Sunday, January 03, 2016

How to Make Banana Bread: The Long Way

Banana Bread involves the use of three bowls. In bowl number one you'll put dry goods. Flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. In bowl number two you'll cream butter and sugar together and then gradually stir in eggs. Do this with the mixer so you don't hate your husband for not eating all the bananas in a timely manner. In bowl #3 you'll mix the actual bananas, some milk, and some cinnamon together. Eventually, you'll combine the contents of the three bowls, pour the resulting batter into bread forms, and bake the batter for well over an hour, spearing it at least three times before the spear comes out clean. This is making banana bread.

Then, there's Alaska's New Year's Day banana bread. It goes like this:

Look at the 14 bananas that your husband has forgotten all about because it's break and there's a lot of chocolate and gummy lifesavers in the house. Normally he's a reliable banana eater, and I'm not sure how we got SO MANY bananas to begin with, but nonetheless, there they are.


Recall him beg for the third time for banana bread in the last two days and recall your promise that you would make it before the bananas turned liquid.

Reluctantly pull out have the kitchen implements in preparation. There's a turkey in the oven, so you can't add the dry ingredients until just before the loaves go in the oven or it won't rise. Then again, there's a turkey in the oven, so there's nothing to do for the next three hours anyway. Except the dishes, and I'm no fool.

Look over the recipe and realize you're going to have to triple it to use just 9 of the bananas. Decide you can live with that. Check the butter. One is completely soft. The other two not so much. In the bowl that the sugar and butter go in, toss them and three cups of sugar (decide to do a mix of white and brown because, recipe, you're not the boss of me). Set this bowl aside until the butter is feeling more cooperative.

Now the bananas. Ick. I don't eat bananas. Okay, peel the (ick, ick) very ripe bananas and start mashing them with a fork like the (ick) recipe says. Decide this is just too gross. Note that the recipe says 1 T of milk. Look in fridge. Notice egg nog. Hrm. Egg Nog season just about over. Okay, egg nog in banana bread could be good (You're not the boss of me, recipe.) Look at expiration date. It's earlier in December. Sniff it. Seems fine. 3 T is close to 1/4 cup. Add a little more because egg nog is way thicker than 2% lactose free milk, which is kind of what the recipe called for. Don't actually look at the recipe. Add the aged nog to the not much smooshed bananas and pull out the electric hand mixer. Remember that you're supposed to triple the recipe. Add another cup of egg nog. Add cinnamon. You know what goes well with cinnamon? A little ginger and cloves. Can't find any cloves. Add a pinch of ginger. Use the smooshing fork to break up the bananas enough for the hand mixer. Puree the heck out of that stuff using the mixer. Note that the whole thing looks awfully liquidy.........


Realize you tripled the "milk" and then squared it.

Consider your options. Pull out the strainer and try running the puree through it to recover some of the banana. Watch it go RIGHT through that strainer. Great mixer, that. Stop thinking about the mixer and salvage the last bit of puree. Don't measure it. Looks around a half cup or so. It'll do.

There are 5 bananas left. Go back to the butter and sugar bowl. Fish a stick of butter and a cup of sugar out of the bowl. We're doubling now. Toss the sugar. Set the butter aside. It will be perfectly good in the stuffing. Add the remaining bananas to the remains of the first puree. Toss in some more cinnamon. Grab something else from the spice cabinet. Add it to the bowl. Oh! Nutmeg. Not ginger. That was lucky. Coulda been lemon pepper or something.

Consider how much worse this could be if you weren't a member of the church and were trying to do this with a bottle of wine at your side.

Fish the bottom of the hand mixer out of the sink, wash it, make a new, less runny, puree. Decide it LOOKS ok. Leave it all alone for a bit until it's had some time to think about its behavior.

Now hook the softened butter and sugar bowl up to the Kitchenaid Crusher 5000 (that's what Chris calls it). Whip it. Whip it good. Sing that line outloud for a bit. It's all you know of the song. When the butter and sugar look like they might kind of be fluffy if you hadn't added brown sugar, add the eggs in (doubled, not trippled). Decide that looks like it went well. Make a third bowl with all the flour and baking soda and baking powder in it. Add the salt. Remember to double everything.

Mix it all in together, pour into batter pans (I had enouh for four mini-loaves and one regula one). Bake. Remove. Cool. (Some.) and eat. Tasted like a pretty decent banana bred, actually. Nice and moist. Plenty of spice, but not overwhelming. Great with cream cheese. Competely unrepeatable and unrepentent.  

1 comment:

Patrese said...

Oh Alaska, I love you. Thanks for sharing your heart in this blog and letting me read it.