I wasn't sure which photo was better, the shot of my Christmas tree with the twinkle lights showing, but slightly blurry because I am old and my hands shake, or the shot using the flash that is in focus, but does not have the same Christmas spirit...
But, I am digressing before I even start...
To paraphrase Captain Kirk, Karma protects fools, little children and ships named Enterprise... and Karma provides recipes to help me keep my resolution (you all remember yesterday's post, New Year's Resolutions Started Yesterday - RETORTE's Onion Bread Pudding... right???) Well, you may recall that yesterday I announced one of my New Year's resolutions. I resolved to be a better steward of the Earth's resources (OK, I made a commitment to stop wasting food, but saying I am a steward of the Earth sounds so... old hippy). Yesterday's post was about bread. Almost a week did not go by last year when I did not toss a bit of bread. Yesterday I drew a line, and resolved to stop throwing away bread. Almost immediately, Karma rewarded my decision with a terrific recipe for a savory bread pudding that was AMAZING! But I don't want to give you the impression that bread was the only thing I waste... I also buy bananas every week, and sure enough, for a year, I have had to toss bunches and bunches of bananas... Well, I am including bananas in my resolution. Within moments of posting my resolution, Karma directed me to Catherine's (who I just can not resist calling Mrs. C.) site, LIVING THE GOURMET! And her recipe for BEST EVER BANANA BREAD. I made it, and it for sure was the best I have ever tasted...
Here's what she said to do...
Adapted from Gold Medal All-Purpose Flour
1 ¼ cup sugar
½ cup sweet butter
1 ½ cups mashed very ripe bananas – (3-4 medium)
½ cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chopped nuts
- Preheat oven 350 degrees:
- Butter bottoms of 2 (8x8 inch) pans.
- In a large bowl, mix sugar and butter. Add eggs, bananas, buttermilk and vanilla: beat with electric mixer on medium speed until smooth. Stir in flour, baking soda and nuts just until moistened. Pour batter into pans.
- Bake 1 hour or until toothpick test inserted in center comes out clean.
Vanilla Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from McCormick – Pure Vanilla Extract
1 package (8 oz.) softened cream cheese
4 tablespoons softened sweet butter
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 box Confectioners’ Sugar
Beat cream cheese, butter, sour cream and vanilla in a large bowl until light and fluffy.
Gradually beat in 1 box confectioners’ sugar on medium speed until smooth.
Everything worked great. For a change, I followed the recipe to the letter... Except, I believe Mrs. C. had the pan sizes wrong. These fit into two standard meatloaf dishes, as opposed to 8X8 pans. It would have worked well in a single 8X8 pan. But I had a use for the second loaf!
And oh my baking gods, did it ever turn out beautiful!
It was important for the bread to be right, I was planning to give a loaf away. You see, I have commented that we are knee deep in snow right now. In order to get my wife to her inconvenient day job, I was going to have to shovel the driveway. Just as I started tossing a few shovel fulls to the side, my neighbor came over and used his snow blower. It was the absolute best of both worlds, I gave my wife the impression that I would have, of course, shoveled ever inch of the drive to make her life convenient, and yet I didn't have to do it!!! My neighbor Brad deserves a loaf of this dessert bread!
My icing came out different from the look of the icing that Mrs. C. had in her photo. Mine came out looking like cake frosting, while hers came out looking like a thick glaze. But, as Julia Child says... "Who's to know".
It tasted exceptional. A little sweet, but hey, it is to be a gift, sweet is just fine!
I did use the quantities in Mrs. C's recipe, I iced both cakes generously, and I only used about half of the icing. Of course, I was not going to toss the extra (no wasting). I just put it in a zip lock bag, ready to be used at a later date... Hmmm... any one with a great cinnamon roll recipe??? Wouldn't it be spooky good Karma if someone out there was posting a cinnamon roll recipe as I type?
As Mrs. C. advertised, this indeed was... THE BEST BANANA BREAD I HAVE EVER EATEN!
Follow up to yesterday's post, I received a couple suggestions to, make achieving my resolution's more likely to succeed. Among them were a couple of suggestions to make bread cubes, freeze them and have them ready for a quick bread pudding or to make croutons, or even bread crumbs for meatloaf. So, this morning, i cut up a few slices of bread that were over a week old and plopped em in the freezer.
I also got a comment that implied "just" tossing bread to the birds was an option. I thought that was a terrific use for bread that we would not eat. It is nasty cold out, and there are birds and maybe a few animals that would appreciate a few easy to find bits. Good stewards of the Earth would indeed look out for God's gentlest of creatures..
So, the crust and heals went outside... Let's see what the plate loos like tomorrow!