Sunday, April 18, 2010

Rainy Day Racin' and Bakin'

The sound of rain woke me this morning. I rolled over and went back to sleep.

A smiling sleep I had. Then I ran...in the rain. Running in the rain for me is like Singing in the Rain is for Gene Kelly...not that a manly-man like me would know anything about musicals...or anything like that, you know what I'm sayin', right?

Now I bake (in my hotel kitchenette), and watch NASCAR.

I think I'm an oxymoron.

A cool, gray, rainy day and the smell of banana bread seem to be a great marriage. Not that I'm an authority on great marriages.

But I am (humbly) an authority on banana bread. Here's my, self-acclaimed, world renown recipe for Banana Bread with Ghirardelli chocolate chips:

Ingreds:
1 cup granulated sugar
1 stick unsalted butter (don't even try a substitute), at room temp
2 large eggs, at room temp
3 large bananas (proper bananas are the key to this recipe, here's the scoop:)

  • use over ripe bananas
  • they should have brown skins, you know the kind you usually throw away
  • peel'em and put'em in a zip top bag, the bananas should have a few brown spots
  • freeze them over night
  • thaw the next day, they should be really brown and slimy. This is a good thing. Do it. You will be rewarded with banana flavored exponential-ness.
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp cinnamon
2 C. AP flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp good quality vanilla (I use Watkins)
6 oz (by weight) of Ghirardelli chocolate chunks
2 oz thin sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 325 and butter a 9x5 loaf pan. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one by one and beat well after each addition.
In a small bowl mash the bananas, including their banana-y goodness juice with the milk, cinnamon and vanilla. Add to the light, fluffy, creamed butter and sugar mixture.
Mix the remaining dry ingredients together and slowly fold into the wet mixture. When the dry ingredients are almost incorporated add the chocolate and almonds. Fold lightly until distributed.

It's important to not over mix. This mix should not be over mixed. Don't over mix this mixture. A few small lumps are okay.

Did I mention to not over mix the recipe?

Put in previously buttered loaf pan and bake until the room smells so good your tummy rebels (about an hour). Use your tried-and-true method for checking done'd-ness (that's actually a word, IJS). I use the touch method, others use a toothpick or knife.

Remove from oven, invert on a rack to cool, resist for 15 (or 2) minutes. Slice. Chew. Swallow. Repeat as needed.

I think tomorrow I might have some happy co-workers.

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