Thursday, April 1, 2010

Baking Week #4

Baking With Angela Final Copy

Everyone needs a go-to banana bread recipe. Banana bread is a staple in my house, and I’ve always got at least one loaf kicking around in the freezer, just waiting to be thawed out and devoured. When I bake it, I never bake just one loaf. I usually bake two at a time, but I’ve baked up to five loaves at a time, so that I could give some away. My entire family is full of banana bread lovers, and until I started baking, we’d all wait until Christmas for my great grandma to show up with several loaves to give away. She baked the best banana bread I have ever tasted; so dark and moist that I start drooling as soon as it was mentioned. I had tried a half dozen recipes in an effort to recreate her recipe, and while they were good, they just weren’t the real deal. I was always nervous to ask my G.G. for the recipe, because it was rumored that if she didn’t want you to have the recipe, she would leave out an ingredient. I love my G.G. to bits and pieces, but this was the only time I was ever afraid of her, when asking for a recipe. Guess what? As I stated before (here), she gave it to me, along with her pumpkin pie recipe. I had gotten it just before Christmas, and the true test was going to be on Christmas, when the whole family sampled it. I was nervous, but it turns out I had nothing to fret. My banana bread turned out perfectly, and everyone loved it. See! Here’s my uncle proudly showing off my loaf! DArcybananabread I really struggled with sharing this recipe though. Even though when I got off the phone with G.G., I said aloud to no one in particular “This is it? These 7 ingredients are all it takes?”, I still worried about letting the “secret” out. Then someone on facebook talked about baking banana bread and freely gave this recipe away. Turns out there was no secret after all. So G.G., and any other family members that may be reading this, I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I’ll bake you a loaf of banana bread to make up for it.

Before we get to the recipe, let’s just talk bananas for a minute here. The key to a good loaf of banana bred is over-ripe bananas. Let them sit out on your counter until they turn black. You want them to be slimy even. I know it sounds gross, and it may even make your kitchen smell, but it’s worth it, trust me. You can buy over-ripe bananas at the grocery store for half off. I always stalk up on a bunch (I always buy my bananas in groups of three) and let them sit out a bit longer to achieve the ripeness I want. You can even toss them in a bag to speed up the process, but keep an eye on them, so they don’t go completely bad and you’re unable to use them. Then, I toss them in the freezer, peel and all. Whenever I want to bake a loaf, I thaw some out. There’s always bananas in my freezer.

Banana Bread Recipe

(Printable Recipe)

3 over ripe bananas
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup margarine
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
Banana Bread & Dads Cookies 042(I forgot to get a picture with the bananas, so pretend they’re here. Also, we’re trying to save money by buying no name margarine. *grumble grumble*)

1. Preheat oven to 350.
2.Mash bananas. (Either on a plate with a fork, or if they’ve been in the freezer, I have to do it in a bowl)
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3. Cream butter, sugar and eggs. Add in bananas.
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4. Mix in flour, salt and baking soda.
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I added in 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips (for a double batch) as well.
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5. Pour into greased loaf pans and bake for about an hour, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.Banana Bread & Dads Cookies 049
I always set my timer for 45 minutes, and then check from there. Keep an eye on it, if the top starts getting too dark for your liking, loosely cover with tin foil. Just keep in mind that this is naturally a dark loaf.
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My favorite way to eat it? Slathered with peanut butter, and sometimes a bit of honey. Best ever.

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