Evil Yumminess in the Land of Giant Cupcakes

September 22, 2010

Amazing Banana Nut Bread

Filed under: banana,banana bread,bread,Uncategorized,walnut — by queenofevilyumminess @ 12:03 PM
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My coworker (Tanya the Enabler) and I always try to make goodies for the birthday’s of the office’s staff members. This is a good excuse for us to bake, not that we really need much of an excuse, but it helps get us off the hook with our significant others when they think we’ve already been doing too much baking (which is always). The current birthday person requested banana bread.

I’ve only baked banana bread once before, but the recipe is one of my mother’s which means it is going to be totally yummy! It makes two good sized loaves of bread. This was a good thing since I NEEDED to do a quality check on the bread before I took it in to work. You can translate that “NEEDED” however you like, but what it really means is that I couldn’t wait an extra day to eat some. I’m impatient! It is torture to bake something as yummy looking and fantastic smelling as banana walnut bread from scratch and then be forced to wait over 24 hours before eating any of it! I just couldn’t do it.

I mean, MMMMMMMMM, look at that bread! Who could resist?

Something I find interesting about baking this bread is that it doesn’t brown up until right before it is done. The first time I baked it, I was totally freaking out because it wasn’t getting brown at all. I had to call my mother and ask her if I’d done something wrong. She assured me that everything would come out okay, and, of course, she was correct. The bread came out a nice brown color, was moist, and was in general fantastic. Her recipe also comes with a Banana Glaze/Icing made with real butter and ripe banana. Slurp, excuse me. I had to wipe up the drool.

Unfortunately, the lighting in my kitchen is quite poor, so the color of the bread didn’t really come through in this last picture. They were not as dark as they appear. The first picture shows the true color of the bread. The loaf pans that I had on hand were a bit wider than I would have liked so the bread turned out rather short. I would have preferred to have a narrower pan that produced a taller loaf.

I asked my mother who gave her this recipe, but she had no idea. There was no name on the card and it was written in her handwriting. She just said she knew it was an old on, but not from my grandma. The title on the card is actually called “Banana Walnut Cake.” Cake, bread…whatever, it is still a great recipe!

Banana Walnut Bread

2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
3 cup flour
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
8 to 10 tbsp buttermilk (I used 10)
3 mashed ripe bananas
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two loaf pans.

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, mixing just until incorporated (not slimy looking). Mix in flour and salt. Measure out the buttermilk into a small bowl and then stir the baking soda into the buttermilk before adding the mixture to the batter. Next peel and mash the bananas before adding it to the batter. Add the chopped nuts last and stir gently to distribute them in the batter.

Pour batter immediately into the prepared pans, dividing evenly between the two pans, and bake for about an hour, or until golden brown. Toothpick should come out clean.

Speedy Banana Frosting

1/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 pound powdered sugar (they still sell 1 pound boxes of powdered sugar; or 1 pound = about 4 cups unsifted)
1/2 cup mashed ripe bananas
1/2 tsp lemon juice

Directions:

Combine butter and powdered sugar. Mix until smooth. Add in the bananas and the lemon juice. Mix until incorporated and smooth. Frosting can be added to bread either when it is still warm or when it has totally cooled. Your choice.

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September 20, 2010

Candy Corn and Peanut Butter Cookies

Filed under: Candy Corn,Cookies,Halloween,peanut butter,Uncategorized — by queenofevilyumminess @ 4:44 PM
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Ever had candy corn and salty peanuts mixed together like a trial mix? Well, this post is all about the cookie version of that combination. There was a little bit of trial and error, but I ended up with a pretty good representation of the flavors I was seeking!

I knew from previous experience (Urg!)  that when you melt candy corn, it cools into a hard mass of sugar. You basically turn it from a soft chewy piece of candy into hard candy. Not exactly what I was trying to accomplish here. Still, I wondered what would happen if I put it inside cookies. So, I baked my first batch of cookies with chopped candy corn in the batter. As I expected, the candy corn that was outside the batter turned into hard candy. The candy corn that was inside the batter, got really chewy. The visual result of the cookie was not good at all and the taste of the candy corn was almost completely lost. Now, obsessed with getting the proper result, I consulted with my mother, and decided to make another batch of cookies.

This time, as per my mother’s advice, I decided to put the candy corn on top of the cookies immediately after I removed them from the oven. I had some minor complications, mainly the peanuts not letting the candy corn be pressed down into the cookie and some of the candy corn pieces not sticking to the cookie, but over all the result was very good.  There is only a small window of opportunity to get the candy corn onto the cookie since they flatten out as they cool. Sadly, I was running out of candy corn at this point since the local grocery store only sold the “Autumn Mix” and not just a big bag of regular candy corn. I had to use pieces of candy corn instead of the full specimen, and some of the cookies ended up with half a pumpkin candy on them, which also turned out looking rather nice.

Without any further ado, here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup Skippy Natural Super Chunk Peanut Butter
  • 1-1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1-1/2 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt (I usually use a pinch of salt since I use salted butter)
  • 1 cup salted peanuts
  • candy corn

Directions

1. Heat oven to 375°F.

2. Beat butter, peanut butter, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl until well blended. Add egg; beat just until blended. Combine flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into peanut butter mixture. Stir in 1 cup nuts. DO NOT ADD CANDY CORN AT THIS POINT!

3. Drop by heaping teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

4. Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Do not over bake (see note #1 at bottom). Place candy corn onto cookies as soon as you remove them from the oven. Press each piece of candy gently into the cookie. Cool 2 minutes. Remove to wire rack. Cool completely. About 3 dozen cookies.

NOTE #1: The original recipe recommends a cooking time of 7-8 minutes. I have have to bake my cookies, even the smaller ones, for 10-11 minutes. I recommend starting to check your first sheet of cookies at around 7 minutes. The cookies are done when the edges begin to brown ever so slightly. You will need to leave the cookies on the sheet for a few minutes since they are very soft. If you try to move them immediately, you’ll most likely end up with a huge mess.

NOTE #2: These cookies were quite as salty as I would have liked. The next time I bake them, I may try sprinkling the tops of the unbaked cookies with some of pretzel salt and see how that turns out. Might be good, might not.

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