Saturday, October 8, 2011

Simple quick breads and tricks

Last night and today I made two quick breads using the same base. I had been to the grocery store the day before and saw they had a bunch or ripe bananas marked cheap. I was able to get three bags of bananas for $2.64 total. I didn't count how many bananas it was, but about three good size bunches? I had 1 banana left over after needing 9 cups of mashed/liquified bananas, so a lot of bananas for the price.

When I make breads, I don't make one loaf at a time. It's a waste of my time, energy resources and effort. I make everything in big batches and store some for later. In this case, I made 6 loaves of quick bread. 3 of one kind, 3 of another.

The base is a standard banana bread. I just adjusted the sugar level for the ingredients. To make things quicker and simpler, I put all the liquids in my blender and all the dry goods in the mixer. Then when both are mixed separately, I add the liquid to the dry stuff in the mixer. I mix it up and then pour it into the oiled and floured pans (or in this case, using an all in one spray in the pans). I have a large capacity blender and a large capacity mixer, so it works out great to make the triple batch all at once. If I were making these back to back, I wouldn't even need to clean the blender and would just need to do a quick rinse of the mixer. That's what I did a couple weeks back, but this time I made them one day apart.

I didn't take a photo of the banana chocolate bread and well, in photos it looks like a big brown lump, but ooooooo is it yummy! Here is a photo of the banana coconut bread with lime glaze and yes, it is super yummy too:

Here's the recipe which is adapted from a cookbook recipe. A single loaf ingredient list is below:

In the blender (or food processor): blend 4.5 cups of bananas (will measure 4.5 cups after liquified). I usually add a bunch (4-6 bananas) and then add more as I need it. Add a splash of lemon juice (2 teaspoons?) to keep the bananas from discoloring. Once you have 4.5 cups of bananas, add 6 eggs, 3/4 cup yogurt, 2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons of melted  or very soft unsalted butter, 3 teaspoons of vanilla extract and blend it all up. Blender would work best here, especially if your food processor is like mine and can't handle liquids. And of course, once your have liquified your bananas, you can just add everything to the already mixed up flour mixture. You don't have to do everything in the blender. I do because I can and it's easier for me.

In the mixer, combine 6 cups of all-purpose flour, 2 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Now, the recipe calls for 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar, but this is where I altered it depending on what was going inside.

The first recipe, the banana chocolate bread, I did all the above, but added 2 cups of sugar and 3/4 cup of cocoa (unsweetened  - I used Hershey's dark cocoa).

The second recipe, the banana coconut bread with lime glaze, I used 1 1/2 cups of sugar and almost an entire package of sweetened shredded coconut (not sure of the size, but the standard coconut bag). I left out about a 1/2 cup of coconut (not packed) for the glaze.

Once it's all thoroughly mixed up (just until combined and no lumps), pour it into the three prepared 9x5 loaf pans. Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes (done when toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean). I do all three loaves at once all. All on the same shelf in the middle of the oven.

Once you take them out of the oven, let them sit for 5 minutes and then flip them out of the loaf pan and let them cool on a rack.

The chocolate banana loaf is done, but you still need a glaze for your coconut loaf. You can toast the remainder of your coconut in an oven - same temp, just spread out on a cookie sheet until it toasts up. If you are brave, you can do the same while using the broiler, just never take yours eyes off the pan. But toasting the coconut is not necessary, but a nice touch if you have patience and time.

Then take that coconut, place it in a 4 cup measuring cup and add 1/4 of a bag of powdered sugar and then add lime juice to it until you have a fairly thick, but pourable glaze (think cinnamon roll glaze consistency). Put your cooled loaves back into the loaf pans while you apply the glaze - keeps it less messy. Take a tablespoon and drizzle the glaze over the coconut banana bread. Make more or use less depending on your taste. Of course, you don't need to glaze, but I will say though, that tart glaze adds a really nice touch to the quick bread. Let it set until it hardens/crusts and then flip it carefully back out of the loaf pan. Serve it up or freeze. Of these breads, 4 are in the freezer in my house and will make a quick nice treat for some other day.

Here is the  recipe for banana bread for a single loaf. Multiply it as you can:

Banana Bread

1.5 cups mashed/blended bananas plus a splash of lemon/lime juice
6 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
1/4 cup yogurt
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar* **
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

*For Chocolate banana bread decrease sugar to 2/3s of a cup and add 1/3 of a cup of unsweetened, dark cocoa

** for Coconut banana bread decrease sugar to 1/3 of a cup and add 1/4 of a package of shredded sweetened coconut. For glaze add a tablespoon of coconut and 1 cup (or so) of powdered sugar, adding enough lime to form a drizzable glaze.

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