Breakfasts, Desserts, Snacks

twenty seven

Chocolate Chip Walnut Banana Bread

Hello! I have returned! The world is no longer coming to an end! And what better way to celebrate than to put chocolate in something that is traditionally healthy?! I used to hate bananas, and sometimes I still do. The taste is fine, just something about that texture always freaked me out. As a small child, there were few things I hated more than being given a slice of banana bread complete with giant mushy chunks of cooked banana. Ugh, just thinking about it makes me shudder. However, it’s one of my family’s favorites, so I came in contact with the smushy banana bits much more often than I’d like to recall. Then, one day, the problem was solved- I decided to WHIP the bananas with a beater after their original fork-mashing. Challenge completed. The chocolate chips add a really great extra pizazz as well!

Banana bread became a standard in American cooking in the 1930s with the advent and popularization of baking powder and baking soda, but it was not until 1950, when the original Chiquita Banana’s Recipe Book (published by the United Fruit Company before their official name change to Chiquita) emerged, that banana bread became more widely accepted and enjoyed. Oh, the joy of cookbooks that feature food with faces and human clothing!

chiquita-bananas-recipe-book-1950

Bread

– 1/2 cup butter, softened

– 3/4 cup granulated sugar

– 2 eggs, lightly beaten

– 3 very ripe bananas, mashed with a fork and then whipped with a beater until smooth(ish)

– 2 cups all-purpose flour

– 1 tsp. baking soda

– pinch of salt

– 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

– 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a large loaf pan with cooking spray. Cream butter and sugar until smooth. Add beaten eggs and combine. Add bananas and combine. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to wet ingredients and mix well. Fold in nuts and chocolate chips and pour into prepared pan. Bake 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean (except for melted chocolate). Let cool in pan for 10 minutes and then dump out onto a cooling rack. Serve warm or cold, however I very much recommend warm, as the melty chocolate is basically slammin. Enjoy!

 

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Desserts

twenty six

Apple Cake with Maple Frosting

News flash, another baked good post!

While the most historical information I could find about apple cake were a super brief description of traditional Devon, Somerset, and Dorset Apple Cakes (all coming from those parts of England) with no date given whatsoever and Jewish Apple Cake, based on Apple Kuchen (German for “cake” for any interested parties) with once again no date. Nevertheless, there were a large number of recipes from the 50s! All seven recipes I used to create this one all incidentally had titles somehow involving either “Mom’s”, “Mommy’s” or “Mama’s”……why? I’ll tell you!

 

I don’t know.

 

Cake

– 2 cups all purpose flour

– 1 tsp baking powder

– 1 tsp baking soda

– 1 tsp ground cinnamon

– 1 tsp ground cloves

– 1/2 tsp kosher salt

– 3/4 c unsalted butter, room temp.

–  1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

– 3 eggs

– 1/2 cup buttermilk (as I’ve said in many posts before, I use dry buttermilk in my recipes, so…yeah, check it out. It’s very handy)

– 5 cups peeled and diced apples (I find that apples on the more tart side, like Granny Smith, tend to be the best when baked)

– 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×13 glass baking dish. Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, cloves (and if using, dry buttermilk) in a bowl. In an electric mixer cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy (2-3 minutes). Add eggs one at a time and mix until combined. Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the buttermilk (or again, if using dry, then the water/recommended liquid) being careful not to overmix. With the last batch of flour add the apples and walnuts as well. Pour batter into pan and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean!

 

Frosting

– 3/4 cup REAL maple syrup (none of this Aunt Jemima or Mrs. Butterworth’s stuff. If you use it I’m coming for you)

– 1 1/2+ cups confectioner’s sugar

– 1/4 cup unsalted butter

– 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

In a medium saucepan on low heat melt the butter, then turn heat to medium and add syrup.  Cook until reduced, about 5 minutes. If the mixture begins to boil, reduce heat until they subside, then turn heat back up.  Take off the heat and pour mixture into a bowl.  Using an electric mixer add the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla and whip until desired consistency is achieved. Allow frosting to cool (HAH!) and then frost the cake and devour!

 

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Desserts

seventeen

Blueberry Crumb Pie
This recipe is a combination of a simple berry pie from Mom ‘N’ Pops Apple Pie Cookbook, a 1950s gospel, and the bluberry cumble pie from my current Bible, the Willams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking. That was a religious sounding sentence. Was it because I drove past a church on my way to work this morning? Was it because “Foodity/Foodism/Foodlam” is my chosen religion? I don’t know. I believe this is what folks tend to call a large-scale digression. I think I’ll quit while I’m ahead.  While blueberry pie was obviously not invented in the 50s or 60s, the Mom ‘N’ Pop cookbook is, and that’s good enough for me today!

(Officially I made this a couple days ago for my mother’s birthday, but shhhhh)

Pie

– 1 partially prebaked 9 or 10″ pie crust, see post eleven for a recipe

– 3/4 cup plus 5 tbsp all-purpose flour

– 2/3 cup light brown sugar

– 1/3 cup granulated sugar

– 2 tsp cinnamon

– sprinkle of salt

– 1/2 cup unsalted butter cut into small pieces

– 2 pints bluberries

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Stir together 3/4 cup flour, 1/3 cup of the brown sugar, 1/3 cup granulated sugar, 1 tsp of cinnamon and the salt. Add butter pieces and using a pastry cutter or your fingers blend until the mixture forms coarse crumbs. In another bowl combine blueberries, remaining brown sugar, cinnamon, and 4 tbsp of the flour. Gently stir to coat berries. Sprinkle last tbsp of flour on the bottom of the crust, then add blueberry mixture. Pour brown sugar mixture over the top, then bake for 50 minutes. Serve immediately with inordinately large scoops of vanilla ice cream!

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Desserts

nine

Strawberry Shortcake

Okay, before all the haters read that title and say “but wait, I know for a fact that strawberry shortcake wasn’t invented in the 50s or 60s!! This blogger is obviously a phony and I will never take her seriously ever again!” just hear me out- I was perusing ebay and found the cutest 1950s birthday card featuring, yep, you guessed it, a strawberry shortcake! And I was inspired to make one of my own. So, hah!

Bit of history on strawberry shortcake for any interested parties: “Short”cake gets its name from the adding of shortening or butter to the recipe, the word coming from 15th-Century English meaning “easily crumbled”. By the 1850s, strawberry shortcake parties were a sign of the approaching summer. An article in Harper’s Bazaar magazine published this quote, which became quite popular, “[The shortcake parties] give you good eating, strawberries and short-cake- Ohh My!” So, in honor of this year’s arriving summer, please enjoy my recipe, adapted from the Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Baking book!

Shortcake

– 1 3/4 cup flour

– 1/4 cup granulated sugar

– 1 tbsp baking powder

– 1/2 tsp salt

– 1/2 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

– 1 egg

– 1/3 cup heavy cream (plus extra)

– 1 1/2 tbsp raw sugar

– 4 cups fresh strawberries

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. In a food processor combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Plus a few times, then add the butter and pulse until the mixture turn into coarse crumbs. In a bowl whisk egg and cream, then add to original mixture and pulse until moist. Remove blade from processor and add 3 additional tablespoons of cream, stirring after each until the dough is quite soft. Spoon out the dough on a baking pan covered with parchment paper into 3 inch-wide mounds spaced about 1 inch apart. Brush the tops with cream and sprinkle with raw sugar. Bake until golden, 12-15 minutes. Prepare whipped cream (recipe below) and slice strawberries.

Whipped Cream

– 2 cups heavy cream

– 2 tsp vanilla extract

– 3 tbsp granulated sugar (add more or less to your taste)

In a large bowl using an electric mixer or (if you’re in the mood to pump up your biceps) a big whisk, whip the cream until medium peaks form. Be careful not to over whip! Stir in vanilla and sugar.

Cut the shortcakes in half, spoon on generous amounts of whipped cream and strawberries, then replace top half and eat!

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