Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Something Smells Good in Here

I love to cook, but I especially love to bake. Except cookies. For some unknown reason, I cannot make good chocolate chip cookies to save my life. The dough tastes great (which is the real reason I make cookies) and the cookies usually taste fine, but somehow they always turn out really messed up. If being graded, I'd get an F on presentation.

Anyway, I get super excited when I find a recipe that is not only easy to follow but actually turns out well. I have not had much luck in this area lately. Let's just say that me and Rachel Ray's Everyday magazine aren't on speaking terms. I tried two recipes out of the latest issue, a soup and a pasta, and both tasted like onion. The pasta wasn't even the least bit edible. Since then, I've been been hesitant to try new recipes I've come across.

I apparently had bananas on my counter too long, as a new swarm of fruit flies threatened to overtake my kitchen, so I decided to toss the overripe fruit in the fridge until I decided what to do with them. Since fall has arrived, I've been in comfort food-mode and ended up making banana bread. I needed a recipe so I called my mom, who spent the next 30 minutes (while still on the phone) going through a pile of scrap pieces of paper with random recipes scrawled on them. I gave up. I turned to the Internet and was delighted at what I found.

Below is the recipe I used to make one of the most decadent banana breads I've ever had. I found it on Food Network's website. I had everything on hand and it was really simple to put together. I'm not a big nut-in-my-food person, but I did sprinkle some sliced almonds on top of the batter that ended up adding a nice, finishing flavor. But as it happened, they all ended up in the middle of the loaf, looking like a nut mohawk.

BTW--This bread smelled AWESOME as it was baking!!


Cook Time: 60-70 minutes Yield: 1 Loaf

1 cup granulated sugar
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
3 ripe bananas
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 9 x 5 x 3 inch loaf pan.

Cream the sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

In a small bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. Mix in the milk and cinnamon. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Add the banana mixture to the creamed mixture and stir until combined. Add dry ingredients, mixing just until flour disappears.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Remove bread from pan, invert onto rack and cool completely before slicing.

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