Archive for October, 2012

Banana Bread

Just baked banana bread


Just returned from a much needed vacation in Hawaii.  Okay, it wasn’t necessary to vacation in Hawaii, just necessary to get away.  Hawaii is one of my favorite places to visit, usually the island of Maui.  This time it was Oahu and Waikiki beach.  We finally relaxed on days 6 and 7, just in time to return home.  I wanted to thank my co-workers for holding down the fort while I was gone.  My sister, who spent 4 days with us, took them macadamia nuts.  So I decided to make something.  The first thing that came to mind, because it reminded me of Hawaii, was banana bread.  And my favorite banana bread recipe is from Nigella Lawson’s book, How to Be a Domestic Goddess: Baking and the Art of Comfort Cooking.  She in turn borrowed it, with some tweaking from someone else. (You’ll have to check out her cookbook to find out whom).  Despite the title, the cookbook and the cook are the total opposite of Martha Stewart.  That’s probably the reason for the title and definitely the reason I adore Nigella.  In my kitchen, as in all of my life, I am extremely messy.  Some of you who know me and how I dress have probably been thinking that all along.  I can cook and I can bake, yes.  But I have one of several addictions that I’d like to confess and that is collecting.  In this instance I collect cookbooks.  I try a few recipes out of each of them and then they languish on the shelf.  So it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that I made it to page 33, baked the banana bread and really haven’t made much else from this cookbook.  But I would never part with it.  And the banana bread is awesome.  It calls for rum-soaked raisins!  It’s easy, breezy and yummy!

Banana Bread

scant 1/2 cup golden raisins

6 tablespoons or 3 oz bourbon or dark rum

1 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

1/2 cup sugar

2 large eggs

4 small, very ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup choppped walnuts

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

9 x 5 inch loaf pan, buttered and floured or with a paper insert

Put the golden raisins and rum (or bourbon) in a smallish saucepan and bring to the boil.  Remove from the heat, cover, and leave for an hour if you can, or until the raisins have absorbed most of the liquid, then drain.

Preheat the oven to 325 deg F and get started on the rest.  Put the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium-sized bowl and , using your hands or a wooden spoon, combine well.  In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar and beat until blended.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the mashed bananas.  Then, with your wooden spoon, stir in the walnuts, drained raisins, and vanilla extract.  Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring well after each bit. (I always get this wrong and mix everything together in one bowl in order.  Somehow it still works out okay.)  Scrape into the loaf pan and bake in the middle of the oven for 1-1 1/4 hours.  When it’s ready, an inserted toothpick or fine skewer should come out cleanish.  Leave in the pan on a rack to cool, and eat thickly or thinly sliced, as you prefer.  Makes 8-10 slices.

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