Friday, July 26, 2013

going bananas

I try not to bake anymore, because it's just like Field of Dreams: If I bake it, I will it eat.  Ok, so that's not exactly the quote from the movie, but the prophecy gets fulfilled in much the same way.  The other day however, I was forced to bake.  Forced, I tell you.  The bananas made me.  The sneaky guys looked bright yellow and cheery, but inside they were mushy, ripe way past their prime.  I refused to let them go without putting them to work so of course I did the only thing I could: I made banana bread.  With chocolate in it, cause chocolate makes everything better.

The look so innocent don't they?  Never trust a banana...

Make some chocolatey banana mischief yourself...

Aside from re-purposing otherwise un-ingestible produce, the great thing about banana bread is that I can pretty much guarantee you have what you need to make it in your cupboard already.  And if not, just make it up.  No baking soda?  Just use baking powder and add extra.  Only have olive oil?  It'll work just fine.  Go ahead, check your cupboard now, I bet you're good to go.

Here's what you'll need (recipe adapted from smitten kitchen):

3 or 4 offensively ripe bananas
1 egg
1/3 c. olive oil
1/3 c. blonde sugar (or your sweetener of choice.  Adjust amount as needed)
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda (again, I didn't have it, so I used 3 tsp. baking powder and it worked just fine)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 175° C.  Mash the bananas, mix them with the wet ingredients, add the dry ones.  I will say that because my sneaky bananas were waaay past overripe, the entire loaf turned out a bit too sweet for my taste, even with only 1/3 cup of sugar in there.  So take that into consideration.  Fun fact: as bananas ripen, their starch turns into sugar, so they get progressively sweeter and sweeter.  If yours are beyond slightly mushy, adjust the sugar in the recipe accordingly. 

Once that's all mixed up, the fun begins.  Toss in your favorites: nuts, chocolate chips, dried fruit, whatever your heart desires.  I found these amazing caramelized cocoa nibs from the Farmer's Market in Madison and knew that was just the kick my quick bread needed.

Don't they look wonderful?  They're kind of sweet, kind of bitter, kind of crunchy, kind of chewy, and all kinds of awesome.

Pour your delicious batter into a loaf pan. 

And now, while it bakes, lick your spoon.  And the entire bowl too.  No point in letting any of it go to waste.

Your banana bread will be ready after about 40 minutes, when the tester comes out clean.  Wait about 10 minutes and then flip it and free it, leaving it on a cooling rack until it's room temperature.

Who are we kidding.  Resist as long as you can.  And then go for it.  It should be crackled and crusty on top, soft and moist and crumby on the inside.

 Delicious!  What will you put in your banana bread?


  1. I don't know where I heard it from but banana bread is one of the hardest things you can make. I don't bake - I'm just not a cook or a baker but I saw a recipe in a magazine for banacake cake/loaf and I had a go at it and it was the heaviest brick you could ever imagine. It looked gorgeous on the outside and was heavy and uncooked through on the inside despite following the instructions. Personally, I think it was the instructions that were at fault - it should have said something about having butter at room temperature to make it much easier to work with instead of me trying to bash the living daylights out of it. I'm also not very good at following instructions :o)

    Yours looks much better than mine.

    1. Huh, I've never thought of banana bread as hard to make. Maybe cause I never used butter? :) I always go with a light oil, and have even tried it with applesauce instead and it always works just fine. I say give it another shot, I think you were using an overly complicated and odd recipe. They don't call them quick breads for nothing! PS - I'm not very good at following instructions either, which is why I pretty much improvise everything in the kitchen, but once you have a few decent loaves under your belt you should be able to just wing it.

    2. What is the "c" measurement? I know the tsp and tbsp stuff but not the "c".


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