Breads


When life gives you rotten bananas–make banana bread!

Rotton Bananas

Okay, that doesn’t flow quite like the lemons to lemonade quote.

The only time life has given me rotten bananas was the time the grocery store bought too many. They were selling bags of black bananas dirt cheap!

We buy bananas on a fairly regular basis around here. Folks like them in cereal or smothered in peanut butter.

When they start to go to the “dark side” I usually chop them up and freeze them for smoothies. Sometimes I squish them up and freeze them in a baggie.

Usually, they get black and leaky and I end up throwing them away! Wasteful!

This time I actually had time to make banana bread. Not just ordinary banana bread–

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Bread

I made it to eat for breakfast. The kids ate it as a dessert and a snack. The loved it!

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup mashed, ripe bananas (about 2 bananas)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter ( I used crunchy Jif.)
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, divided (I used semi-sweet.)
  • 1/3 cup chopped peanuts

Preheat oven to 350˚F.

Spray the bottom of a loaf pan with cooking spray.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. I find that using a whisk to combine dry ingredients works well.

Add bananas, milk, peanut butter, oil and egg. Stir until moistened.

Stir in 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into prepared pan.

Sprinkle chopped nuts and the rest of the chocolate chips on top of the batter. I press the topping into the batter a little.

Bake about 60 minutes. After checking with a toothpick, mine took a bit longer.

Cool in the pan 10 minutes. Loosen sides from pan-remove to a cooling rack. Cool completely.

YUM!

Critics’ Corner

Chip: Simply fantastic. I’ve always been an advocate for putting peanut butter on bananas. This bread does it for you — plus it has chocolate, too.

Megan: If this stuff was illegal, I would be incarcerated. Seriously-it’s that good!

Katie: This bread is INSANELY EPIC! If people were immune to sickness, I would strongly consider eating it All.Day.Long. (and then some!)

The second course at our lovely tea party was scones. If you follow this blog regularly, you might remember me testing out the scones recipe. (click here)

They turned out great!

scones with clotted cream and jam

scones plate 1

I used Martha Stewart’s recipe for Blueberry-Buttermilk Scones. I just left out the blueberries. This was the only recipe I tested. It was so yummy, I figured, why bother with another one? It was simple enough, too.

First, mix all your dry ingredients together.

Then you are going to cut in your butter. (Cold ingredients will be best.) The butter needs to be cut into small pieces. That is how you get even distribution of butter.

butter, small pieces

cutting butter

I have read that if you don’t have a pastry cutter you can use two knives to cut in the butter. Personally, I have never liked that method. You can pick up a cutter fairly inexpensively.

Next, whisk together your wet ingredients and drizzle over the dry-stirring as you go.

add wet ingredients

After you dough comes together, turn it out on a floured surface. Gently knead a couple of times to incorporate all the flour. Pat it into a 1 inch disk.

pastry disk

Cut into 8-12 wedges, depending on the size you would like. I went with 12 on my trial run. After tasting how yummy they were I decided to make them a little larger for the tea party.

cut in eighths

Transfer the wedges to your parchment-lined baking sheet. (The batch pictured was waiting its turn on the pan.That’s why it is on a cutting board.)

bake on parchment paper

Here you will brush each scone with a beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.

brush with egg wash

sprinkle with sugarI can’t believe I was able to sprinkle sugar while I took the picture!

spilled sugarOkay, maybe not!

Bake ’em up at 375˚ for about 22 minutes. My parchment paper looks kinda nasty because I reused it. I was making 13 batches of scones! Parchment paper costs money! I used each piece two or three times. I scraped the crusty parts off before reusing it each time. Cool the scones on wire racks.

on parchment paper

scones cooling on wire rack

When they are completely cool, you can freeze them. Of course they are best straight from the oven!

I made lots of scones!

lots of scones

pile of scones

scones pile

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup cake flour, (not self-rising)
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup (1/2 pint) blueberries
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 large egg, plus 1 large egg lightly beaten for egg wash
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • Fine sanding sugar, for sprinkling

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk together flours, granulated sugar, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter, or rub in with your fingers, until mixture has the texture of coarse meal. Stir in blueberries.
  3. Whisk together buttermilk, 1 egg, and the vanilla. Drizzle over flour mixture, and stir lightly with a fork until dough comes together but a small amount of flour remains in bowl.
  4. Turn out dough onto a work surface, and gently knead dough once or twice just to incorporate flour. Pat dough into a 1-inch-thick round. Cut into 12 wedges. Transfer to prepared baking sheet. Brush with egg wash, and sprinkle with sanding sugar. Bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 22 minutes. Transfer scones to wire racks to cool.

Cook’s Note

Scones are best served immediately but can be frozen for up to 1 month. Thaw, and reheat in a 350-degree oven for 10 minutes.

The scones were served with “Mock Clotted Cream”. I found the recipe here.

Mock Clotted Cream Recipe


Ingredients:

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup light sour cream
2 tablespoons powdered (confectioners’) sugar, sifted


Preparation:

Using a whisk attachment on your mixer, whip cream until stiff peaks form.

Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the sour cream and powdered sugar just until combined.

Refrigerate, covered, until ready to serve.

Make approximately 2 cups or enough to serve 6 to 8.

Don’t know about clotted cream? What’s Cooking America also had this little tidbit of information:

Question:

Could you tell me what the difference is between clotted cream and creme fraiche?  It doesn’t sound like there is much difference, other than country of origin. Thanks – Jim Buffy (12/29/03)

Answers:

clotted cream – Traditionally served with tea and scones in England; it is a 55% minimum milk fat product made by heating unpasteurized milk to about 82 degrees C., holding them at this temperature for about an hour and then skimming off the yellow wrinkled cream crust that forms (until the cream separates and floats to the surface). It is also known as Devonshire cream. It will last up to four days if refrigerated in a tightly sealed container.

Devonshire cream (DEHV-uhn-sheer) – Originally from Devonshire County, England, it is a thick, buttery cream often used as a topping for desserts. It is still a specialty of Devon, Cornwall, and Somerset, as this is where the right breed of cattle is raised with a high enough cream content to produce clotted cream. It is also known as Devon cream and clotted cream. Clotted cream has a consistency similar to soft butter. Before the days of pasteurization, the milk from the cows was left to stand for several hours so that the cream would rise to the top. Then this cream was skimmed and put into big pans. The pans were then floated in trays of constantly boiling water in a process known as scalding. The cream would then become much thicker and develop a golden crust, which is similar to butter. Today however, the cream is extracted by a separator, which extracts the cream as it is pumped from the dairy to the holding tank. The separator is a type of centrifuge, which extracts the surplus cream at the correct quantity so that the milk will still have enough cream to be classified as milk.

creme fraiche (krem FRESH) – It is a matured, thickened cream that has a slightly tangy, nutty flavor and velvety rich texture. The thickness can range from that of commercial sour cream to almost as solid as room temperature margarine. In France, the cream is unpasteurized and therefore contains the bacteria necessary to thicken it naturally. In America, where all commercial cream is pasteurized, the fermenting agents necessary can be obtained by adding buttermilk or sour cream. To make creme fraiche, combine 1 cup whipping cream and 2 tablespoons buttermilk in a glass container. Cover and let stand at room temperature from 8 to 24 hours, or until very thick. Stir well before covering and refrigerate up to 10 days. It is an ideal addition for sauces or soups because it can be boiled without curdling. It is also delicious spooned over fresh fruit or other desserts such as warm cobblers or puddings.

Now you see why I went with the Mock Clotted Cream! It is not real sweet, so it is perfect with a dollop of jam!

Since I had made the scones in advance and stuck them in the freezer, they needed to be warmed a little before serving. (After thawing, of course.) I was a little nervous about how they would turn out reheated.

Scones

Not a problem! They were excellent! You do, however, lose some of the texture of the sugar sprinkled on top. I think I’m the only one who knew the difference. Well, NOW they know.

scones plate 2

We had strawberry jam with our scones. Mmmmmm!

When the Tea Party was over, we had some of the clotted cream left. My family enjoyed it with French Toast and fresh strawberries.

French toast with strawberries and cream

French Toast with strawberries and cream 1

The scones were easy and tasty. There are so many flavors out there to try–Orange Cranberry, Nutella, Pumpkin, Maple. Oh, yeah! I’ll be trying some of those!

Have you made scones? Do you buy scones? Do you have a favorite flavor?

Is all of this new to you? Are you going to give it a try?

Upon our arrival in Virginia, Nana and Bud were met with squeals of delight, so were we!

We all crashed out pretty hard that night.

The next morning we had such a yummy breakfast! A Nana and Bud Breakfast! Hashbrowns-Fried Apples-Bacon-Sausage-Eggs-Biscuits & Gravy! Bud made some of his homemade biscuits. Later in the week he showed us how he made them.

I know your mouth is watering!

We even got to eat off of Nana’s fancy Villeroy & Boch dishes.

Now THAT is a cup of coffee!

After breakfast, we headed out on our first adventure in Virgina!

Before I tell you about that…here is our biscuit lesson. Bud, correct me if I left something out. I was going by Megan’s notes!

Bud told us that he has tested several different types of flour in order to perfect his biscuits.

He likes Virginia’s Best Self-Rising Flour.

He says it works the best. Nana says she liked it for the cute little tie around the top! Me too! We took a minute to create some cute staging for the photo. Unfortunately, I cut off the bottom of the bag. Thus the two pictures. I just couldn’t leave out the picture with the rooster.

Ingredients:

2 1/4 cups self-rising flour

1 stick of cold butter, cut in little chunks

1 1/4 cup whole cultured buttermilk

Using a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour until it looks like popcorn. Then put it in the fridge with a towel on top for about 10 minutes.

Your buttermilk should be very cold when you go to use it!

Mix in your buttermilk until the dough forms a ball.

Throw a little flour on the counter. Dump the dough on the flour.

Squish the dough into a square that is kinda flat.

Fold the dough in to thirds. Then work it back into a square.

Repeat the folding process.

Cut your biscuits. When cutting, cut straight up and down. Do not twist. The twisting seals all those fabulous folds you created and does not allow the biscuit to rise properly.

Roll up the scraps, pat it out and cut more biscuits.

Bake the biscuits for 15 minutes at 450˚.

See that funny one on the left? That was from the leftover dough that wasn’t big enough to make another biscuit. The girls called it a gravy dipper.

Brush the tops with melted butter.

They are super yummy, especially straight from the oven. Bud says they freeze well too.

Critics’ Corner

Chip: They were “melt-in-your-mouth” good!

Megan: These biscuits are awesome! I can’t think of a single thing that would make them taste better.

Katie: It’s flaky, it’s buttery, it’s “Bud’s Biscuits”! What more could you want?

Ice Cream Bread that is!

I’ve been wanting to try this one out for a while. I tore the page out of a Southern Living then I couldn’t find it. After searching through my piles of recipes, it occurred to me that it might be in a cookbook. Sure enough! I found it on page 252  in the 2005 edition of the Southern Living Annual Recipes.

A recipe sure sounds easy when it only has TWO ingredients! I’ve tried some of those 2 ingredient recipes you might have seen floating around Pinterest. My family gave those attempts bad reviews, so I was skeptical.

I thought this one delivered! The Critics, however, had mixed reviews.

Ice Cream Bread

1 pint (2 cups) ice cream, softened

1 1/2 cups self-rising flour

  • Stir together ice cream and flour, stirring just until flour is moistened.
  • Spoon batter into a greased and floured loaf pan.
  • Bake at 350˚ for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  • Remove from pan and cool on a wire rack.

I think my self-rising flour was a little too old. It didn’t rise quite like I thought it should.

Nothing’ wrong with the way it sliced…

…or tasted!

A little butter on that warm bread sure was yummy! A moist, dense bread with just a touch of sweetness.

I think I would like to try something like Butter Pecan or Strawberry. I also would like to try a premium brand of ice cream. I had just plain old generic Walmart vanilla ice cream in a blue box. May have to splurge next time.

Critics’ Corner

Chip: Pretty good! I’d like to try it à la mode.

Megan: ¡Es muy bueno!

Katie: Um…it was just okay. I didn’t care for it much.