Friday, October 25, 2013

Dad's Favorite Banana Bread

I love, love, love this picture up there.

It's my dad's birthday in just 3 days! Since the beginning of last month, he's requested a banana bread. I figured why not! It's his favorite baked good of mine and to be honest, I haven't made it in a mighty long time! *Note: The banana bread translates so much darker on film. It is nowhere near that dark in person.

Don't you just love the pretty pastel flags hanging in the background?

This banana bread recipe is one that is super easy to make and is one that I've used for many years. However, I never ever have the patience for anything. Therefore, I always buy my bananas a very long time (around 2 weeks) before I have to use them.

Once they turn very ripe with lots of black spots all over them, I put them in a gallon sized Ziploc bag and freeze them until I have to use them. I was a bit skeptical about this method at first, but after a while I realized it was much more convenient than using fresh bananas, and I found the texture of the bananas to be even mushier than fresh overripe bananas.

As with all banana related baking recipes, you usually have to mash the bananas. It is no different with this one. However, I found that with frozen bananas, they are much easier to mash. Fresh overripe bananas always still have a bit of texture to them no matter how ripe. On the other hand, frozen overripe bananas are so mushy they just fall out of their peel. It is so much easier to get a smooth, even banana mush mixture with frozen bananas.

A while later, I wanted some chocolate so this happened........
Favoritest brownies ever. 

The recipe is written at the bottom. Because this is a cookbook recipe, I have rewritten it as there is no link to it. 

Happy baking (and Happy Birthday, Dad)!
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Dad's Favorite Banana Bread
Prep time: 15 minutes
Bake time: 50-60 minutes
Yields: one 8.5" by 4.5" loaf

2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated (white) sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed over ripe bananas (I used about 4 medium sized)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Grease an 8.5" by 4.5" loaf pan. (If pan size is larger, reduce baking time by 10 minutes)
2. In a medium sized bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt.
3. In a large bowl, beat butter and both sugars on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well between each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally. Add the vanilla extract. Mix well.
4. Add in the flour mixture and mashed bananas alternately. Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then beat until just blended.
5. Pour batter into greased pan. Bake for about 1 hour if pan size is as indicated in recipe (see note if not). If the cake is browning too quickly, cover with foil. It is done if a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
6. Transfer the pan onto a wire rack to cool. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out of pan onto wire rack and let cool completely.

I baked mine in a 9.5" by 4.5" loaf pan, so I reduced the baking time by about 8 minutes. If your pan is larger, reduce baking time by 8-10 minutes. If your pan is smaller, increase baking time for about 5-10 minutes. Make sure to keep an eye on it.

A Little Bit of Life.

A while ago I did a little photo shoot with my favorite little boy ever. This kid....

Sure, not everything in here has to be about baking... (:

A baking post (and recipe!) will come very very soon. I promise.

For now, enjoy these black and white candid photos!

Happy baking!
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Monday, October 7, 2013

Reese's Pieces Peanut Butter Cup Cookies

First of all, I DO know that Reese's pieces and peanut butter cups are completely different things...I apologize for the rather misleading title.....

There will not be much text today as I need to pack for camp and these cookies were made in a rush! My good camera also isn't working today, so please pardon the oddly long and bad quality photos!

I finally got my hands on some Reese's pieces (!!!!) They don't sell them in Hong Kong, but I did manage to get 10 bags of them on a recent trip to Thailand (and 6 packs of peanut butter cups)! I decided to make some cookies with them, but my favorite 2 cookie recipe websites both had recipes that required at least 2 hours of chilling, which is time that I simply don't have.

Therefore, I turned to Google, and found this awesome cookie base recipe, which works for any type of add-ins!

After zero chilling, I got supper puffy, soft, and chewy cookies! I must say, these are on the top of my list--definitely one of the best cookies I've ever made! I had one right when it came out of the oven, and oh my goodness, was it good!

This is the epitome of a good, perfect softbatch butter cookie with tons of Reese's pieces and chopped up peanut butter cups! Definitely a peanut butter/chocolate lover's dream!

I will leave you with the recipe, which you can find here (yes I AM in a have been warned!)

And yes, I do realize that this is my fourth consecutive cookie post, but hey, there's never such a thing as too many cookies.......

Happy baking!
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