!) worked together in creating some Blueberry White Chocolate Cookies as one of our projects that afternoon. Everyone thought they were quite tasty!
After Julie returned from Nashville, she shared the recipe on her blog. She also caught a few fun pictures from The Food Sheriff that day:
What about the Caramelized Banana Jam? Oh yes, you definitely don't want me to forget that!
The morning we arrived at The Food Sheriff, there was a fabulous breakfast awaiting us, catered by a delightful Nashville restaurant called Biscuit Love. The spread was amazing; fresh fruit, yogurt, granola, eggs, candied bacon and tall, tender, flaky, melt-in-your-mouth biscuits. There was butter and several kinds of jam to go along with the biscuits. One of them was an intriguing caramel color and was labeled "Caramelized Banana Jam". Hmmm... I took a little scoop. I make lots of jams and jellies, but I'd never heard of banana jam.
Oh my! - no one at our table could believe how delicious it was! We remarked that it tasted like Bananas Foster, but in jam form! I made a mental note to try to figure out this amazing condiment once I returned home.
I didn't get to it right away, but several weeks ago, I remembered the wonderful jam. I figured there would be lots of experimenting to do in order to get it right, but guess what? I discovered that Biscuit Love had actually shared the recipe with The Cooking Channel and it was available online. Woohoo! I didn't waste much time before I was whipping up a batch..
The jam was as delicious as I remembered and we've enjoyed it with our morning yogurt, on Ridiculously Easy Buttermilk Biscuits, scones and spooned (warm) over ice cream and sliced, fresh bananas (amazing!). I've also given it as gifts and everyone seems to love it.
The recipe calls for about 3 cups of ripe bananas, water and sugar. The water and sugar are combined and cooked till caramelized, then the bananas are added and the mixture is simmered till thick and beautiful. After cooking, a splash of vanilla and fresh lime juice is added. It's a seemingly simple procedure but the caramelizing can be a bit tricky. The water/sugar mixture can easily crystalize and, if you aren't keeping a super close eye on it, can turn from beautifully caramelized to badly burned, in the blink of an eye (I know both of these from experience!). I played with the recipe a bit and came up with an easier way to caramelize the sugar. I used my microwave, and found it's much less likely to crystalize and/or burn.
Banana bread, move over! You've got a rival - now there's another delicious way to use up ripe bananas!
Whip up a batch. I have a feeling you'll also be saying, "Oh my goodness, YES!!"
P.S. I've been using and loving KitchenAid equipment since the mid 1980's when Scott got me my first stand mixer. I was thrilled and stayed up all night, playing with it. I've had lots of other KitchenAid equipment since, and have loved them all. Over the years, I've called myself, "A KitchenAid girl" - now it's official, I got this fun little badge in Nashville!
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
- 5 medium ripe bananas* see notes
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Combine sugar and water in a large (2 quart) microwave safe (pyrex)** bowl. Stir gently to combine. Cover bowl tightly with plastic wrap***, then poke 6-8 holes in plastic wrap to creating venting. Place bowl in microwave and cook on high power for 10 minutes.
While the sugar/water mixture is cooking in microwave, thinly slice bananas. You want 3 cups total. Place bananas in a medium-large pot.
After 10 minutes, mixture in microwave will be just barely turning color. Continue cooking for 2 minutes at a time until mixture is golden brown. Watch carefully during these last 5 minutes. Amount of time will depend on your microwave. Mine takes around 14-15 minutes to cook to a beautiful golden brown color.
When mixture is golden brown, CAREFULLY remove from microwave with oven mitts. Mixture will be very hot! Holding bowl away from your face, pull back plastic wrap and immediately pour mixture into pot with bananas. Do not try to scrape the bowl as there may be some sugar crystals on the edges of the bowl. Just pour in as much as you can.
Set empty bowl aside to cool for a 10 minutes, then fill with hot water and soak to clean.
Cook banana mixture on medium heat till bubbly then reduce heat to a constant but low simmer and cook till jam is thickened and bananas begin to break down and become translucent. This usually takes about 15-20 minutes.
Add the salt and remove from the heat. Stir in the lime juice and vanilla. Allow to cool slightly, then transfer to small clean jars. Serve with warm biscuits, toast, yogurt, ice cream… The jam will keep in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
Yields about 3 cups of jam.
Recipe Adapted from The Cooking Channel
* You want the bananas to be ripe but not soft and mushy. They can have lots of brown sugar spots but shouldn't be black. Don't try to use bananas that are still green in spots. They don't make a good banana jam.
** After one reader tried the recipe and her bowl broke, I'm amending the recipe to say microwave safe "pyrex" bowl. Pyrex is made for to be heat proof and safe in the microwave. The only thing you want to be careful of with Pyrex, is not submitting it big temperature changes, for example from the microwave to the freezer.
*** I recommend using a high quality plastic wrap that is suitable for the microwave. Most of the name brand wraps you find in the market have been test and will be labeled microwave-safe. You could also lay a piece of parchment paper over the top of the bowl for a similar effect.