It’s Fall, and Time For Baking

9 Oct

Fresh from the oven, which is the best way to eat this banana bread.

In our tiny kitchen, turning the oven on heats most of the house. Which is great when it’s cold, of course, but in the middle of the summer, it’s uncomfortable to say the least.

But now that the weather has gotten a little cooler, I’m back in there baking up a storm. Okay, maybe not a storm. But I whipped up a double batch of Apple-Banana Bread today. This is a hybrid of a recipe I found and our family’s standard (and awesome) banana bread recipe. I’ve got no idea where the recipe came from, but it’s been in my family as long as I can remember.

So why add the apples? We had one that was lingering in the fruit bowl and a bunch of bananas in the freezer that needed to get into some baked goods. You do know that you can throw browning bananas in the freezer and save them for smoothies or baking, right? It’s a great way to keep them until you have time to use them, especially when they’re going brown surrounded by the rest of the fruit.

I looked up “apple banana recipes” on Google and found this recipe for banana bread with caramelized apples in it. Why not? I thought. But when I started looking at the banana bread recipe, I thought to myself—Self, why on earth would you mess with another recipe for banana bread when yours is so good and easy? And I told Self you’re exactly right. And this recipe is delicious. And easy. And if you have some bananas looking a little forlorn and brown in the fruit bowl, get yourself a baking.

Now, in my family, 3/4 cup butter was not enough butter for this bread. Oh no, you’ve got to slather some right on top of that thick slice you cut for yourself. So don’t be shy when you eat it. More is more when it comes to butter! (And no, Paula Dean did not pay me to say that.)

Apple-Banana Bread

1 apple (Fuji or Granny Smith are recommended)
2 tbs. butter
1/2 tsp. cinnamon.
—–
3/4 cup butter or Earth Balance, softened
1.5 cups sugar
2 bananas, mashed fine
1 tsp. baking soda, dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
2 cups all-purpose flour (I’ve used whole wheat, and it works fine)

Peel and core the apple; cut into quarters and chop into 1/2 inch chunks. You don’t have to be too precise. Melt the 2 Tbs of butter in a frying pan over medium heat and add the apples. Keep stirring and tossing them occasionally  in the butter until they go all brown on the sides, about 15 minutes. Stir in the cinnamon. Let cool.

The cooled apples mix right into the batter at the end.

On to the bread. Now this is the fun part–this literally is a 0ne-bowl baking project. Sure, you can go and cream the butter and the sugar together, and then add each ingredient one by one, but the wonderful thing about this recipe is that you can literally throw everything but the flour in the bowl and use a stick blender to mix it. It’s awesome! I think it actually helps the bread rise because the eggs get all whipped up.

But once you start adding the flour, the quick-bread rule applies—don’t overstir. Fold in the flour, one cup at a time, nice and gently. Then fold in the cooled apples.

If you don't use parchment paper, butter and flour the heck out of those pans!

I use parchment paper to make sure these loaves pop out easily, so if you’re not doing parchment paper, you need to butter and flour the tins seriously well. I use two tins and bake for 40-45 minutes at 325 degrees F. Let cool before eating, if possible.

 

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