Thursday, November 12, 2009

Cakey Comfort

Rainy days drive me to the kitchen for comfort foods. Comfort comes in the form of carbohydrates for me, apparently. A few days ago, I had some fresh cranberries (adore them) that needed to be used so I slipped them into a modified KAF coffee cake recipe. The original recipe called for dried cranberries and almond slivers. I like almonds, but seldom by them slivered. I do however keep a quantity of almond flour in the freezer at all times. I find it is a good way to slip in a depth of flavor AND protein to just about any quick bread, muffin, scone or pastry. The coffee cake was good, so good that Maiya managed to eat around said-offending, but brightly staining cranberries so she could enjoy the cake.
Today, the bananas demanded attention. Mike likes bananas, but only before any brown appears, so I am often making banana dishes with the overripe ones. I once again decided to go with KAF's recipe with some variations. I've used many other recipes, but I think this might be one of the best. This cookbook may be one of the ones making the trip next year with us.

KAF's Banana Bread with Modifications

*First, I doubled the recipe because I had 6 overripe bananas. Banana bread freezes well and keeps in the fridge so consider a straight doubling of below.

2 large eggs
3/4 c sugar
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 c mashed banana
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 to 1 tsp nutmeg (take the time to fresh grate/pound--so much better!)
1 2/3 c unbleached, all purpose flour
1 c whole wheat flour
1 c yogurt, buttermilk or sour cream (I used Stonyfield Low Fat vanilla tonight)
optional: 1/2 c chocolate chips and/or 1 c chopped walnuts (I have kids, so in went the chocolate chips)

Preheat oven to 350 F.
In medium sized bowl, beat together eggs, sugar and oil. Blend in the mashed bananas and vanilla.
Whisk together the all the dry ingredients from baking soda to wheat flour, then sift to incorporate well. I don't sift much, but I do here as you don't want to mix the batter too much (it gets stiff and then creates a drier texture) so you want those leaveners well incorporated. My shortcut is to put everything in my big sifter and sifter through and then mix a little.
Add the flour mixture all at once to the banana mixture. Stir in quickly but thoroughly. Now, stir in the yogurt until just combined. Finally, stir in quickly the chips and/or walnuts.
Pour batter into a greased (spray it well) 9 x 5 loaf pan. Bake for about 1 hour, until knife/cake tester comes out clean from center. You can tent it with foil after 40-45 mins if it begins to brown to much. I like my bread a bit brown.
Place on rack and cool for a bit, then turn out of pans and cool more. It is a very moist bread and slicing warm can be challenging, but warm banana bread is worth the effort.

*Photos by our oldest. The first is from the Smithsonian exhibit on First Ladies. Mrs. Coolridge had a pet raccoon which the young photographer thought was worthy of a picture.


Dr. Rick said...

Wow, tell the photographer she does a great job. Such attractive subjects.

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