Tuesday, July 8, 2008

banana bread

What does one do with 5 lbs of baby bananas from the backyard?

soon to be banana bread

The problem is not an easy one: they're ripe for 4 days tops before they go bad.

A while back I spent an afternoon peeling and tossing bananas into plastic bags to freeze. I've been whittling away at these and making about two loaves of banana bread a week.

I had a friend tell me recently that she was looking for a "killer" banana bread recipe. The truth is that no recipe is perfect, and even if it was, what the hell is the fun in that? What's interesting is experimenting and making something your own. Anyone can spend an hour in a kitchen, but I want to spend an hour and walk out with something that might make my grandmother proud, and not just because I managed not to destroy the kitchen.

I use the Cooking for Engineer's recipe as a start.

So far I've tried:
- Replacing all the ingredients with healthy things, i.e. molasses, unblanched almonds, and whole wheat flour, in an attempt to make breakfast bread. This worked well assuming I didn't overdo the molasses (all molasses -> sticky bread). Note though that molasses, unlike sugar, actually has things in it that are good for you (namely, potassium and iron).
- Using lychees instead of bananas (failure, but I think mostly because I lacked enough lychees and decided at the last second to cut the added sugar by a third.)
- Adding powdered ginger and cinnamon to the bread (amazing success)
- Using different kinds of nuts (pistachios = amazing, hazelnuts = boring)

banana bread

Foreground is failure lychee bread, background is relatively good banana bread. I forgot to add cinnamon and ginger to the batter until I had already poured it into the pan, so I added it on top as a crust. Still quite good, but I've made (and will make) better!

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