Thursday, September 4, 2014

Banana Bread

One of my favorite things to do in the kitchen, is bake.  I love reading over a recipe, and adding a little of this, taking a little of this out, thinking, "Hum...this is good, but how would it be if I changed this??  I'm going to try this next time!"
And, yes, you could do that with any recipe, to do it with a baked good, to me, is to really make it your own.  
Baking does need to be an exact science, with the basics.  You can't take out a cup of flour, and expect the recipe to behave the same, but you can, for example, add chocolate chips, and have a whole new experience with a recipe!  

I love banana bread.  This recipe is drop-dead easy.  I don't even break out my mixer for this.  I just use a wooden spoon, and a medium sized mixing bowl (and, of course, loaf pans...).  That's how easy this recipe is.  If you love banana bread as much as I do, or even just like it, give this recipe a try; I promise, it will quickly become a family favorite.

Here's your grocery list for this one:
3-4 very ripe bananas
1/3 C melted unsalted butter
1 C sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 C All purpose flour
Pinch of Kosher salt
1 Generous cup of chocolate chips (an overflowing cup...roughly 10 oz or so)
Lets get started!!  To start off with, preheat your oven to 350*, crack your egg into your mixing bowl, lightly beat it; then take your tomorrow-you-would-throw-them-away ripe bananas, peel them, and put them in your mixing bowl.  I like to mash them up with the sugar; the grit of the sugar helps the bananas to mash up easier, not that they're going to give you much trouble to begin with.  

I like to leave some chunks of banana in my mix, it leaves a nice little surprise for those eating the finished product, to find a little bite of banana in the bread, but go on and mash away as much, or as little as you would like.  Once you're happy with that, stir in the melted butter, just until thoroughly combined. 

Once you're happy with this, dump in the flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.  Don't worry about sifting it, just dump it all in and stir it until it the flour is just incorporated.  Fold in your chocolate chips at this point, and you're done!  Seriously.  This takes about 10 minutes to bring together.  

As you can see, I like to line my loaf pans with aluminum foil, just to make sure the finished bread will easily slide out of the pan.  Once your pan is ready, slide this into the oven for 1 hour, or until you can insert a toothpick into the center, and it comes out clean.  After just a few minutes in the oven, your house will smell amazing. 

After an hour, here is the beautiful, golden brown bread that comes out.  This comes out perfectly every time.  If you don't like chocolate chips, leave them out!  There are almost endless ways you could dress this bread up!  Some added chopped pecans would be lovely, or walnuts, or you could easily add in some dried fruit of your choice, for a different route all together!  This is what I call a good "base" recipe.  You have the amounts of the items you have to have in this recipe (the flour, the baking powder, the egg, etc), but you can take out the cinnamon if you wanted, or the chocolate chips and put in whatever else you wanted along those lines!  Play with it, and make it your own!