I don’t like banana things. I like bananas…I take that back, I love actual, real life, peel and eat, yellow … and let’s be clear on the yellow…darkish yellow, not the new yellow that leads one to believe it was green just moments ago… they must be, ya know, perfectly ripe bananas. I just detest banana things. What does banana things include? I am so very glad you asked…you didn’t? Oh! Well…too bad.
Banana chips or dried bananas – ya know, those thin slices of hardened fruit (errr dried) that are found primarily in trail mixes that inevitably result in the almonds, walnuts, cranberries, raisins, M&M’s (or chocolate buttons if you aren’t careful), and heaven knows what else they have thought to cram into trail mixes these days, taste like bananas. Gross. Gawdawful.
Banana flavored Runts (or any banana ‘flavored’ candy). Who eats this stuff? It doesn’t even remotely taste like a banana. Have the creators of the infamous banana ‘flavor’ actually consumed a banana in their life? I think not. Banana flavored Laffy Taffy – NO! 1) It doesn’t taste like bananas and 2) Laffy Taffy never fails to numb my lips, resulting in me drooling on myself. Fact.
Banana Splits. Bananas DO NOT belong in my ice cream. Brownies, cookies, nuts, cherries, strawberries…yes, go right ahead – join the ice cream party…but bananas, please stay at home, you are not welcome. And speaking of ice cream, banana flavored popsicles…who enjoys these so-called treats? Probably you…and I have now offended you, but I can’t be sorry because it is disgusting.
And have you seen on Pinterest these two ingredient banana cookies and banana frozen ‘yogurt’ or would it be ice cream? First, these are labeled as ‘healthy’…well, yes, bananas are healthy, or healthier than say a bag of potato chips or Oreos, however – they are chock full of sugar and eating a tray of banana cookies – which is inevitably what will happen when something is labeled healthy and is also a cookie…you will undoubtedly eat a dozen of them and still crave the damn chocolate chip cookie that you were trying to avoid in the first place, which would have been a wiser choice (because you would have only eaten 1, ha!) plus, it wouldn’t have tasted like a banana. Which leads me to the second point…why would you want a banana flavored cookie…just eat a banana or a cookie. No need to mash the two together. ACK!
Banana bread/muffins/cakes/pancakes/waffles….No where near my cup of tea (or coffee – we are talking about me here…). Banana nut muffins are my morning nemesis. Mark this down…it is THE ONE sweet good that I will turn down given the chance ( not counting the banana cookies mentioned above)…. How come when heat is applied to a banana, all of its heavenly goodness is removed? Banana foster – no, just give me the pound cake and butter/sugar/caramel goodness and perhaps swap the bananas for peaches or apples. Or plums. Why bananas? Peach foster, please.
There are slight exceptions to the rule…a plain old banana can be fancied up with a dollop of peanut butter or sliced and covered in chocolate hard shell sauce and frozen. And I think the chocolate bit needs emphasized…the bananas must be sliced and never placed whole on a stick, frozen, and dipped in chocolate, and then eaten in public. No one, and I mean NO ONE can pull off eating a chocolate covered banana on a stick in public. NO ONE! Maybe my head is in the gutter…it normally is…but come on!
Get the point? I greatly dislike bananas unless it is just a banana…so why do I continue to bake banana bread? Because I am bonkers and think that if I stuff more things into banana bread that I will actually enjoy it (next up, peanut butter banana bread?!?)…and honestly, this chocolate banana bread came pretty damn close and so did this chocolate banana zucchini bread…I think the common link here is the chocolate.
This go around, I stuffed cherries, chocolate (that was sea salted), and walnuts along side the bananas…Think Cherry Garcia Ice Cream, but with the addition of banana and well, bread. I don’t know. But I do know my older brother would have eaten the whole loaf given the chance, since cherry cordial ice cream is his favorite and he actually likes bananas in his ice cream or he likes bananas in his bread. What?!? All I know, he eats what I bake and well he didn’t get any….but he would have liked it. Those that were lucky enough to have this stuffed into their bags as they were leaving my house ( you don’t leave without a doggy bag made from my freezer) texted me as they arrived home, that the this bread was delicious and the chocolate made it nice and rich.
I’ll have to take their word for it.
- 1+1/2 Cup All-Purpose Flour
- ½ Cup Quick Cooking Oats
- ¾ Teaspoon Baking Soda
- ¾ Teaspoon Baking Powder
- ¾ Teaspoon Salt
- ¾ Cup Light Brown Sugar, tightly packed
- 2 Eggs
- ⅓ Cup 2% Greek Yogurt
- ½ Cup Unsalted Butter, Melted and cooled
- 1 Cup Mashed Bananas (about 3 overly ripe bananas)
- ½ Teaspoon Almond Extract
- 1 Cup Pitted Cherries
- ½ Cup Toasted Walnuts (or pecans), roughly chopped
- 4 ounce dark chocolate bar, roughly chopped (or about ½ cup chocolate chips)
- Preheat oven to 350F and place rack in the middle of the oven. Grease and flour a 9×5 loaf pan and set aside. (i also use parchment paper and let a little bit hang over the edges for easy removal)
- In a small bowl, toss together cherries and almond extract. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and brown sugar. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl using a wooden spoon, mix together melted butter and bananas. Blend in eggs and yogurt. Mix until everything is well combined.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
- Fold in cherries (with any juice in bowl), toasted walnuts, and chocolate to batter.
- Pour batter (it’ll be thick, so I use the term ‘pour’, lightly) into prepared loaf pan and place in preheated oven and bake until toothpick, when inserted near the middle comes out nearly clean with a few crumbs attached – about 50-60 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let cool on rack for about 20 minutes before inverting on wire rack and letting cool completely.
I love Ina Garten.
This post might as well be called ‘ an ode to Ina”.
I adore everything about her….even her button down shirts – that are tailored made just for her (why do I know this?) – with the popped collar – which makes me think of spring break and the cruise we took and the dancing we did, which brings be around to Grillz by Nelly…ad a whole top diamonds and da bottom row’s gold. Can we go back to those days? Days where spring break existed and you lived with your friends and weekends started on Thursdays? Did we know how good we had it? I don’t think we did…we were always wanting to get to the next stage. Little did we know the next stage was full of work and serious responsibility – mortgages are no one’s friend.
Yes, I some how just connected Ina to Nelly. That takes mad skills, people.
Did you know… she was a White House nuclear policy analyst. I don’t know what that entails. It seems pretty major. Therefore, she is not a classically trained chef. She is like us, a home cook with a bit of passion, a love for great ingredients, and a desire to make those around us happy and full. That she took a leap of faith on a gourmet food store and it became crazy successful. That she has since, hosted the famed Food Network Show – Barefoot Contessa, that she has written some 6+ cookbooks, and has been the inspiration for millions when it comes to hosting dinner parties, whipping up simple family dinners, or setting a table fit for a king or your best friends. This all from a whim. And major guts. For reals.
I am also, slightly in love with the fact that she lives in New England (and has an apartment in Paris…but who doesn’t love that?). I am a sucker for New England…the ocean, the homes, the food, the scenery, the accents…you name it – I love it. I sometimes get mad at the entire state of Pennsylvania. Downright angry. For if it wasn’t for the 311 mile wide state of Pennsylvania, lobster rolls and I would be so much closer. Sigh.
I have made many of Ina’s recipes…and not once have I been disappointed. And today is no different. These are a simple dessert, whipped up in a moments notice, and sure to please a crowd. I took these into work as a random Tuesday treat and they were gone before lunch. Well before lunch. Second shift only got crumbs. Not a raspberry fan? Use strawberry jam. Or blueberry.
Dear Ina. Thanks.
- 2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, Room temperature
- ¾ Cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 2+ ⅓ Cup All-Purpose Flour
- ½ Teaspoon Salt
- 12 Ounces Jam, Raspberry – use high quality
- ⅔ Cup Granola, I used Bear Naked Granola (maple pecan) – make sure it is free of dried fruit
- ¼ Cup (a good handful) Sliced Almonds
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a 9 x 9 baking dish with parchment paper (easy removal).
- Combine butter and sugar in a mixing bowl and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together flour and salt. With mixer on low, slowly add flour and salt mixture to butter mixture. Mix until the dough starts to form into a ball. It will be crumbly at first, just keep mixing.
- Press ⅔ of the dough into the bottom of the baking pan and about ¼ inch up the sides of the pan.
- Spread the jam over the crust, leaving about a ¼ inch border.
- Mix the granola with the remaining dough. Sprinkle mixture evenly over the jam. Scatter slivered almonds over crumb topping.
- Bake in preheated oven for about 45 – 50 minutes until the top begins to turn golden brown.
- Cool completely before cutting and serving.
slightly adapted from Ina Garten.
I made bacon jam.
I am also watching golf…on TV.
Today is weird.
I don’t even know me right now.
I enjoy bacon. I am a fan of jam. I figured I would love bacon jam. I was right.
I can’t play golf. I have never played one hole let alone a front nine or back nine or a full eighteen, which honestly is a little overkill. I can count the number of times I have played putt putt on my left hand (or right for that matter). My only attempt at golf was as a kid, we hit golf balls in my grandparent’s orchard…I spent more time searching for my golf balls in the bean/corn fields that flanked the sides of the orchard. A result of hooks and slices. I never grasped the ability to hit is straight. And those miniature golf pencils used for keeping score …we used those to keep score of the never-ending gin rummy game. That has to count for something. No?Read More
Dude, this is going to be quick…
It is marathon weekend! Well, a half for me and a full for others…but anyway you look at it…there are miles to cover and fun to be had!
I have a playlist to make – which, by the time I am done making it, will be more fitting for a 70 year old who needs pumped up for a few laps around the mall and not the 20 something girl that will be wearing a sparkle skirt and mouse ears Saturday morning, knocking out 13.1 miles.
I have to pack. Like, find my flip flops and contact case. Bathing suit? In mid-January? Yikes. These legs are white. Like blinding pasty white…a white that only exists on the legs of Ohioans in mid-January. Sunglasses…if not for the sun, then for the glare coming from my kneecaps. And sunscreen…large vats of the goop – see pasty whiteness above.
I have Thursday night TV to watch….Big Bang and Grey’s is new this week. I am a TV nerd without a DVR….
Important stuff people…and I have to get you this scone recipe, because seriously…you need to make these this weekend!Read More
What a whirlwind of a few days. Am I right? Holidays always leave me feeling like I just ran 20 million 100m sprints and all I can do is stand with my hands on my knees gasping for breath…when I know that if I stand with my hands behind my head, that air will come easier, but the energy to stand up straight is just too much.
And let us not forget the coughing and sputtering. I am not a pretty sight after sprints. But who is?
But I/us/we do it every year, because if I found myself well rested and 100% relaxed this time of year, something would be wrong. Like, world has ended and I am the only one left to fight the zombies, wrong….which, Dear Mayans…what a huge let down, not even a slight flash in the sky or gentle rumble under foot. Not that I wanted anything to happen…but a little something non scary or life-threatening would have been OK.
Anywhooo…The holidays are supposed to be hectic and crazy and whirlwindish. Full to the brim with parties and shopping and friends and family and baking and gift giving and hall decking and traveling…. all things that kinda sorta leave ya breathless. And immensly happy. And full. From love and one too many cookies…both of which I am not complaining about. At all. Ever. Never.Read More