Treasuring The Journey

Treasuring the journey through life, one footstep at a time.

Baking in the New Year – Banana Bread January 2, 2011

Filed under: Cooking — Treasuring The Journey @ 12:17 PM
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Hello Everyone,

It has been a while since I posted, life just seemed to get busy with, well, life. Work was hectic, Christmas swooped in really quick, I got sick, blah blah blah. The blog suffered as a result. Boo on me, but I am back in the saddle again and ready to make 2011 a great year, which will include regular blog posts about whatever is happening. I hope each of you is enjoying 2011 so far and that this year is full of blessings for everyone. 2010 was a great year for me – engaged, married, pregnant all in that order and all within the 1st half of the year. The second half of 2010 has been all about pregnancy which so far has been a great experience. I also started my blog in the second half of 2010 so that is an added bonus. 🙂 Here’s to a great 2011! WOO HOO!

On the 1st day of the year, I decided to don my chef hat and try out a new recipe. I had some VERY, VERY, VERY RIPE bananas that either needed to be added to the compost bin or I need to use them in a recipe. I opted to try them in a recipe. I whipped out my cookbook “Six Ingredients of Less” by Carlean Johnson and looked for a banana bread or muffin recipe. You can buy the cookbook here. I highly recommend this cookbook for someone who is learning their way around the kitchen. Most recipes are extremely easy! I found a recipe for Banana Bread and I had all six ingredients: butter, sugar, very ripe bananas, eggs, baking soda, and flour. YEA! No trip to the grocery store!

Here I have all the ingredients set out. Check out those black bananas! I told you they were VERY, VERY, VERY RIPE!

First, I combined the butter and sugar (1st taste test was yummy), then I added the bananas and eggs. No more taste tests for me due to the raw eggs. The recipe called for 2 cups of very raw bananas. I did not measure how much I actually had, I only had 3 very ripe bananas so that is what I used. It looked like it was close to 2 cups worth. Up to this point I had been mixing by hand. Upon adding the baking soda and flour, I had to bring out the big guns…the electric mixer. My hands/wrists hurt (pregnancy issue) and therefore mixing a bigger load by hand was out of the question. I used the mixer on the lowest setting so that my flour did not go everywhere (I learned this lesson on a previous cooking attempt a while back and had flour everywhere, while funny, it was messy to clean up).

Here is my minimal mess to clean-up once I was done mixing. Not too bad!

The recipe says it will make 2 loaves of bread, but I only had one 9x5x3 loaf pan so I opted to make one loaf of bread and the rest in muffins. I sprayed both pans with some Pam cooking spray to avoid sticking. Note to self and to you – use muffin pan liners…it is easier and you won’t have the same burnt edge issue I ended up with. I filled the loaf pan about 1/2 full and popped it into the oven. 350 degrees for 50 minutes. I next filled the muffin cups about 2/3rds full and put those in the other oven. 400 degrees for 10 minutes. In the recipe book, the recipe below the Banana Bread recipe was for cornbread muffins and called for the 400 degree temperature for 10 minutes so that is why I used that setting. I was WRONG! I should have used a lower temperature.

*On a side note, after I had poured the batter for the loaf bread, I decided to add some chopped pecans for the muffins. I stirred in about 1/2 cup of pecans.

The bread turned out BEAUTIFUL and it tasted YUMMY! Betty Crocker would be pleased! I was pleasantly surprised at my success. The muffins, well, not so great. If you like the edges of your muffins a bit crispy then you would love these muffins. I prefer very soft, no crisp muffins, so after cutting off the edges I was able to eat them. They were yummy on the inside. I concluded that the non-stick cooking spray that I used pooled on the edges of the muffins and that is what actually burned. So I probably used an excess amount of cooking spray and too high of a temperature that resulted in my burnt crispy muffins.

Ooo La La Banana Bread:

Here is the bread after Day 1 – we have eaten almost half of it. I ate two slices with a glass of milk while typing this post. 🙂

Lessons Learned:
1. If making muffins, use a lower temperature, 300-350 degrees should suffice.
2. Use a larger mixing bowl than I originally select. I almost invariably pick a bowl that is too small to mix everything in and have to dump my ingredients halfway through into a larger bowl. This happened to me in this recipe as well.
3. Use muffin liners, don’t bother with the cooking spray.

Here is the full recipe:
Banana Bread
– 1 cup butter, softened
– 1 3/4 cups sugar
– 2 cups mashed very ripe bananas
– 4 large eggs, well beaten
– 2 teaspoons baking soda
– 2 1/4 cups flour
(makes 2 loaves)

1. In a LARGE mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar. Add bananas and eggs.
2. Combine baking soda and flour. Add to banana mixture, stirring by hand, until flour is moistened.
3. Pour batter into two sprayed 9x5x3-inch loaf pans.
4. Bake 50-55 minutes or until tester inserted in center comes out clean.
5. Run knife around edge and turn out immediately. Cool on a rack.

So, try this recipe when you have some of those yucky, I mean yummy, very ripe black bananas. The result is quite tasty! I will definitely be making this recipe in the future as we seem to always end up with some very ripe bananas. My mother-in-law advised that when I only have one very ripe banana, to stick it in a ziplock bag and toss it into the freezer. Once I have enough to make the recipe, let the bananas thaw and they are ready to use in the recipe. 🙂 Thanks, Nanette, for the tip!

Have a great Sunday everyone! Tomorrow it is back to the grindstone!