Mom’s banana bread

My mom didn’t make banana bread very often because she doesn’t really like bananas, but my dad, sister and I did, so when she made it, it was a great day. I was pretty surprised at how easy this is to make. It’s perfect for a cold late winter day.

Print Recipe
Mom's banana bread
Servings
Ingredients
Servings
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan with butter or Crisco. No need to flour the greased pan. Mix the wet ingredients into a bowl, adding the milk last.
  2. Mix the dry ingredients. If your brown sugar is a little lumpy, that's ok! It will add pockets of caramel notes.
  3. Mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients together.
  4. Bake in a 350-degree oven for about 55 to 60 minutes until the top is brown and a toothpick comes out clean and the sides start to pull away from the greased pan.

My opinion: This makes your whole house smell amazing. It’s delicious and one of my most favorite breakfast foods. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can add chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, peanut butter (if you add peanut butter reduce the oil by one tablespoon). The options are endless!

Advertisements

Tyler Florence’s Roasted Sweet Potato Banana Puree

As promised, now that Thanksgiving is over and we have had a chance to do a post-mortem on what worked and what didn’t, I’ll be sharing the recipes that made the cut. First, is this delicious take on sweet potato casserole.

C found this recipe on the Fabulousfoodshow.com and has perfected it in the last year.  We kept it warm in a crock pot while other dishes took up precious oven and burner space.

Print Recipe
Tyler Florence's Roasted Sweet Potato Banana Puree
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Prick the sweet potatoes all over with a fork and put them on a roasting pan.
  3. On another roasting pan prick bananas and lay out in a single layer.
  4. Roast sweet potatoes for 45 minutes until very soft and roast bananas for 25 minutes. (If you are in a huge hurry, you can boil the sweet potatoes, but do not try boiling the bananas!)
  5. Remove both pans from the oven and allow to cool slightly.  
  6. In a small sauce pot heat cream with bay leaf until reduced by half, then keep warm until ready to puree potatoes and bananas. 
  7. When the potatoes are cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh into the bowl of a food processor (A blender will work, but only if the potatoes are cool).
  8. Add peeled bananas. Season with salt, add butter, cream (make sure you took the bay leaves out!), cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and puree until smooth (or if you like it a little chunky, a little chunky).
  9. Pour into an oven-proof dish. 
  10. Make the topping by combining flour, cold butter and brown sugar in the food processor and pulse until you have the texture of coarse bread crumbs.
  11. Sprinkle on top of the puree and place under the broiler until golden brown and crispy, about 4-5 minutes.

My opinion:
I really love this dish. This year we actually forgot the topping and it was still just as wonderful! You can make it a couple of days (no more than 2!) ahead of your holiday meal and keep it refrigerated. Then reheat in a crock pot like we did or in the oven. If you are keeping it in the crock pot, sprinkle each serving with the topping and use a brûlée torch to make it golden brown and crispy.

Aunt Nancy’s comforting trail mix

homemade comforting trail mix

My very, very, very best friend S brought this when she visited last. It’s her aunt’s recipe and is usually reserved for special occasions or times when comfort food is in order. I got lucky and received a jar just for running a half marathon. It didn’t last the weekend.

Ingredients:
2 cups almonds
light corn syrup (about 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon vanilla (feel free to use more!)
1 cup dark chocolate chips (or semi sweet, or a mix of your favorite chocolates if you prefer. I’d avoid milk chocolate or white alone, it’s just too sweet)
1 cup dried cherries

Directions:
Stir almonds in a bowl with some light corn syrup and vanilla. Bake at 300° on a parchment lined cookie sheet for about 20 to 30 minutes, until they get a hard coating. Let cool. Then mix in a bowl with chocolate chips and dried cherries. Put in a jar and screw the lid. Avoid shaking once in the jar, the hard coating cracks. Not that I learned from experience or anything.

My opinion:
Like I said above, this didn’t last the weekend. It’s amazing. Don’t be surprised if friends and family start requesting this as a gift.

World’s best hot chocolate

hot chocolate

I’m celebrating a miracle today. I survived a serious car accident in a blizzard without a scratch. Rather than my usual celebratory alcoholic drink, I’ve chosen to make the hot chocolate we usually have at Christmas. This hot chocolate can be made in a crock pot, though this time I used the stove. It’s simple, delicious and better than Starbuck’s any day.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup dry baking cocoa (Hershey’s is fine!)
12 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1/8 teaspoon salt (I just used a pinch or two)
7 1/2 cups water (more if you like your hot chocolate less thick)
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla (eyeball it)

Directions:
I have found it is easiest if you put the cocoa in the pot, then add the sweetened condensed milk.
hot chocolate

Stir to combine (it should look like chocolate caramel).

hot chocolate

Add the salt and the vanilla.  Then add hot water. Stir it together. Pour into cups and enjoy.
hot chocolate

My opinion:
I love this comforting drink. It’s perfect on a snowy day and best consumed with friends and family.

C’s Texas Sheet Cake

I’ve mentioned before, my sister, C, has a knack for perfecting baked goods. She did it again with this super delicious, never dry (even after three days!) recipe. It’s a combination of Joy of Cooking and our Mom’s family recipe.

 

Ingredients and Directions:
Have all ingredients at room temperature, about 70 degrees f. Pre-heat the over to 375 degrees f. Grease a 13×9 pan. if you don’t have the pan, you can use 2 round pans for an 8×11 pan and a loaf pan (the pan isn’t the most important part).

Whisk together in a large bowl until well blended:
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Combine in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly:
1 cup strong, black coffee (apparently, this is Mom’s secret ingredient)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/2 unsweetened cocoa powder

Pour the hot mixture over dry ingredients and stir together just until smooth. Let cool slightly (about 3-5 minutes), then work in:
2 large eggs
1/2 buttermilk (regular milk works, too)
1 tsp vanilla

Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for about 3-5 minutes (until the cake is just warm) and spread on the icing.

Mom’s Icing:
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup milk
3 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together and spread over warm sheet cake.

My opinion:
I might like this better than regular chocolate cake. Hard to believe, I know, but it is so good. I can’t wait for the next time C has a reason to make it!