Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Grandma's Banana Bread

Grandma's Banana Bread

I haven't posted in a while, but I have a good excuse. Behold my kitchen.

We've moved to a rental house while my miserable old kitchen is being...well, vaporized. That's brought me into the modern age with a cooktop and oven in our rental house that actually work, and it's throwing me for a loop. I haven't boiled water like this for years!

One casualty of our move is my beloved cookbooks, including a (paper!) scrapbook I keep of recipes I find, print, and make notes on. They're still buried in a box somewhere, as was my printer's power cord until recently. So how can I find or follow a recipe? And here I am with some uber-ripe bananas were just crying to be made into banana bread!

The answer sprang out as I struggled to fit baking ingredients onto a shelf...there it was on a bottle of molasses: "Grandma's Banana Bread." Really, just like that, right there. The karma was too strong to resist.

This was a good test of my temporary kitchen setup. Mixing bowls, measures, ingredients, muffin pan...it didn't exactly flow, but things did come together enough for me to actually mix and bake this simple recipe. There's more batter than fits in my Williams-Sonoma 24-well mini-muffin pan (in the medium-sized box under a pile of bath linens), so the overflow went to my Wilton 12-well mini-muffin tin (in the big box of trays and cutting boards in the garage), made from a material that's not as heavy.

And my temporary oven, a perfectly competent Kenmore, actually fits both muffin pans side-by-side!

This is significant, because the muffins baked in the smaller lighter pan had a crust to them, making this sticky recipe a little easier to handle. The muffins in the heavier tin were moister and tastier though. The recipe didn't have baking times for muffins, but with a new oven I had to wing it anyway.

Overall, this recipe is cakier than bready, and the molasses gives it an odd bite that I think is too much. My eats-everything 4-year-old said much the same thing, in kid terms: "Mmm, a little funny-tasting, Mommy." I like banana bread with bigger crumbles, with some semblance of banana remaining in appearance and taste. The orange zest suggestion sounded great, but it too was obliterated by the molasses.

I'm a ways off from being back in business though...in addition to absent cookbooks and strangely arranged utensils, all my usual haunts for foofy ingredients aren't very convenient anymore! Well, if The Next Food Network Star can combine fish and froot loops, then I guess I can shop at Safeway.