Recipe: From my (Kate’s) mother, Kitty Siekmann.
3 1/2 C. Flour
1 Tbsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Soda
2 C. Mashed Banana’s (4-6)
2 Tbsp. Lemon Juice
3/4 C. Butter
1 1/2 C. Sugar (we use organic raw sugar cane, it has a slightly vanilla taste.)
3/4 C. Milk
Chocolate chips (optional), put in as much as you desire
Preheat Oven at 350˚
You can always tell the weather forecast by the amount of baking that happens in our kitchen. As soon as it starts to get a hint of coolness in the air, my oven fires up. I L.O.V.E to bake when it’s cold out. I’m sure that goes for most people, because who likes to turn on a piece of equipment that brings the equivalent to the sun’s solar rays into the house when it’s already 1,000˚? But for me, baking is a MUST when there’s a chill in the air.
One of the first things I make is banana bread. This is because my freezer is usually chuck full of ones that didn’t get eaten before they past their prime. We’re a very picky banana eating family… I put them in the freezer because not only does it preserve them, but freezing them actually brings out more sugar properties. A frozen banana is 4X as “sugary”. And even better, a brown banana has WAY more flavor. Put those two together and you have the perfect ingredient for heavenly banana bread.
When you’re thinking of making banana bread, pull out the frozen banana’s and simply put them in a bowl to defrost. (They might start to leak a little, which makes the bowl perfect to catch the drippings.) When thawed, peel, cut, and smash. It’s even faster to use a food processor or blender, so if you don’t mind an extra dish to clean, use that. Once they’re smooth, add lemon juice. Not only does it bring out a little extra flavor, but it mostly helps to prevent the banana’s from oxidizing and turning a gucky brown. That’s right… Gucky.
My least favorite part for any sort of baking is getting the dry ingredients ready. I’m guessing it’s because when I snag a quick taste of flour and baking soda, I quickly regret it. Not as tasty as butter and sugar. So mix your flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. I sift all of this together to make sure if is combined equally. Sifting flour also makes a finer, more delicate bread structure. Once sifted into a bowl or on wax paper, set aside.
Butter always works better when it’s at room temperature. Bring it out of the fridge/freezer a couple hours ahead of time to get the correct consistency. Do not melt the butter. Melted butter doesn’t react well when baking. Also, it can’t be to hard. It has to be able to mix perfectly with the sugar without clumps. This also ensures a fluffier bread. If you have forgotten to pull the butter out and you want a more immediate result, either cut into cubes and wait a less amount of time. Another way is while it’s still wrapped, put it on a microwavable plate and microwave for 20 seconds, rotating the butter onto a new side every five seconds.
Butter at the right temp? Good. Now, cream the butter and sugar together. Add eggs and beat till light and fluffy (around 4 min).
Start adding the dry ingredients a little bit at a time. Alternate with milk. i.e. dry ingredients, mix, milk, mix, repeat. Do this in thirds.
After they’re combined, fold in the banana’s. The trick to folding is start with your spatula in the center of the bowl, and cut out like you would a piece of pie. Scrape the sides of the bowl and scoop up the batter and rotate the bowl while turning your spatula over. You will see the batter fold over top. (Make sure you get all the way to the bottom!) Continue until completely incorporated. Do not mix like you’re mixing brownie batter. Folding allows the volume of the batter to stay intact. You worked hard at it! Stay true to the end! If you decide you want the delicious chocolate chips, fold those in as well. It might take a few extra seconds, but it’s worth it.
Pour into the loaf pan size that you have. I will give you some round about numbers to cook them at. To be on the safe side, check every ten minutes to see the progress and maybe put on for less time. It’s certainly easier to cook them longer than uncook them
Large loaf pans: 1 hour
Mini loaf pans: 35-40 min
Regular Muffins: 15-20 min
Mini Muffins: 10-15 min.
After you pull out your muffins (or any baking project for that matter), it still continues to cook a little while cooling down. So slightly underdone will cook to just perfect. Done or overdone might mean a bit drier. Still yummy, but maybe put some extra butter on top when you’re eating it… To tell if it’s done, stick of knife, toothpick or cake tester in the center of the loaf. If it comes out mostly clean, it’s done!
Let cool for about 15-20 min. Take out the pan and set on a cooling rack for a couple hours. For storage, wrap in Saran wrap (cling wrap). Muffins can be set in to zip-locks.
I usually get about 3 mini loaf pans and a tray of regular muffins or a couple trays of mini muffins.
Let us know if you have any questions or comments! We’d love to hear from you and see how you used it for your family. They also make great gifts for friends! Of course my favorite thing to do is snuggle up with a cup of coffee and a few slices of these sweet things as I wake up. Gives me something to look forward to when I have to step out from my nice warm bed.
Until next time friends!
The Everyday Chef and Wife