Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Holiday Baking

Today I'm realizing how thankful I am for all the baking that I get to do this year--trying out a bunch of new recipes and making a lot of old favorites, especially for friends' Christmas gifts. Mmmmm, my house smells so good, and the boy LOVES to cook, so we enjoy these days a lot. Another perk is that it keeps my house nice and warm all day!

As a little pre-Christmas gift to you, here's the banana bread recipe I love. You'll notice that my approach to recipes is a little....flexible. I have to attribute this to my husband, who over the years has taught me that even in baking, you have to use your own personal flair. ;)

Yummy Banana Whatever (so called because it can be bread, muffins...or whatever)

1/2 c. shortening, or butter, or whatever available substitute you might prefer

1 c. sugar (can be decreased if you use big or super-ripe bananas, or if you just don't like it as sweet)

2 eggs

1 1/4 c. flour

3/4 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

about 2 mashed ripe bananas

I usually mix the sugar, butter, eggs, and mashed 'nanas together first, then I add the flour, soda, and salt. Then....

Optional additions:

rolled oats (I usually add at least 1/4 c., sometimes up to 1/2 c., and it's still VERY moist, so you could do more)

walnuts (or some other kind of nuts that you might prefer--I've never tried others)

chocolate chips

flax seed

wheat germ

etc. creative!

Then cook it at 350 degrees F...until it's done. (The original recipe said to cook it and not burn it!)

It can take anywhere from 25 minutes to 70 minutes or so, depending which shape it's in, what container it's in, how your oven works, the altitude, etc. etc. It will turn much browner than you think it should before it's actually done (or is that just me?). It's done when you can stick a knife in the middle and it comes out pretty clean, rather than sticky. I usually make it in a glass loaf pan and set the timer for 35 minutes, then check it in 5 or 7 minute increments after that. My average baking time is probably 50 minutes, but it really does vary every time.



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