Posts tagged ‘Chocolate’

June 20, 2011

Daddy Jim’s Banana(s) Bread

The bananas banana bread that I made on Saturday actually has nothing to do with Father’s Day itself. In fact, I didn’t even bring a slice for my dear dad to chow on yesterday during our island walk (I did bring him one of these, though). However, it is inspired by the recipe that my dad and I crafted years back and when I found myself with a kitchen full of fruit flies (gag) and black bananas, I thought an ode to Daddy Jim this weekend was quite appropriate. I used his ingenious idea of maximizing the banana flavor in my recipe and I cannot stop thinking about this bread. It has totally consumed my food thoughts since my first bite on Saturday and I never want to go without it again…

….but back to that in a second.

I just have to let you all in one of Boston’s best secrets – the Boston Harbor Islands.


Ok, I know. The islands really aren’t much of a secret…I had just never been before. Spectacle Island is only a 20 minute ferry ride from downtown and it is like being in a whole new world (with a constant view of the Boston skyline – and airport – to remind you that home is never too far away).

Dad and I set out on the 11:30 am ferry and spent a glorious two hours winding around the island under the bluest sky, dotted with marshmallow clouds, basking in the sunshine.

Sunshine – what a sneak! Being the brilliant outdoors woman that you have all come to know, I did not even consider slathering on the sunscreen. I think my exact thought was “Oh, I’ll be moving. And it’s not like I’ll have a bathing suit on.”

News flash: the sun still does its thing when you’re moving. And wearing clothing.

I’ve got the whole world in my hand. Or at least the world that matters to me most 😉

I blame him for the sunburn, the turned up nose, and a complete obsession with salt and vinegar chips (remember?) =) We spent the afternoon chatting about everything and nothing and our trip reminded me of how grateful I am to not only have a father but a fantastic one at that. Not every woman can say that her dad is the one she calls when she’s eaten the most perfect ginger cookie, when she is having (once again) a “what am I doing with my life?!” crisis, and when she just wants someone to shoot the breeze with. Every girl should be so lucky.

My dad is one of the greatest cooks I know and while I like to think I’ve got the upper hand when it comes to baking, he made the best banana bread I had ever tasted back in April. His secret? SIX bananas.

I cannot stand when a banana bread recipe calls for only a banana or two. Hello? How is that supposed to knock anyone’s socks off? Now I understand that you’re not likely to have 6 brown bananas sitting on your counter any old time (although my dad purposely buys and paper bags extra ‘nanners just for bread making) so I’ve offered some alternatives for those times when you don’t have a load of mushy fruit on hand.

If you’re smart (and like delicious things), you’ll make this immediately. Brown bag those bananas right now and in 3 days time you’ll have the perfect fruit for baking. Feel free to leave out the chocolate but chocolate and banana might be one of the greatest flavor combos ever known so really, why would you?

Daddy Jim’s Banana(s) Bread

makes 1 9×5 loaf

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour (whole wheat pastry or regular whole wheat work, too)
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 overripe bananas
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar (or 1/3 cup regular sugar)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Method:

  • Preheat oven to 350* and lightly grease 9×5 pan.
  • Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.
  • In a small bowl, mash 3 bananas, leaving soft chunks.
  • In a separate bowl or in your stand mixer, whip together the other 3 bananas and the sugar with an electric mixer until it is nice and fluffy (this will take about 3 minutes). Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
  • Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir to combine. Fold in the mashed bananas, walnuts and chocolate chips.
  • Pour the mixture into the pan and rap the pan on the counter to get out any air bubbles. Bake for about 1 hour or until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.
  • Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.

Alternatives:

  • Only have 4 bananas? That’s totally fine – just add a 1/3 cup oil, such as safflower or canola, to the wet mixture to be sure that the mixture stays nice and moist.

Do you see those large yellow, melted blobs of ooey, gooey banana? That’s exactly why we mash half of the bananas – who doesn’t want a marshmallowy, melted hunk of banana in her bread?!

 

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June 15, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

I wholeheartedly believe in the power of a snack.

In fact, I’m a twice a day snacker. Or at least I should be.

You see, when I’m putting together my lunch box (er….many meal box), I tend to run out of ideas. With oats for breakfast, I like to have a more protein-focused lunch…and then my snacks need to have some protein and fat…and sometimes I have to pack dinner…and I want it all to be delicious and appealing…and keep my energy up for the long day and night ahead…and I hate repeating foods in a single day…blahblahblah.

I know, rough life.

And yeah, I know I’m a little crazy 😉

Lately, I’ve been lying to myself while packing my meals and thinking, nah, I won’t need 2 snacks. When 3:00 pm rolls around, though, I really wonder what the heck I was thinking. Without regular meals and snacks, I’m a beast. A total bear. I transform from my calm and sunny self into a negativity monster who will tear down anyone in her path.

I’ve never found a pre-packaged granola bar that really gets me going. While I love the Larabar, sometimes I want more than nuts and fruit (not to mention the small part of my soul that dies every time I pay for one).

I suspect that I will be trying out many snack bar recipes in the coming weeks as I try to pay attention to my hunger a bit more but these are a pretty tasty start. Whole grain oats and whole wheat flour, slightly sweetened by banana and chocolate chips, with a lovely chew from the peanut butter. They smell incredible and, while I wanted a bit more chew, these will do! I plan on wrapping them individually and storing them in the fridge for a quick grab and run snack.

Hopefully these babies can keep the bear at bay 😉

Banana Chocolate Chip Oat Bars

makes 8-12 bars depending on pan size

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup raw sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter, softened in the microwave
  • 1 egg
  • 1 very ripe banana
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350* and lightly grease an 8×8 or 11×7 pan.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the oats, flour, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. In a separate medium bowl, mash the banana and mix in the egg and vanilla.
  • Add the wet mixture to the dry and combine well. Stir in the chocolate chips.
  • Spread into the pan and bake for 30 minutes.
  • Allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. For the 8×8 pan, slice into 8 large bars (if you want a smaller snack, slice the bars in half again). For the 11×7 pan, you should come out with about 12 bars.