Sunday, March 13, 2011

Whole Wheat Banana Bread


As I sit here working at my desk, I can smell the banana bread baking in the oven. Yum! My poor older sister has an allergy or aversion to bananas, so let's all just take a moment to feel sorry for her, because bananas are good! Anyway, this recipe is from Karen at Her website is a treasure trove of information on wheat, food storage, bread techniques, and recipes. I have tried many a banana bread and this one is by far the best I have ever had. The streusel topping takes it over the top. I admit that this time I am making it with just regular old flour from a bag at the grocery store, but we just won't tell Karen. I have made it before with fresh ground whole wheat and it is fabulous. I hope the regular old flour has a good turnout as well. So, just to share in the love, here is the recipe...from Karen

Banana Nut Bread with Streusel Topping
Bake at 350
50-55 minutes
Makes 1 large loaf—enough to share if you are forced into it.

Pre-heat oven to 350
Lightly butter a 4X9 loaf pan and set aside

Spread out 1 1/3 Cup Walnuts ( side note from Heather, I use pecans) on a cookie sheet. Roast in 350 oven for five minutes. Stir and roast an additional 3-5 minutes. The walnuts will quickly begin to smell very sweet and nutty. Oooo so delicious. Allow to cool.

Meanwhile Combine
2 Cup mashed well ripened banana
1Cup Dark Brown Sugar

The juice from the bananas will melt the brown sugar making a very soupy mixture, don't be alarmed. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl combine dry ingredients:
2 Cup freshly ground whole wheat flour
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 tsp soda
1/2 tsp salt

Set aside.

Coarsely chop your walnuts. Measure out 1 cup and add to the banana mixture. Finely chop the remaining nuts. These will be used for the struesel.

Struesel Topping
1/4 Cup freshly ground whole wheat flour
2 Tbsp Dark Brown Sugar
1/3 Cup Roasted Walnuts Finely Chopped
2 Tbsp Butter

Combine flour and sugar, mix well working out any lumps of sugar. Add nuts and mix. Using a pastry cutter, or your fingers (my technique), cut in the butter until the mixture is thoroughly combined and has a variety of crumble sizes. Set aside.

To the banana mixture add:
3/4 Cup Coarsely Chopped Walnuts
2 tsp Vanilla
2 Large Well-beaten Eggs
1/4 Cup Melted Butter

Stir until well combined.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients all at once and stir gently just till thoroughly combined. Working quickly, dump the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Spread all of the streusel topping evenly over the top of the loaf and very gently press the topping slightly into the batter.

Bake at 350 for 20 minutes. Cover loaf with a foil tent. Continue baking an additional 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted at the center comes out clean.

Allow the loaf to cool completely. Wrap tightly in plastic wrap or foil and refrigerate overnight. You're gonna love it.


End note from Heather...that last paragraph about letting it cool completely and wrap and wait.....never happens at my house, I love it warm and freshly baked!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Texas Sheet Cake

Yesterday, I made Texas Sheet Cake...some people outside of Texas call it Chocolate Sheet Cake, but don't be fooled, it is Texas Sheet Cake! It is rich and chocolatey and feeds a bunch since it is a shorter cake and you make it in a jelly roll pan. It is Heavenly, and I have tested a few recipes and found that Ree Drummond of The Pioneer Woman, has the best recipe.
  • Ingredients for ....THE CAKE:
  • 2 cups Flour
  • 2 cups Sugar
  • ¼ teaspoons Salt
  • 4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
  • 2 sticks Butter
  • 1 cup Boiling Water
  • ½ cups Buttermilk
  • 2 whole Beaten Eggs
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • _____
  • ½ cups Finely Chopped Pecans
  • 1-¾ stick Butter
  • 4 Tablespoons (heaping) Cocoa
  • 6 Tablespoons Milk
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 pound (minus 1/2 Cup) Powdered Sugar

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, and salt.

In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa. Stir together.
Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off heat. Pour over flour mixture, and stir lightly to cool.

In a measuring cup, pour the buttermilk and add beaten eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Stir buttermilk mixture into butter/chocolate mixture. Pour into sheet cake pan and bake at 350-degrees for 20 minutes.

While cake is baking, make the icing. Chop pecans finely. Melt butter in a saucepan. Add cocoa, stir to combine, then turn off heat. Add the milk, vanilla, and powdered sugar. Stir together. Add the pecans, stir together, and pour over warm cake.

It is amazingly rich, chocolately, and won-der-ful...especially when you make it while you are in Australia and it tastes like home. Mmmmmmmmm

Beautiful Basics

Life is about a journey, and you are the only one who can make yours... So, embrace life: the good, the bad, and the is the only one you've got.

Here's to being Beautiful, inside and out!