Friday, November 18, 2011

Going Banana(s) Bread

Whoops! Wrote this post in September but forgot to hit "Publish."

My imaginary self cooks best alone in a peaceful, sunny kitchen. She measures spices and stirs sauces in a meditative and tranquil state.  One chef in the kitchen, humming a happy tune, baking making magic with flour and whisk.

Reality thus far has been that I start several new-to-me dishes all at once, quickly fall behind my timetable, realize I'll never make the scheduled dinner time without assistance, and I have to ask my husband in to help me finish the meal.

So I'm used to help in the kitchen, but it's usually a last minute, For goodness' sake, HELP ME! kind of help.

This past week I had a whole new-to-me kind of kitchen assistant, one of the small child variety. I had the incredible desire to make banana bread (several rapidly softening--dare we say oozing on a food blog?--bananas on the counter can be quite inspiring). My toddler was in need of an indoor amusement (weather went from 80s to 50s overnight). We picked the recipe from Joy of Cooking and started to stir.

Who will help me bake the bread? She will!!

Success! The banana bread itself was fine. Normal. Fine. But the time spent measuring, stirring, pouring, scraping? Fabulous. One of the most enjoyable times I've spent with my daughter in recent months. She loved it. I loved it. Guess we've found a recipe for mother/daughter success.

Banana Bread
from Joy of Cooking

Have all ingredients at room temperature, 68-70 F
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven.
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
Grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 (6 cup) loaf pan.

Whisk together

  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

In a large bowl, beat on high speed until lightened in color and texture, 2 to 3 minutes:

  • 5 1/3 Tbls unsalted butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar

Beat in the four mixture until blended and the consistency of brown sugar. Gradually beat in:

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten

Fold in just until combined:

  • 1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (about 2)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans [I omitted these. Why ruin baked goods with nuts?]

Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 60 mins. Let cool in the pan on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes before unmolding to cool completely on the rack.

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