Monday, February 28, 2022

The King Cake Gift, and Coconut Flour Banana Chocolate Chip Bread

A few weeks ago, during staff meeting, my colleagues and I were reminiscing about pre-pandemic times in the dining hall, when the staff would put together a Mardi Gras spread like you've never seen: shellfish, po'boys, king cake, beads, you name it. We figured that the likelihood of a Mardi Gras celebration this year is pretty low, given that the dining hall has been short-staffed, supply chains have been unpredictable, and everyone is just plain old weary. I started waxing rhapsodic about king cakes, pining away for one, and one of our colleagues mentioned her friend's recommendation of Haydel's, which she said was the best king cake there was: totally authentic New Orleans.

I decided that I needed to order a king cake to lift everyone's mood. A real king cake, from New Orleans, from one of the famous king cake bakeries.

Except I didn't act on my plan until it was waaaaay too late to order  in time for Mardi Gras, at least from any of the big bakeries.

I took to Facebook, to see if I could find someone in the New Orleans area to pick one up and ship it. People had all kinds of good ideas (Goldbelly, etc.), but most of them were dead ends. Except one.

One of my friends suggested that I get in touch with a friend of hers, a "good guy," she said; "I bet he'd do it." So I messaged him, telling him that he didn't know me from Adam, but would he be willing to pick up and send me a king cake, and I'd venmo him whatever he wanted?

To my utter surprise, he said yes, sure, he'd do it. And, it turns out, his neighbor owns a coffee shop (hey, if you live in New Orleans, drop in and say hi from me, OK?) which gets regular king cake deliveries from Nonna Randazzos, one of the other big king cake bakeries.

When he told his neighbor about my crazy scheme, he gave him a king cake to send to me. He told me not to worry about the cake, and just sent me the receipt for shipping.

And so four days later, there I was, sitting in our staff meeting, with a fresh king cake from New Orleans.

And: I found the baby.

With all of the shit going on in the world right now, with so much pain and suffering and war and violence, that king cake was a glimmer of hope and faith in humanity.

I didn't take any pictures of it, because it was too tasty, and we gobbled it up. But I'll leave you with coconut flour banana bread, which I made this weekend, and which is also pretty tasty, and because, chocolate.

Happy Mardi Gras, everyone. Lassaiz les bontemps rouler. The world sure could use some.

Coda: the dining hall did Mardi Gras after all. Jamabalaya, king cake and all.

Coconut Flour Banana Chocolate Chip Bread
adapted from detoxinista
For a while I was feeding this to my son for breakfast, telling myself that it was healthy and full of protein. You can tell yourself that, too.

3 very ripe bananas
3/4 cup coconut flour
5 large eggs
1/3 cup coconut sugar (light brown sugar works fine too)
1 t. ground cinnamon 
1 t. baking soda 
1 t. baking powder 
1/4 t. fine sea salt
1 t. vanilla extract
A generous handful of mini chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350ºF and line a 9-inch by 5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, mash the bananas. Add the coconut flour, eggs, coconut sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and vanilla. Whisk the batter together well, breaking up any lumps so a smooth batter is formed.

Pour the batter into the lined loaf pan and bake until the center of the loaf has risen and started to crack, feeling firm to the touch, about 45 to 55 minutes. Remove the parchment onto a rack and cool completely before slicing and serving.

Because this loaf is moist, be sure to store it in an airtight container in the fridge. It should last a week or so; you can freeze it, too, for a few weeks.

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  1. Oh, I love how so many people worked to give you the King Cake so you could act on your generous impulse to treat your colleagues!

    1. It was such a moment of positivity. :) And the cake was really delicious.

  2. What a wonderful story. And you got the baby!

    For sure this: Lassaiz les bontemps rouler.

    Thinking of you. Hope you are doing well.

    1. Hanging in, my friend. Holding on to the glimmers of hope and light. I hope you are doing well, too. <3


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