As I have said before, I am not a natural cook. I was not in the kitchen with my mom, and while my grandma let me can anything and everything with her, that was not daily meals. However, somewhere along the road, I found a love of baking. I know some folks kind of make up their recipes on the fly, but I'm not at that level. I need a recipe, and for those of you who also need a recipe, pull up a mixing bowl, and let's have some fun.
Today, I'm making banana nut bread. Why? Well, mostly because I was going to make some banana pudding for an event earlier this week, except that didn't happen, and the bananas got overly ripe, and who in their right mind is going to eat an overly ripe banana? (eewwww) So, I decided to make banana bread. First of all, it's easy. Second, I make muffins and leave some out in a tightly closed bowl for the kids to grab them when they want. Third, I freeze some of them for easy snacks. Just heat and eat.
Today I am using a recipe from one of my baking books. I looked up several recipes, and they all included ingredients I don't keep on hand, like buttermilk and wheat flour. I'm not going to buy specialty items because they tend to go bad, so I went with what I had.
Now you may be wondering about that bottle with the mix and the muffin pan. Yes, that is rum. Why? Two reasons:
1. I tasted the batter, and it tasted a bit fermented to me, so I decided to add some rum and fantasize about Bananas Foster.
2. I have two kids with headcolds. My God-loving grandma used to give us hot totties when we had colds and flu. It didn't kill the virus, but it relaxed you so you could breathe and sleep. So I figured a hot totty in muffin was perfect. Rum for relaxation and bananas for nutritional value. Good stuff. (Yes, that is my story, and I'm sticking to it.
One of the things I love about banana bread is that it makes great gifts for neighbors and friends or for church functions. However, a lot of folks are allergic to various kinds of nuts, so I cut those out. This time, however, I filled up two pans with batter without nuts, and then I added pecans to the rest of the batch. Why pecans? Because I didn't have walnuts. (look at me going rogue and changing the recipe on the fly!).
The recipe I used:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda (yep, powder and soda)
1 1/2 cup mashed bananas (3 large ripe bananas)
1/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter or margarine (1 stick, softened)
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 9"x5" metal loaf pan. In medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. In small bowl, stir together bananas, milk, and vanilla until blended.
2. In large bowl, with mixer at medium speed, beat butter and sugar until light and cream. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture alternately with milk mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture (I considered ending with milk just to see what happens), scraping bowl occasionally.
3. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake 2 hour 10 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center of bread comes out clean. Cool loaf in pan on wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan and cool completely on rack.
Note: I baked my muffins for 15 minutes, and I like how they came out. And, yes, of course I tried one. How else are you going to know it is good. You don't want to give away icky muffins, do you?
The ones on the left are the nutty ones. I just chopped my pecans up with a knife on a cutting board, but you can use a chopper or small food processor. I also mashed the bananas with a pastry cutter because it was easy, but I have used a potato masher, and that works well. I don't have to chase them as much as I do when I use a fork.
The ones on the right are the healthy hot totties. Unless you have a high tolerance for alcohol, you won't remember eating them, but I'll tell you how great they were later. ;-)
Seriously, you need to come over for coffee. These are so good!
I hope you've enjoyed our bonding over baking. Remember, when it comes to something you've always wanted to do but...well, you know.... Just because you've never done it, doesn't mean you can't do it. It just means you need to try.
Until next time....