Monday, July 20, 2009

Yes, We Have No Bananas

Because I used every last one of them!

Ever since I moved out on my own and baked my first loaf of banana bread, I hate to see bananas go to waste. Those uneaten, browning pieces of fruit stab me with guilt every time I pass them and choose NOT to bake a loaf of something or other.

Already this summer I've had to toss out at least eight bananas. Yesterday, when I saw four sitting in the fruit basket on the counter, I pushed up my sleeves and muttered, "Not today!"

First, I dragged over the July issue of Cooking Light magazine, and threw together a batch of their Banana-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies. I'll take them to work, I reasoned, knowing that Matt doesn't like his food messed with.

1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 medium)
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
5.6 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/4 cups)
2 cups old-fashioned oats
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Cooking spray
*I added a large handful of coconut flakes to the batter, too. Yum!

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until smooth. Add egg; beat well.
3. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, oats, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add flour mixture to banana mixture in bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips.
4. Drop batter by heaping tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 18 minutes or until golden. Cool on pans 2 minutes. Remove cookies from pans; cool completely on wire racks.
Lo and behold, they smelled so good while baking that Matt grabbed one as soon as they were out of the oven. He raved about how delicious they were! Long story short, I've only got about a dozen left, and I'm pretty sure they're all spoken for.
With three bananas left, I had no option but to bake some bread. So I visited Sugar Mama Baking Co. for a recipe, and she didn't let me down! Click here for her banana bread recipe, and be sure to have it handy the next time you have leftover bananas.
It took me less than 10 minutes to get from assembling the ingredients to putting the pan into the oven. I was finished before I even realized what was happening--not bad for someone who'd already spent a couple hours baking cookies. At Sugar Mama's suggestion, I pulled the loaf out about 10 minute before it was finished and covered it was dabs of butter for an extra-crispy crust.
The added bonus of that move was that the crack in the top of the loaf was saturated with butter, giving the bread an extra-moist stripe down the middle. The bad part was that I used salted butter, which added an unexpected flavor that still couldn't diminish the delicious taste of the bread!
Matt accepted the slice I gave him--much more interested in the cookies--tasted it, and immediately cut himself four more. And ate half of mine that I left on my plate, conquered by crock-pot chili at dinnertime. About every second bite, he raved over how good the bread was.
I have one lonely banana left. Let's see what happens tonight.
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