Monday, January 5, 2009

Magic and mystery in the kitchen, or: Honey, I baked!

Some people are cooks, and some people are bakers. If I didn't realise before, my disastrous and tantrum-inducing attempts to cook cupcakes for Christmas have only confirmed for always and ever that I am a cook and that the mysteries of whisking, sifting, beating and icing will never be revealed to me. Pass me the chili and garlic please.

When I discovered five very very ripe bananas in the fruit bowl, it took me a couple of days to get my back straight, my shoulders back and my upper lip stiff enough to face making the inevitable banana bread.

I took the Lower Fat Banana Bread from Veganomicon and made a few subs - I couldn't find applesauce in the supermarket so I used pie apple; I ran out of plain flour and used a 1/4 of a cup of self raising instead; I used three large ripe 'nanis because I just had so bloody many; and I got liberal with the sugar (and cinnamon sugar instead of ground cinnamon). I found it quick and surprisingly easy to make - all done in a bout 20 minutes, and the only ingredients I needed to buy were the nutmeg and apples. Result? Honey, I baked!

Below: after about 20 minutes in the oven at 180. It needed about 45 minutes all up.

My only change for next time would be to either double the ingredients if I were to use the same loaf pan, or to find a smaller one. This pan was too large and made for a flat shaped bread, and I have a feeling that banana bread, like hair, runs on the principle of the higher the better and the closer to God.

The banana bread came out moist, soft, light and well-formed. The nutmeg was mild but a great spicy foil to the fructose and sucrose. It was a bit more muffin-like than other banana breads I've had but I think I actually prefer it this way as it didn't sit heavily and gluggily in the stomach. Considering that the recipe calls for no soy milk, I can only lay this at the feet of the canola oil and mushy nanis.

So, am I a baker? No. I like to cook, I am intrinsically better at cooking, and I will always have nightmares about icing cupcakes. But baking is fun, and I am intrigued by the chemistry and magic of mixing and rising, of whisking and solidifying. This recipe restored some of my faith in my ability to create sweet things out of the pantry and the oven, and I think it will make repeat appearances whenever the fruit bowl shows up some mushy nanis.


lisa said...

I wanted to make this as soon as I saw the recipe! But I had no bananas. Your pics look YUM.

Amira said...

Oh yum, that pic of the banana bread cut makes me drool! Looks extremely moist and delicious. I love Veganomicon, every recipe I make from it is simply divine (special props to the chickpea cutlets!)I don't know if I'm a baker or a cook, maybe a little of both. That's great that you enjoyed baking though and that it turned out so good.

Mandee said...

Yum, great lookin' narna bread!

a vegan about town said...

I always forget how long it takes to bake banana bread! All of that extra banana, ah! But yours looks great.

Léna, said...

clueless reference in this post?

Luke said...

I can confirm that this was some damn fine nana bread. I don't feel quite so bad about leaving my banana (play-lunch) at Miss T's place this morning, assuming that it will most likely result in another tasty treat. Mmmm!

Anonymous said...

It's OK, as some other family members can bake - and are also very happy to eat cupcakes, especially colourful ones