"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chocolate vs. Banana

I've avoided chocolate as a confection, as it's a mug's game. Too many have done it too well for too long; there's nothing that hasn't been tried and perfected. Plus, people don't really know or care what they're getting.

Chocolate by itself is unpleasant. It takes a ton of sugar to make it palatable, but then its complexities appear. The things that are added to it generally detract from its flavor. Vanilla is an exception, as it adds a flowery note otherwise missing. Coffee removes roasted bitterness. Almonds remove nuttiness. Cherries remove sourness and fruitiness. There's no variation in temperatures (mint and pepper/cinnamon/ginger can make up for some of that) and little in textures. The main positive attribute is that it melts in the mouth, but most people eat it too fast too notice.

On the opposite end of the flavor world is banana. It's quiet and not very weighty, which makes it difficult to make into candy, which mutes flavors still further. One can buy banana extract or banana oil or the chemical isoamyl acetate (one of the main flavor components), but these miss some of the flavors of the fruit.

There are no good banana candies. You can buy chocolate-covered bananas (which use coating compound, which isn't even chocolate), so it should be possible to make a banana/chocolate candy. The trick is to not let the chocolate overwhelm the flavor, so my plan was to make a banana candy, which could be dipped in a robe of chocolate.

This is what I got. It doesn't look like much, but it's candy gold (it's also under a yellowish light):
One takes a banana (I searched out some of the more exotic types) and roasts it in its skin like a plantain, caramelizing its sugars, then removes the pulp and mashes it with cream. Then that mixture is repeatedly frozen and thawed to break open the cell walls. The result is passed through a sieve and the solids further extracted with rum-based vanilla extract and then with heated cream. Sugar is added and the mass is heated to soft ball stage and rapidly cooled, aerated with frappe and agitated until set.

It's good as is, but cut into shapes, coated with dark chocolate and garnished with a macadamia nut, it's spectacular.


joyRuN said...

85% cacao is as dark as I can get for chocolate - anything higher than that tastes not so good to me.

Geez - how long did it take you to make that? The process sounded so very chemistry scientific complicated.

wildknits said...


Talking about food like that and not sharing!

I think you should pack the car with the leftovers and head north for a nice little trail run on Saturday. I'll trade you a tour of some Duluth area trails for a taste of your latest creation.

Diana said...

That sounds amazing! I have never liked banana-flavored anything, but I would go for this. The description makes it seem like the banana flavor would be incredibly subtle.
Where did you get good bananas in Minnesota? My friend who lived in Nigeria swears up and down it is impossible to find a truly delicious banana in America. The fruit has to travel too far to be picked ripe and therefore the flavor is compromised.

trailgrrl said...

omg I love chocolate and I love bananas..and I am now very hungry and do not have either thing on hand...drats..