Thursday, September 4, 2008
When Life Gives You Bananas...
So, we are preparing for a volleyball tourney in Chattanooga this weekend. The volleyball world is an interesting one. The teams, about 16, check in at the gym and are required to stay on premises the entire day. If matches go quicker than scheduled, everything gets moved up. So the prospect of 10 hour stretches in a gym are a little overwhelming. Many teams have wizened up. We pack coolers of good food to keep everyone nourished and happy, parents too. School concession stands are okay, but you don't get much energy from Nachos and Cheese Sauce!
I have been travelling with Christina for a few years now, and my banana bread has earned a reputation. It's a great snack, nutritious, and easy to travel with. So yesterday with the relentless rain, I baked.
For the occasional baker, banana bread can be a problem. Grocery store bananas are usually too green, and when mine are perfectly ripe at home, the mood just isn't there. My solution is the freezer. I toss perfect banana bread bananas right into the freezer, skin on. When your ready to bake, pull them out and let them sit at room temp for about 15 minutes. I am not going to lie to you, they are a little gross. They get black skins,mushy and wet, but when they are still a tiny bit firm, cut the stem off, peel them and cut them up. When they are totally thawed they'll be perfectly mushy!
The recipe is always the dilemna. I've made a bunch and they all seem the same. Most old fashioned banana breads call for vegetable oil instead of butter. It makes it a snap, but vegetable oil is pretty flavorless. I was going through my tub file yesterday,( I know most people have recipe boxes), and I went through the quick bread file looking for something different. And there it was. A low fat banana bread. Dated 2004. Unfortunately, I have no idea where it came from, but I must have liked it by the looks of the recipe so I baked up 2 fabulous loaves. One studded with bittersweet chocolate. They rose beautifully in the oven, and cooked all the way through, no goopy middle. I cooled them in the loaf pans and wrapped them in them overnight. When I sliced them today to freeze they were soft and moist and pretty damn good!
Here's the recipe, make it often! Happy Baking!
3/4 cup sugar
3 ripe bananas, smashed up
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon canola oil
1 Tablespoon vanilla
1 3/4 c flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate
Preheat oven to 325 degrees, I use convection bake. Spray a loaf pan with BaKlene or Baker's Joy. Beat eggs and sugar until it is pale yellow and light. Mix in bananas, buttermilk, oil and vanilla. Add all dry ingredients through a sifter and mix well with a rubber spatula. Do not overmix. Pour into loaf pan.
Bake about an hour. Cool in loaf pan. Yum!
Makes 1 loaf, Do not double, make it twice if you want 2!