Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Banana Bread

Tonight I made my first dessert in preparation for Saturday. I opened up my tattered and beat up blue binder of recipes,And turned to this sloppy recipe that is inexplicably labeled "JD2"  . . . law student code for "banana bread recipe copied onto closest piece of scrap paper while talking to my mom." 
First step, chop up about a cup of nuts. This time, inspired by this blog post, I decided to try almonds instead of my usual walnuts or pecans. My photos aren't as beautiful and I don't have almond oil but I did take a few suggestions to augment my normal recipe.
To start, measure 2 1/2 cups of flour into a medium sized mixing bowl.Add 1 teaspoon of salt.
Next, I add a few spices: Cinnamon - apparently my new jar is from Vietnam. Not sure if that is an advantage or what but I add 1 to 2 teaspoons. And depending on how I feel, sometimes as much as 1 tablespoon.
Then reach for the nutmeg, which isn't quite so fancy or well traveled.
And add about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of the nutmeg.Next, pull out your ground cloves.
I used a large pinch, but not quite this much.
Finally, add 1 cup of sugar and sift everything together. I should mention here that while this time I added the sugar to the dry ingredients, sometimes I actually add it to the bananas. I don't know if it really makes a difference. At any rate, set the mix of dry ingredients aside for now.
Next up, turn to your bananas. If you are like me, you are never quite ready to make banana bread when your bananas are ready to be used. So I toss my blackened, over-ripe bananas in the freezer until I am ready for them. They come out looking like this:Unpeel three of these guys. I find it best to let them thaw while I'm blending the dry ingredients, then you can just squish them a bit and the peel comes right off.
You can probably easily mush these by hand but I cheat and use my Cuisinart. Because I like using my Cuisinart for everything. I cannot begin to tell you how much I love this food processor. My mom has had hers for 15 to 20 years. And it still works great! 
Next up, you need a couple of eggs.
But we also need to add 1/2 cup shortening so I am going to share a little secret with you. You know how annoying it is to measure shortening? Okay, I should amend that statement. You know how annoying it is to measure shortening if you can only get it in these stupid tubs instead of those nifty sticks that are never available in NYC? Well, to make the process easier, crack one of those eggs directly into the measuring cup, swish it around and plop it into a small holding pen bowl.That way, when you scoop your shortening into the cup, 
It will easily slide right back out without the gloopy mess. Just add the 1/2 cup of shortening to the bananas.
Back to the eggs. This shot is just so you can see my coordination - cracking an egg with one hand, taking a photo with the other. In elementary school I wanted to learn how to crack an egg with one hand because someone (Ma or Mary maybe?) from Little House on the Prairie did it. I accomplished that goal at a very young age and I'm proud to report, I've still got it.
Beat the 2 eggs.Then add the eggs to the banana mix and blend well.
Next, taking inspiration from Joy the Baker, I added 1/2 tablespoon of bourbon some friends left at my house that I had no idea what to do with. I usually add a teaspoon of vanilla to my recipe so I figured this was a fair swap.
Then add the flour mixture to the banana mix and blend well.
If you aren't a fan of nuts you can stop right here. But if you are a nut like me, add the almonds.
Cream everything together until the nuts are thoroughly incorporated. If you do this in a food processor just be careful about how long you mix because your nuts may disappear when you look away. Like mine did.After some consideration, I couldn't resist adding some chocolate chips to half the batter. These Guittard large chocolate chips are my favorite.
See why I like these so much? I didn't measure, just tossed in a cup or so. 
Prep your loaf pans by spraying thoroughly with Pam. I really like these mini-silicone pans but two regular loaf pans work just as well.
Since quick breads don't rise too much, I fill the pans pretty much to the top.
Oh, you probably didn't need to know my taste test secrets . . . but taste testing is an important part of the process.

Throw the pans in an oven preheated to 400 degrees for about 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let the  bread cool briefly in the pan.
Then dump them onto a wire rack to cool. This is why I love the silicone pans, the bread slides out very easily.
You can let the bread hang out on the wire rack uncovered or . . . 
covered 
If you aren't ready to devour the bread quite yet, you can wrap the loaves in saran wrap and tin foil while they are still warm and toss them in the freezer to save for later. These mini-loaves actually make great neighbor gifts during the holidays.

Banana Bread
3 ripe bananas
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup shortening
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
a pinch of ground cloves
1/2 cup nuts

400 degrees for 45 minutes

6 comments:

goooooood girl said...

your blog is very fine......

enjoy-rs said...

I like you blog very much!!!

Vanessa The Scientist said...

I'm salivating! I think you should do another giveaway and have a loaf as your prize!

I really enjoy ypur recipe posts. I feel like I'm watching a cooking show! I'm writing down the recipe right......now.

Tiffany said...

Drool. Wipe. Drool.

Ma said...

My Cusinart is more like 25 to 30 years old and very well used.

hovergirl said...

if this turns out amazing, I will accept accolades for leaving bourbon at your house. it sounds amazing!

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